Devotion

Insight from John 6:16-21:

Aren’t we afraid often? God said “Do not be afraid” many times; we, as imperfect people, tend to worry and fear about what we can’t see-which is just about everything; that’s when satan has us trapped! Why can’t stop our minds, rest, and find peace amidst the storm in Jesus’s arms? There are so many promises that God is with us and of His faithfulness!

Lord, help me to focus on Your faithful promises so I can find peace and rest next to You. Amen.

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Afghan Squares

In response to the devastation our community suffered,  I have encouraged others to donate knit or crochet afghan squares to give to the families

Heart Square

This is the square I am working on and I feel it is so appropriate to show them Christ’s love. May we, as a community, rise up and be a beacon of hope, blessing, and love.

In Christ,  MY

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Double Knitting Adventures

I embarked on a new adventure last week, and that was double knitting. Some may say, ‘well, that’s been around for a long time!’ and that is true, but my introduction to this technique started like this:

My friend and I were in the yarn store, and she was telling me about this technique “double-knitting’; of course, I had heard about it, and even thought I would like to try it someday. She went on to show me an example and tried to explain how to do it. Hmmm….It sounded intriguing!-two different colors being worked at the same time that resulted in a reversible, contrasting picture on both sides on the fabric!

I put the idea in my memory bank and a few days later, I searched in my craft room for a pattern I remembered I had that I thought was in double-knitting. Sure enough, I found a very simple scarf with a heart!

So I practiced…..

IMG_0758 DK Heart

I was so inspired by this technique that I decided to sign up for an online class.

Here are some samples:

DK class Diamond

This project was a bit more challenging because of the many color changes, but with a bit of concentration and humor, both diamonds were done in a day.

These projects were done as samples, so I didn’t take much time to pick the perfect yarn, I just knit with whatever I had, and I also didn’t worry about mistakes because I was learning.

The fabric is two sided and it’s ‘hollow’ which gives a very soft, warm feel; when color changes take place, the fabric is locked in and it feels quilted.

IMG_0764

This is the current project from the class “Adventure in Double-Knitting” on Craftsy. It is a very complex leaf and vine pattern and it requires much concentration and humor! As I can now see the leaves forming, I am more motivated to continue the work. The yarn is a cotton blend and it is not too heavy or bulky and it is still stretchy. Originally, I cast on for a headband, but with a thicker yarn (worsted) and size 6 needle, it is definately big enough to be a cowl. I am not quite half way through at the time of the picture, but I hope to be done in a few days.

Which contrast do you like better….the purple background or the yellow? I like the purple better. Be inspired!

Cheerio!

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Barcelona

Before going on this business trip, I had done a lot of reading about Barcelona, Spain and its attractions. I tried to picture in my head a city with 6 million people in it, and I thought of Chicago (because I have not been to New York City). The maps I studied looked as though it was a walkable city though, so that is what I expected. Our first taxi driver from the airport was originally from Columbia, and he told me the city was too big to walk everywhere. Bummer! That 1st day, we did a bus tour and saw the part closest to the beach.

***Disclaimer: we saw a lot, so I picked only a few pictures from the 400 we took*****

This is the Port Olympic icon in modernista artistry, because the Olympics were held in Barcelona.

Port Olympic icon art

We also saw the Olympic Stadium and the building which housed the swimming pools, and the beautiful hotel where the olympians stayed.

We visited the beaches twice on 2 different occasions. The kids liked the glass rocks of many colors that the Mediterrean Sea washed ashore. The weather was a perfect 78 degrees to swim and frolic in swimming suits.

BoatsatBeachMitchellatBeachBeach

I actually did wade in the sea because I wanted to say, I was in the Meditterean Sea! It was a bit cool, but it was beautiful!

The seafood there was marvelous and fresh, and interestingly, they prepared food similarly to Japanese cuisine (that meant there were no surprises for our kids). It was a gourmands dream!

