Tuesday With Teri

Devotions from lessons I'm learning from God

Knit/Purl July 28, 2009

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 11:46 pm

           We were attending a business meeting at the church.  There was a short lull in the proceedings and folks were casually socializing.   I looked down the pew just in time to see my friend Sherry quietly completing a few “knits & purls”.  I quickly began to tease her about her knitting in church.  It was too hard to pass up.  There she was knitting needles twitching away while I, on the other hand, had nothing to occupy this brief moment of inactivity.  She is a good friend and kindly tolerated my references to old age and being “knit in the womb”.  My need to tease her was a natural result of my own idle mind and hands I suppose.  I know she has been a “knitter” for a long time, but knitting has become a “hip” hobby these days.  I recall when I tried to launch myself into this fad.

          My knitting goal was not lofty.  I chose a simple neck scarf for my first endeavor.  I  taught myself the knit and purl stitches.    I had an image in my head of how it would all play out.  I would carry my project and knitting needles in a tote bag with me everywhere I went.  Doctor’s waiting rooms, teacher meetings, kid’s sporting events, would all be good times to pull out my project and “cast a few on” (that’s knitter’s speak for knit a few more rows onto the scarf).  I saw myself as a “cool” mom who multi tasked and made good use of all her time.  I soon learned my image of being a knitting mom was a tad bit unrealistic.

          My first and last attempt at knitting in public took place at one of our high school basketball games.  I settled onto the bleachers along with several other moms as we watched the pregame warm ups.  I casually pulled my knitting project from my tote bag and began to “knit/purl/knit/purl”.  Slowly adding stitches to my scarf, which at this point was only a few inches long.  I acted as if I did not notice the interested onlookers.  I tried to relax as I varied my attention from the game to my handiwork, hoping to appear a seasoned pro at knitting. 

           I noticed a handful of ladies hunched over my shoulder.  Moms from either side of me on the bleachers scooted closer and closer.  I swear I could feel the warmth of their breath as they hovered around me like pigeons at a popcorn spill.  They were not looking at me or my project with the admiring eyes I had hoped for; instead they anxiously scanned my flaw filled effort.  No kidding, one lady actually gasped after one of my “knit/purls”.  Apparently to the trained knitter’s eye, uneven loops and varied tightness and “dropped” stitches are obvious and unbearable flaws. 

          Overwhelmed by the need to “help” me they soon began to offer assistance…“Would you mind if I cast on a few rows for you? I miss knitting.”  “Would you like me to fix that for you?”  “May I knit a few rows for you when she’s done?”.  Eventually I handed my project over to the eager moms around me.  They took turns adding their touches to my hapless knitting project while simultaneously squashing my vision of being a “cool knitting mom”.   The game came to a close and my narrow start of a scarf was shoved back into the tote, never to be seen in public again. ( I did continue to work on my knitting in private, but discovered I lacked the patience and precision this hobby required).


          I don’t blame the ladies for itching to correct my work.  They were kind and good intentioned.  I assume it is like when I see a crooked picture on the wall and can’t stand to not set it straight.  I’ve thought about my foray into knitting and that fateful day in the bleachers.  I wonder if I do that to God.  Do I look at what He is making of my life, or the life of anyone I know, and see the imperfections?  Am I distracted by His handiwork because it does not look the way I want it to?  Do I try to take His work into my own hands and “add my special touch”?   It is easy to say I trust in the Lord, but difficult to feel at ease when He starts to knit the threads of life in a way that is not my way.  When I see knitting needles I am reminded of the importance of allowing God to finish the “project” He started in me, and in others.  Letting Him “knit/pearl” the patterns in our life will result in a finished project we will praise Him for one day.

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus…Phil 1:6

Lord, help me to be as confident in how You work as I am in who you are.


