A Recycled Parable


Here’s a parable I wrote several years ago. I thought of it again this morning when I encountered a lunkheaded Levite harassing a repentant lamb:

A certain sheep went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. Well, she started out in that direction at any rate, but very foolishly wandered off the road and fell into a deep, miry pit.

Now by chance a certain priest came down that road.

“Please help me!” she bleated. “I’ve very foolishly wandered off the road and fallen into this pit!”

“Aw…don’t be so hard on yourself,” he replied. “Who’s to say that being in a pit is wrong? And wandering off isn’t necessarily bad, it’s just an alternative path. So don’t let anybody judge you!” And he passed by on the other side.

Likewise a Levite arrived at the place.

“Please help me!” she bleated. “I’ve very foolishly wandered off the road and fallen into this pit!”

“You know what your problem is?” he asked. “You’ve very foolishly wandered off the road and fallen into this pit. What you need to do is stick to the road, like I do. I’ll be praying for you to get your act together and cease your stupid straying!” And he passed by on the other side.

And a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where she was.

“Please help me!” she bleated. “I’ve very foolishly wandered off the road and fallen into this pit!”

And when he heard her, he had compassion. So he went to her and hauled her out, and cleaned the mud out of her wool, and carried her back to the road.

“I think I’d better go the rest of the way with you, Miss,” he advised. “I’d hate for you to meet with robbers along this road while traveling unprotected.”

“Robbers?” she replied with a laugh. “Oh, there are worse people than robbers to meet out here!”

Three Years in Moscow


I arrived in Moscow three years ago today. In addition to year one’s list and year two’s list, I am grateful for…

  • My Prescription
    Last summer and fall, I spent three or four months in a haze of fatigue. Several weeks in, I went to the doctor, and after a couple of visits and a couple of rounds of blood work, we had a diagnosis of hypothyroidism and a prescription that gradually brought me back to life. I am grateful for modern medicine that allows me to be a functional human being.
  • My Paracletes
    Amid the physical and emotional symptoms of my illness, a number of people came alongside me. One Saturday I was kidnapped, and my keys were stolen, and a gang broke into my house…and cleaned it. That’s a gift I won’t soon forget. Folks brought meals for a while till I was feeling more on top of things. There were flowers, and there were encouraging notes, and there were (and still are) many prayers. When I was back on my feet, but it was clear that things still weren’t right with my heart, two ladies in particular, Nancy and Eileen (my pastors’ wives), continued to be relentless with encouragement and counsel and lunch dates and checking in and the right kind of pushiness. I am grateful for this avalanche of love that has pounded down on me for the past eight or nine months
  • My Perch
    Another specific megablessing has been my new office. Nancy saw the need to get me out of my isolation at home and installed me in a snug little spot in the church office building. Not only has it been great to get out of the house and interact with other human beings every day, it’s been a great perch from which to observe the life of the congregation. I especially appreciate seeing how our deacons serve our community. Once a week, a couple of them give up their lunch breaks to meet with folks who have practical needs. They don’t just throw money at situations; they get to know people and work on solving the problems underneath the problems. I am grateful to be be near the hub of our church life and to see others being blessed there, too.
  • My Progress
    My pastor often reminds up to judge things by the video, not by the snapshot. In the case of my sanctification, the video is so slo-mo that it takes some concentration and a little imagination to see any action, but I think I can juuuust make out a little creeping progress. I am grateful that “He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.”

And now the suspense begins: Will I be able to keep up this ever-more-strained P-alliteration in next year’s anniversary post? Tune in to find out!