FreshSeafoodTapas BarSeafood TapasThe fresh seafood market is top left which was housed in the supermarket on the lowest floor of a department store. The other two pictures showed the wonderful tapas bar that we enjoyed near the Picasso Museum. We munched on whole small fish, fried squid, italian-style seasoned octopus, and potatoes. Yum!

We weren’t far from the Chocolate Museum which told the story of chocolate in Catalan (native language) and Spanish-of course, the kids didn’t care about that! All kinds of international characters were made of chocolate! We got pictures of all of them (it was a bit small) but here are just a few.

ChocoMusMassiBarcaTeamChocMus

With our entrance fee, we were given a dark chocolate candy bar as a ticket (and souvenir) with our home country on it! The 2nd picture is Messi, from the world famous soccer team “Barca”. Mitchell enjoyed the soccer aspect of our travels-soccer stadium and souvenirs.

That same day, we visited the Parc de la Ciutadella which is the biggest park in the city. The kids were needing a place to run around and be kids so we stopped here on a Sunday afternoon and relaxed. Interestingly, there was a small group of people doing yoga, so I did standing yoga with them. It was marvelous! After running races and expending some energy, we headed to the Picasso Museum.MuseuPicasso

Since it was free, we stood in line, and as we did, we were serenaded by a (guessing) South American young man with his guitar. He was playing lively happy music and my husband just loved it! He was even dancing a bit and taking photos!

The Picasso museum showed his works from his teenage years, and how they progressed to his cubism style. We all enjoyed his early realistic paintings which were outstanding. As his talent started to blossom, they became more abstract. The museum seemed to skipped much of the abstract and cubism works, but there were a few. I was intrigued by the color scheme he used: they were primary colors, bold and bright, and my husband questioned the purpose of these famous works. We all had a good time, and I reiterated to the kids that this was a once in a lifetime visit so they needed to take it all in with a good attitude. After the cubism works, they were done, and we headed home.

Photos from Droid-11-17-2015 810

This is the absolutely stunning and magnificent church that was started in 1882 and is still in the process of being built. This famous landmark is called the Sangrada Familia. It is huge and tells the events of Christ’s birth on one side, and Christ’s crucifixion on the other by two different architects with two different styles. This picture is the crucifixion side and was finished by Josep Maria Subirachs in 2005. Seeing the sculptures up close was very moving and powerful, so much that we purchased a book explaining all of the details. On this side, it chronicles the Last Supper, Judas’s betrayal, Pilate washing his hands. Here is one picture from the massive scene:

Judas Betratal

On the other side is the Nativity scene. It is Gothic style, and it is dark because it was damaged during the Spanish Civil War.

SFfullphoto

This picture gives an idea of how massive this structure is.

Nativity close up SF         Itouch Photos-11-17-2015 440

The left picture shows Christ’s birth, and the second picture is Simeon prophesying over Jesus the Christ in the temple. It is amazing all of the scenes and symbolism to see and take in, that it would take hours to see it all. The exterior is fantastic, but there was still the interior to tour as well.

insideSF stainedglass SF

Antoni Gaudi wanted the interior to be like a forest with filtering light causing reflection and meditation on the greatness and holiness of God. We definately saw God in his designs and in the other artists sculptures and we were blessed! What a faith Mr. Gaudi had!

Our last evening in Barcelona, we went to Montserrat, which is a mountain that means “serrated mountain”. Near the top, is a monastery, to which we traversed by bus. For me, it was a welcome change from the hustle and bustle of the city. The air was crisp (cold) and fresh and we were elevated so high-2400 feet- that we became a little nauseated. It was beautiful and less crowded that it became a stress relief for us.

Castleinthemountains Montserrat

We walked the trail and the kids enjoyed running around. At the end of the trail was the Cross of Calvary, which we saw in the distance. We weren’t able to walk the whole way because we were on  limited time.

Cross of Calvary

As we arrived back to the hotel and ate one final fancy dinner, we packed up our belongings and prepared to leave the next day.

Headinghome

We boarded the plane, said goodbye to Spain, and looked forward to coming home to grass and trees and space!

