January 16, 2010

Challenging myself...

Kristin from Dragondreamer’s Lair is hosting the Annual Book Challenge.  Since I read all the time anyway, why not challenge myself to see just how many books I can devour in one year?  I usually average one to two a month, depending on the book length, content or subject matter, and my availability of reading time.  So this year I am challenging myself to up it a bit (and maybe reap the added benefit of a little less mindless time in front of the TV…although, TV time is my knitting time, so this might be tough considering the amount of projects I have lined up!).  My goal is 3 books a month, or a total of 36 books read in 2010.  I have one (and a half) down already.  You can check the “My Reading List” page for what I’m currently reading and have lined up to read.

In knitty news, a few weeks ago my bestest friend and I had a girls’ day out trip to a local yarn store.  We had such a great time!  She bought some gorgeous yarn for a sweater project, and I bought some beautiful sock yarn.  I am deliriously in love with the colorway of this yarn. 

It reminds me of twilight on a spring evening…cool, calm and a little mysterious. 

I also bought my first 100% wool yarn.  (I'm usually a cheapskate frugal, and use less expensive, mostly acrylic or "blend" yarn.  I felt might hoity toity purchasing these fibers, let me tell ya!)  I plan to use it for my first felted project, a Booga Bag.  I have to admit, I honestly believe this has to be the UGLIEST yarn I have ever laid eyes on. 


However, I just had to have it in spite of (or because of?) the sheer hideousness of it.  The picture isn't true to life,  but it's orange/muddy green/brighter green/red.  Blech!  I think it will knit up beautifully and give a gorgeous stripe.  The socks and bag will have to wait for a little bit because I still have several projects STILL on the needles.  In addition to the baby gifts I’m furiously trying to finish before my friend’s twin boys get here, I have a scarf for my sister (that was supposed to be part of her Christmas gift, but since she does live in Minnesota, no worries…there will be winterlike weather there for quite a while!), a knitted skullcap for my sweet husband, and my Renaissance Sweater.  I have a feeling I am going to have to redo a couple of the panels because I think I wasn’t following the right section of the pattern.  OOPS.  Bummer.  Oh well, everything is a learning experience, right?  My knitting challenge for this year is to make more things for ME.  I love knitting for other people, don't get me wrong!  I love the feeling I get knowing that I created something one-of-a-kind for someone.  However, most of my "other people" projects have been baby gifts, and sometimes it's just too darn hard for me to keep knitting baby sweater after baby sweater and baby blanket after baby blanket for everyone else but myself.  So...I'm taking a step back from consistently knitting for others and taking some time to knit for myself this year.  I have lots of projects lined up, and I'll share them as I start each one.  :)

Another task I’m challenging myself with this year (and a significant portion of The Year of Self) is to read the Bible cover to cover.  My bestest friend (who has also become sort of a “faith mentor” to me as of late) is participating in the Bible in 90 Days challenge.  I’m doing a “modified” version of that.  I am not setting a daily page quota, rather trying to make a conscious effort to make reading my Bible at least 30 minutes a day before any other leisure activity (including knitting…egads!).  I’ve missed a couple of days just due to things going on around here, and I really find that I miss that quiet time.  I’m still in Genesis, of course, but making progress.  The Bible I use also has a guided topic reading track that I’m also using during my readings.  I must admit, I’m surprised at how much comfort my going back to church and taking steps to reconstruct my relationship with and faith in God has brought me.  I still have many, many questions and stumbling blocks to overcome, but I’m getting there.  One step at a time.  I’m trying to institute a routine of daily prayer time, learning how to pray*, and trying to understand and embrace the concept of “God’s Will” and submitting (the mere mention of the word raises my feminist hackles, I can’t help it) to Him while still believing I have free will.  My conversations with my bestest have not only shed a different light on my view of religion, but also opened up a whole new dimension to our friendship.  I cannot describe how that makes me feel.  We’ve been through a lot in our friendship, and for a while I honestly didn’t know that this level of connection between us was even possible.  God has been working in mysterious ways, as the old saying goes, in my life recently.  And I thank Him every day for it.  Now if only He could grant me a few more hours in each day to accomplish all this reading, learning and knitting …THAT would be great!  Have a great night everyone!   

 *How do you pray?  Do you have a standard prayer that you use each time you pray?  Do you have an “outline” you follow when praying or do you simply speak to God about what is on your heart as you would a friend?  Is there, in your opinion, a right or wrong way to pray?  Would you mind sharing some examples with me?