Giving Temptation Backchat


Thinking about the Romans 6 reminder that I am no longer a slave to sin, and realizing that I act too often as if I am, I came up with the defiant “You ain’t the boss of me!” to use against it when it says, in one of its wheedling ways, that I must do this or that. I decided I needed to expand that a bit, and came up with this ditty. Maybe I’ll make up a tune to go with it, but for now, this’ll do.
Sin, you ain't the boss of me

Joy Doodles #22 and 23


Joy Doodle 022 sm
The first one was my entertainment on a recent cross-country flight. I knew the motion of the plane would prevent precision, so I planned on the wobbliness of the vertical lines giving it a bit more texture.
Joy Doodle 023 sm
Back on solid ground, I did the second one, which required a steadier hand. At one spot, I goofed and used the same color adjacent to itself. A little cutting-and-pasting plus a little Photoshopping hid it pretty well, I think.

Lizard Appliqué Crochet Pattern


I was on the hunt for boy-friendly hat ideas last week, so I searched for a lizard appliqué and found this pattern. I decided it could use some improving, so I reworked the it to something that satisfied me better. I wrote it up so I could remember it, and now here it is for you to try!

lizard applique


I made this sample using Caron Simply Soft (aran weight) with a size E hook. As you can see, he’s about 6 inches long. I’m sure he’d adapt well to other yarn weights and hook sizes.

dc2tog (double crochet two together) — yo, insert hook into stitch, pull up a loop, yo, draw through 2 loops, yo, insert hook into next stitch, pull up a loop, yo, draw through 2 loops, yo, draw through 3 loops.

anchored dc — insert hook through 1 strand in post of prior stitch, pull up a loop. This loop serves as the normal yo in a dc, so proceed with a dc as usual [I don’t know if there’s an official name for this stitch, so I’m calling it an anchored dc. I’ll try to make it more clear in the pattern how to do it.]

LEG — I think it will be easier if I post the leg pattern separately, and then you can just insert it where needed. Don’t start with the leg, though. Just pop up here and follow these steps when you see LEG in the pattern.

  • ch 6
  • sl st in 4th ch from hook (1st toe)
  • ch 3
  • sl st in same st (2nd toe)
  • ch 3
  • sl st into same st and another strand opposite so you close up the gap. You’re just making one sl st, but it’ll go through two strands of yarn. (3rd toe)
  • sc in last 2 ch of the ch 6


  • sc in 2nd chain from hook
  • hdc in next chain
  • dc in next 2 chains
  • LEG
  • anchored dc in next ch of BODY FOUNDATION CHAIN. OK…here’s where we’re using that weird stitch. Basically, you want to attach it to the last dc you made so you won’t have a weird gap between the body and the leg.
  • (2 dc in next ch, dc in next ch) 3x
  • LEG
  • anchored dc in next ch of BODY FOUNDATION CHAIN
  • hdc in next ch
  • sc in next 2 ch
  • 2 dc in next ch
  • hdc in next ch
  • 4 sc in last ch

Woohoo! You’ve made half a lizard body and head! Now let’s make the other half working down the other side of the BODY FOUNDATION CHAIN.

  • hdc in back side of next ch in the BODY FOUNDATION CHAIN
  • 2 dc in next ch
  • sc in next 2 ch
  • hdc in next ch
  • LEG
  • anchored dc in back side of next ch of BODY FOUNDATION CHAIN
  • (dc2tog in next 2 ch, dc in next ch) 2x
  • LEG
  • anchored dc in next ch of BODY FOUNDATION CHAIN
  • dc in next ch
  • hdc in next ch
  • sc in next ch

OK, now we’ve got a whole lizard body. On to the tail!

  • sl st in 2nd ch from hook
  • (sc in next ch, 2 sc in next ch) 2x
  • hdc in next 3 ch
  • dc in next 5 ch
  • (dc2 tog in next 2 ch, dc in next ch) 3x
  • dc2 tog in next ch
  • sl st to 1st sc of body
  • fasten off, leaving a long end for attaching appliqué

Congrats on your new lizard! Please let me know how the pattern worked for you. Was anything too confusing? Did you spot any errors? Did it come out juuuuust right? Your feedback would be appreciated!


