Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Why Change The Name? (Long Post)

Well, let's face it, those UFOs (unfinished objects) were just not getting finished. I was having no adventure with those UFOs! LOL The name fit when I first started blogging almost two years ago, thanks to Amy who I met in a quilting class at Quilter's Corner. I don't think I ever told Amy this, but the first night in class, even though I had not spoken with her directly, I just "knew" that I was meant to meet her! May sound crazy but it is true. Amy has helped me so much in getting started with blogging, getting back to my knitting after a long illness induced hiatus and also in my grieving process.

But I digress! At the time I started this blog I was excited about getting back into knitting. I have many UFOs which I just stopped in the middle of when I was diagnosed with Pseudotumor Cerebrei ten years ago. The thing is that if you enjoy talking and writing, it's really hard to keep a blog centered on just one aspect of your life. All the different aspects of my life overlap. I talk about my family, faith, traveling and many other subjects.

The old name didn't fit, but the new name was hard to find! Thank you to those who gave your input. I really loved Lynette's suggestion of "One Stitch At A Time". In my mind I could hear Cristy Lane singing "One Day At A Time". (It was a favorite of my stepdad Andy who raised me.) Most of you liked "TJ Knits" which is afterall the blog address. I almost went with that except that it is a nickname I had growing up and reflects my maiden name (Theresa Johnson) and I am not that girl anymore.

Grace has a lot of meaning for me. My middle name Ann means grace. My Aunt, the artist who taught me to "see" and create is named Grace. At family camp when I accepted Christ, one of the first things I did after being baptized was play "Amazing Grace" on my flute for talent night (it still makes me cry). As someone who has fought perfectionism and the inability to live up to my own expectations all her life, grace, "God's unmerited favor" means more than I could ever express in my own words.

One of my favorite books of the Bible, Ephesians, has this to say about grace:

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (NIV published by Zondervan, emphasis mine)

How does this relate to knitting? My faith permeates all of my life, even my knitting! In the summer of 2005, my dear cousin Nancy was losing her battle with Ovarian cancer after ten long years. I felt so hopeless 800 miles away and unable to travel to see her or put my nursing skills to good use in ministering to her. Even though I love being a stay at home mom, there have been many times where I feel like "What can I do?" I certainly do not have the freedom I had as a single person for 32 years and I didn't become a Mom until I was 35. I'm stubborn, independent and I like to be hands on. It's hard to sit back and not do much. As I worked out these frustrations over the course of a couple years, God has convinced me that I'm not "just a Mom" and that even though my health often confines me to my home (asthma and chronic, severe migraines), He can still use me. In fact, in the verse above He says that He prepared good works in advance for me to do!!! How exciting is that!? So, I set out to knit Nancy a shawl. I had only knit minimal lace. I was given the yarn and the pattern for Sivia Harding's Shetland Garden Faroese Shawl in a secret pal exchange (you can see pictures in the archives for August 2005) and undaunted I forged ahead and knit it in two weeks. I was in a hurry, racing to finish. Nancy was delighted with the shawl. She was always quite stylish and fashion conscious and put together the most lovely ensembles which she found at bargain prices! :o) I was not surprised that she would like a lace shawl, however I was surprised at how much it blessed her. A couple weeks later, her daughter would wear the shawl at her mother's funeral.

The Lord placed it on my heart to begin a shawl ministry which I have named "Garments of Grace" after Nancy (Nancy means grace). In the past year I have placed one more shawl to another lady battling Ovarian Cancer and I have one waiting to be blocked and another half finished. Several more are planned, especially after the special gift of the Victorian Lace book! :o) The nice thing about lace shawls, especially those knit with some wool content, is that they are still quite warm while being very light weight. Sometimes people with illness are unable to bear the weight of heavy blankets and yet they are quite cold.

I also am hoping that I will improve in my spinning enough to be able to knit shawls from the yarn I create! When I received my Lendrum spinning wheel for my 40th birthday, I immediately knew that this wheel would be "Karis" which means "full of grace"! (In case you didn't know, many spinners name their wheels, just like some people name their cars!)

And so, Stitches of Grace, just seemed appropriate with all those connections. What a blessing His grace has been in my life, giving me the freedom to become the woman He always wanted me to be (I'm still in process!). In the description at the header I chose the analogy that He has placed many stitches of grace in the tapestry of my life. That is because it has not been easy. Life has not been easy for me. And I have not been easy. I am stubborn. I try to do everything on my own. He never leaves me or forsakes me. But just like God promises in Romans 8:28-29, He does work all those things together for my own good. And like He promised in Isaiah, He is creating "beauty for ashes and the oil of joy for mourning" in my life. He has truly blessed the broken road of my life. That is why I like this song which has been around for awhile and is currently being sung by Rascal Flats and Selah, two groups I really like. It is a love song, but I relate it to my relationship with God...after all the Bible really is a love letter to His children and He considers the church His Bride...

God Bless The Broken Road

I set out on a narrow way many years ago
Hoping I would find true love
Along the broken road
But I got lost a time or two
I wiped my brow and kept pushing through
I couldn't see how every sign pointed straight to You

That every long lost dream Led me to where You are
Others who broke my heart
They were like northern stars
Pointing me on my way
Into Your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to You

I think about the years I spent just passing through
I'd like to have them back again
And give them all to You
But You just smile and take my hand
You've been there and You understand
It's all part of a grander plan
That is coming true

That every long lost dream
Led me to where You are
Others who broke my heart
They were like northern stars
Pointing me on my way
Into You loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to You
Now I keep rolling on into Your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to You

Well, if you have made it this far, you deserve a prize! If I wasn't so broke I would give you one! :o) I hope I haven't scared you off. My blog will continue to be much as it always has been. I just wanted to share a little of my heart with you. Thank you everyone who reads and comments. You are so encouraging to me!

6 comments:

Woven ~N~ Spun said...

i love the new name. It's so You and it fits!

Carissa said...

I like your new pictureI I like the new blog name too. Thank you for sharing about yourself. It is always great to see God working in our lives!

KnitnMomofboys said...

I love your new blog name! I think it's soooo much better than TJknits! :) I love the new name of your wheel to - it was going to be the name of our girl - but 4 boys later, I'm thinking it's not going to happen! ;)

Eve/Divine Fibers & Yarn said...

I love the new name! I think we must have both been thinking about Grace because I changed the name of my personal blog also. *G*

Anonymous said...

Theresa!

Everything you said went straight to my heart. We speak the same language. By the way, your organizing is coming along beautifully. We too have a very small house, and you have inspired me. Love, Janet

Anonymous said...

Theresa!

Everything you said went right to my heart. We speak the same language. Oh...and your organizing is coming along beautifully. We too live in a very small house, and you have inspired me. How's that Swallowtail coming along? Love, Janet