 

 

 

 

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X100 Mountain Bike Race

The X-100 is held in Traverse City on the Muncie Lake Trails and the VASA trail system. It is beautiful, hilly, and sandy. There are 4 different mileages one can choose; I chose the 10 mile this year. I had not trained a lot on the bike this season, so I didn’t feel ready to do the 20 mile like I did last year.waving

The first obstacle was climbing a 400 ft hill which was muddy and slippery from all the rain we received earlier that night, and that separated the pros from the commoners. I, of course, was in the 2nd group, trying to control my breath and keep pedaling. There was a man who reached the top at the same time I did, so I let him go first, and we coasted down the hills.

I was close to the pack of 5-6 people and I stayed close, pretending I was riding with friends. Early in the race, 2 guys stopped to the side, and I did not see them again. One tall youth passed me, but he’s the only one who passed me.

The guy who I let go ahead at the top of the hill had a yellow shirt, and he passed the guy in the green jersey. For a bit, I followed the green guy, but he stopped for water, and I continued. Right away, I saw the yellow guy, and I followed him for a while watching the trail as he rode it. About half way through, I got my 2nd wind and I continued to climb those nasty hills. He chose to walk them. I passed. I saw the black & white jersey; I passed him (he said I sped past him like a speeding bullet). I caught up to the peach shirt guy, climbed a hill behind him so I could catch my breath, then passed him on the next climb.

I knew I was almost done by the odometer, so when I approached the 400 ft hill (coasting down this time), I was so happy–I was done! And I finished so strong!

officialfinishtime closeupwkids

I was not thinking grandeur thoughts of my time nor of place, but my family was excitedly dancing circles around me all talking at once. They said that I was the first adult across the finish line and I had made it back in under an hour!

justafterraceWhat???? Really?

I was in shock and it took several moments (days really) to process I actually won. I was very pleased with my official time of 59.17, which was  the best time I’ve ever done.

The podium pictures:

1stplacehappypodiumwM

I like to say that it was really tough but the reward is worth it. I’m glad I did it because now I know I CAN.  To God be the glory, great things He had done!

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City Riding

I’ve never thought of myself as a commuter, but since I had to go across town for a meeting, I realized I could easily get my ride in for the day. I did not know how long it would take so I gave myself plenty of time to get there.

The day started off cool and cloudy, in the low 40s, so I dressed in leggings and layers with my coat. As I rode, my fingers and toes were becoming icy, so I looked forward to those first uphills to get my circulation flowing and my heart pumping. Since it was fairly early, the morning traffic had not yet awakened, so the ride was fast and furious clipping at 19mph. The commute only lasted a mere 20 minutes and I had 40 minutes to spare, so I started to explore some of the “lesser known” country roads.

I rode and took some turns and rode down some hills, glancing at the passing street signs. I found the famous vineyards and Amtrack rails, and trying to follow the tracks, I turned toward them, but I did not recognize the roads I was following. Time was ticking and I had to get back for the meeting. My brain was screaming at me to turn around so I wouldn’t get lost and be late. So, I did. I wasn’t sure if I had enough time to get back because the loops and turns seemed to be miles away. I reassured my brain that I would be there on time because I really hadn’t wandered that far away. I pedaled and pedaled up the hills, my legs aching with every stroke. Finding the tracks, I knew I was so close. Then I saw it! The road passed behind the building, then around to the front. It ended up being only a few paces and I rolled in the parking lot right on time.

The meeting being done, after talking mountain bikes with a young man, I headed toward the local coffee shop. I ordered a latte because my water was almost gone, and stopped to chat a bit about the potential of this town being bicycle (and walker) friendly. I like to support the local businesses so I also stopped at the local garden shop and drooled at all the beautiful colorful flowers and budding trees. How inspiring! The sun had come out at last and was beginning to warm the earth, so the colors were magnified and bright. I chatted with the owner and vowed to come back and buy some plants and veggies.

The ride home was fabulous with the sunshine guiding my path and the warmth on my face made me smile and praise God for the beautiful season of spring, full of color and renewal! I can’t wait for summer!

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New Year Letter

Annual Letter

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