Bundles of Joy July 21, 2009

Filed under: Christianity,life — tlmiller82 @ 9:57 pm

          Saturday, Scott and I attended a going away cookout for one of the young families in our Sunday school class.   It was a time of celebration for what the future held for them and for the relationships they had formed here in Virginia.   I watched the young families as they enjoyed the fellowship. 

           Mothers gathered on a quilt in the grass and babies laid side by side.  Crying, cooing, drooling, rolling, scooching(that butt in the air, army kind of pre-crawl), squirming, wiggling and bouncing were the most popular activities.  Toddlers were toddling in that walk/run method, designed to keep their head above their feet, with parents nearby for the inevitable tumble.  Preschoolers discovered sticks, rocks, basketballs and even an unattended water hose, all to a wonderful sound track of giggles and squeals.

          Today we hosted young moms and kids at our pool.  Over the course of the day I saw sweet babies sleeping, more toddlers toddling, and preschoolers splashing.  Youngsters jumped off ledges to open arms of mothers.  Little girls played mermaid and floats became choo choo trains and cargo boats.   I threw myself into the playing.  Trying to keep up with each little one and trying hard to pay attention to every minute of adorable they presented.  The moms asked what I did after they all left our pool each Tuesday.  They theorized I took a nap after such a vigorous playtime with the kids.  They are not too far off on their theory.  I don’t actually take a nap, but I do not plan to accomplish much later in the day.  I relax. 

 I recognize that is something most of these moms do not get to do.  I only need energy for part of a day, they need energy for 24 hours.  I have a good deal going on here.  I have the pleasure of taking in all the fun and delight of their little “bundles of joy”, without having to deal with the hardship each one also represents.

           Why do we call them “bundles of JOY?”   They poop, pee and spit up.  They demand attention and leave parents sleep deprived. They are messy and loud.  They cost money.  They challenge us, change us and then they grow up.  “Bundles of JOY?”   

          The reason babies and children are our “bundles of joy” has nothing to do with whether they are perfect, quiet, happy, clean or always on their best behavior.   These little ones are a “joy” because they fill the heart of their moms and dads.

           After observing the energy and diversity of all these little ones over the last few days it is clear they are pure joy to those who love them.    “Bundles of happiness” would not suffice when describing them.  Happiness is based on circumstances.   Happiness comes and goes, we have ups and downs…but joy is not based on what is around us.  Joy is what is in us.  Joy does not change. 

          Children running, preschoolers playing and babies on blankets are “bundles of Joy” reminding  us that true joy  is a heart that is full, no matter what the circumstances.  According to John 15:11-13, our Lord explains that when we fill our hearts with Him…”abide in Him”,” keep His commandments”,” love one another”  we will know joy and our “joy will be made full.”  

          That is what I seek, to abide in Him and have the joy of the Lord in me.  I don’t need to be happy all the time, but I want to know joy beyond my circumstances.   My Lord, my bundle of joy.


Keep Your Head Up July 14, 2009

Filed under: Christianity,devotionals,life — tlmiller82 @ 11:24 pm

                                                                                                                                                                   P7140378          Hughie, our porky little Yorkie, had a rough day at the vet.   The good news is he did not require surgery.  The bad news is he has to let a few “spots” heal up.  At least he was able to avoid the indignity of having to wear one of those lamp shade protective collars.  Several years ago Duke, our former lab, did not get so lucky.   

          Picture an 85lb lab with a stiff plastic satellite dish around his head trying to maneuver around the house.  The worst part of having the dreaded protective collar was when Duke had to go up the stairs.  One night as I listened to the familiar “scrape, thud, scrape thud” of him ascending the steps, I heard my husband ( who for some reason always talks to the dogs in complete sentences) proclaim, “Well Duke, if you’d walk with your head up you wouldn’t have so much trouble!”    Now that’s a bumper sticker just waiting to be printed….”If you’d walk with your head up, you wouldn’t have so much trouble!”

          The world is so much like those collars.  Duke’s collar was part of his reality.  We must live in the world, it is our reality. Like those collars, the world challenges and changes us at times.  We can look down, like Duke did, and find climbing obstacles more challenging and frustrating.  Reality will bump into things, slow us down and discourage us. 