  1. Have you heard of the P.R.A.Y. acronym? It's the outline I use for prayer most of the time.


    The other type of prayer that I use most often is a meditative form. Have you heard of the Jesus Prayer? You connect your prayer to the rhythm of your breathing, and keep it simple. (Inhale) Jesus... (exhale) forgive. I usually use 'Father God... your will be done'.

    I love how excited you get about wool/yarn/knitting stuff! Very cute!

  2. PS - I don't think there is only one way to pray, or a right or wrong way. Just do what feels most natural to you.

  3. I don't have a certain way to pray. Sometimes I try to remember the acronyms (like the one mentioned by Mrs. Gamgee) so that I am not always just telling God what's wrong with me or a situation, etc...but so I will remember to praise him and show love towards him in my words.

    Sometimes when I am reading his word, I will pray in that way. For example, this morning in church, Psalm 22:24 was written on the screen at the beginning of a video clip about Haiti. "For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him." I began to pray something like, "Lord, thank you for hearing the cry of our brothers and sisters in Haiti during this devastation. Thank your for bringing comfort to them, for holding them close and for not forgetting them." As you are starting to read scripture, if something jumps out at you that reminds you of something you are dealing with or a friend is going through, then it can spark prayer.

    I'm glad you are diving into the Bible this year. It's a good reminder to me, too, as my plan has been to read through the New Testament once or twice. (I tend to get bogged down when trying to read through the whole Bible through the year...so I try to break it down into smaller sections, so I can also read other parts that I want to spend time in.)

    Blessings to you, friend!

  4. I love yarn! There is a little old-fashioned hardware store near me that sells the coolest (and silkiest) yarns, and I'm dying to buy some, but I keep thinking I need to just use the million skeins of yarn I have at home first. I definitely need to find a project that I can FINISH for once. I think it's a great idea to pick projects for YOU instead of the endless train of baby things. There's nothing selfish about that :).

  5. I don't think there is a right or wrong way to pray, as long as you do it. I, personally, have a variety of ways that I pray, depending on the situation, my mood, what's going on & where I am. Sometimes (like when I have a problem or question) I just talk to Him. I also like to have a conversation when I'm in my car. In the morning, and at night when I pray, I prefer the whole kneeling-hands-folded-head-bowed prayer. (I also have a prayer book by my bed where I have written my own "standard" morning/evening prayers & a list of all the people I'm currently praying for). And sometimes, when I'm angry or frustrated, or just plain confused, I must admit to throwing up my hands, casting my eyes to the sky & saying (perhaps a little too loudly), "What are you trying to do to me?!?!?!?!"
    I'm not sure He cares how or when you talk to Him, as long as you do so daily.

  6. Yay! I'm eager to check out your reading list. I personally like having a list - it keeps me on task and makes me feel like I'm working toward a goal. Good luck!

    I'm excited to read about your spiritual journey and growth. As far as prayer, I like to pray as talking to a friend (yet with reverence as well), bringing my praise, thanksgiving, and requests to the Lord. I pray throughout the day, whether I'm alone or in a busy place, whenever things or people come to mind.

    When I struggle, I try to remember the ACTS acronym as a general guide (it's similar to the PRAY one mentioned above):

    I think God appreciates a heart that is seeking Him and wants to spend time with Him. Keep up the good work!

  7. I love your book and bible goals. I read the bible over a year (2002 I think) and it was enlightening.

    I am a free-form prayer. Sometimes I go for conversation and other times I am more structured.

  8. The bag looks way fun. Good luck on all your challenges!

  9. I'm working on reading more this year, too.
    Personally I do not believe there is a wrong way to pray. Therefore, I have several ways to pray. Sometimes I just sit and have a conversation with God. Other times I have several books that I use. They include readings about saints and then include bible passages followed by questions. I then pick a question and journal about it. I like the combination.

  10. Great goals! And this makes me want to learn to knit!

  11. That booga bag pattern is really interesting- I think I want one (too bad I knit about as well as my dog does, lol). I think a year of self is a great idea...


  12. I don't pray but thats because I don't "believe" as such. I believe religion is such a deeply personal thing and because so many believe different things, I don't believe there is a right or wrong way to "pray" if you "believe".

    I get asked what beliefs I hold and I would say that if anything I lean towards Buddhism, and am trying this year to immerse myself into it and learn more, try to find my place of enlightenment and at the same time find peace.

    When it comes to prayer or in my case meditation, I say do what feels right, for thats rarely wrong.


  13. Thanks for the suggestion on the book challenge. I, too, read a lot, so I might have to check that out!

    Happy ICLW!

  14. I love the knit projects youare working on. I crochet (also in front of the TV). Thanks for sharing and I'll keep up with your progress on knitting and the book challenge (I'm doing that too).



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