           We can choose to walk with our head up, focused beyond the constraints of the collar/world.  The world/collar may still be a part of our reality, but we’ll see much clearer and be able to steer much more effectively, when we walk with our head up.  This world might cause us trouble, but we can keep our head up and focus on the One who overcomes the world.  My world is big, my God is BIGGER!

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you have tribulation, but take courage, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33


A Rock in My Garden July 7, 2009

Filed under: Christianity,devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 5:40 pm

        P7070322                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     I have a rock in my garden.  To be honest it is the only thing I contributed to the wonderful collection of perennials and annuals which fill the landscaped areas of my yard.  The previous owners of our home invested a lot of love and time into gardening efforts.  I am forever grateful and am quick to give credit to them when someone comments on anything that is growing in my yard.   Every year and each new season I watch and wait to see what will push up from the earth.   By now I know I can expect daffodils and tulips to flourish in the spring filling every open space among the mulch piled below the trees.  Roses will attempt to blossom before the June Bugs eat them up and a purple Clematis will wind its way through my porch rails to display rather fragile petals.  Azaleas and dogwood trees will inevitably show their recognizable blooms in the early spring and summer,  while some sort of ground cover will fill in any open space around the flowerbed in the yard. 

          When we moved into the house I had plans to contribute to the work already begun by the previous owners.  I went to the garden center that first spring day fully intent on purchasing a few more flowers for the yard.  Ultimately, though not too surprisingly, I got a bit off task.  I found myself looking at bird baths and yard décor instead.  Somehow, and even I am not sure why, I ended up purchasing a rock.  It was one of those “so ugly it’s cute” sort of rocks.  The man made rock contained the image of a squinting or squished face.  Truly I can’t recall why I thought this was a necessary purchase, but purchase I did.  I do recall being pleased with myself as I in placed the unsightly thing in the middle edge of our flowerbed.   I tend to forget it is even there and sometimes find myself startled by the absurd image staring out from under the overgrown foliage. 

          One of the nice things about this early rock purchase is that, unlike so many of my other yard & garden endeavors, it has always stayed the same.  I have not, nor will I be able to, cause its downfall.  I cannot over water it, undernourish it or over prune it to an early death.   Seasons change and so does my garden.   In the fall the green plants pull back into the earth and nearby trees shed a thick blanket of dead leaves over them.  The rock remains unmoved or changed.  By wintertime the flowerbeds resemble barren land, what has not been pinned down by autumn leaves soon falls under the weight of layers of snow.   The rock remains unmoved or changed.   As spring arrives, bright green leaves unfold from every branch of each tree, and colorful blooms dot the once grey landscape.   The rock remains unmoved or changed.  By summertime the garden is full and flowing with green plants and few blooms.  Some plants will suffer neglect and fail to experience the entirety of the season.  The rock remains unmoved or changed. 

          I thought of this rock the other day when I began work on a poem I intend to write for a friend.  Through everything, the ups and downs, this friend has been like a rock in my garden.   I know that no matter how things around me change, she will remain.  I know she will share in my celebrations and comfort me in times of need.  I know that, unlike so many other things in my garden of life, I cannot neglect her because she requires nothing of me except my friendship and love.   She is an earthly example of the rock God is in our gardens of life.   The world around us may at times be conducive to wonderful blooms and beauty in our lives, but sometimes the world is inhospitable.  Some seasons find us pinned down or weakened, while others require waiting for optimal conditions.  But no matter what season of life we find ourselves in, God is unmoved or unchanged…a rock in our garden.  Just like the rock in my garden, we tend to forget He is there.   I pray we all find ourselves pleasantly startled today by the realization that no matter how lush or barren your garden is this day He remains unmoved or changed.

“I love Thee, O Lord, my strength.  The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer.  My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge;  My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold”( Psalm 18:1-2)