And here’s our little reptilian friend attached to a toddler-size* hat, ready to be bestowed on some small person at a future baby shower! The eyes are just a couple of stitches in a contrasting color yarn.


*For the sake of prolonged wearability and a better shot at having it fit the recipient for at least one winter!

(Lizard Appliqué on Ravelry)

‘Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?’


“Were you there when they crucified my Lord?”

No, I wasn’t.

Would I have been if I’d been alive in that time and place?

No, I don’t think I would.

Should I?

There’s an article with links to videos of the least of these His brethren being “crucified” for His sake in Iraq. Should I be willing to watch them as a way of “being there” with them? Am I being a coward not to watch them? My reticence isn’t about denial. I’ve already dreamed about a mass execution after seeing that photo of the truckload of men and boys being hauled away to their deaths, and I’ve wept over some of the still photos that I’ve dared to look at. There’s been plenty to fuel my prayers. And there’s not much else I can do but pray.

There is one more thing, actually: I can redouble my efforts to obey God. Individual sin has a corporate effect. Take Achan’s example. Innocent people died because of his sin. Individual obedience likewise has a corporate effect. It blesses, often in unknown ways. I need to fight harder for their sakes. THAT is where I can’t afford to flinch.


“Were you there when the crucified my Lord?”

Yes, I was. “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

Am I there with my raped and butchered brethren in Iraq?

Yes, I am. “We are members of one body.” “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it.”

Two Years in Moscow


I arrived at my new digs two years ago today, and I still couldn’t be more sure that it’s the right place for me to be. Did I ever tell you that God tricked me into this move? I’d never have done it. The only idea I had was to go someplace different for a year or two and then come back to Maryland. But then I was buying a house (because I didn’t want to throw away rent money for two years), and while I was still telling the “I’m just going temporarily to go back to school” story, it slowly dawned on me that such was not the case. Finally a friend said, “You’re not coming back, are you.” I grinned and shook my head sheepishly. I’m glad God’s smarter than I am…and clever enough to guide me where I need to be.

In addition to last year’s list, I am grateful for…

  • My Provision
    I’ve also been tricked into freelancing. It was not my idea of a nice, secure position, and I am definitely missing my disposable income, but I’m overjoyed to be able to do editing, designing, and a wee bit of writing on projects that I know are building the Kingdom. Here are a few I’ve been privileged to have a hand in: Introductory and Intermediate Logic, Against the Church, The Seven Laws of Teaching, Fit to Burst, Beowulf, and the Old Western Culture series. Amid the vicissitudes of the freelance life, I’m also grateful for a nice, consistent layer of steady work doing video review for Next Wave Security Solutions. And although it stresses and exhausts me every time, and I frequently swear I’ll never do it again, a little wedding cake income now and again is nice.
  • My Protection
    At a wedding the other day, the homily reminded me of how blessed I am to live in a community where biblical principles of marriage and parenting are clearly taught and abundantly modeled. Although I don’t get to experience the blessings of marriage directly, just knowing that godly husbands and fathers exist, and seeing the evidence of their faithfulness in the wives and children around me gives me a sense of security. It’s a persistent reassurance that, ah, yes, that Story I’ve been reading all my life really is true. This is gonna sound weird, but I feel like the Syrophoenician woman, who knew the children’s meal was not for her, but was content to gather the crumbs under the table. The crumbs at this feast make a better meal than the biggest helpings at the world’s table.

I’m so grateful that God brought me here!

Hot on the Heels of Bartholomew Cubbins


Of the making of babies there is no end. And likewise of the making of baby hats. I’ve made fifty hats in the last twenty months since moving to Moscow. It’s only 10 percent of Bartholomew Cubbinsʼs collection, but a girl’s gotta start somewhere. Of those pictured below, a few of them were sent back east to family, and one was made before I moved, but I know at least one I made here escaped without being photographed, so…close enough. Most have been given as baby gifts, a couple were made for Halloween costumes, and a few are stockpiled for future gifting. Not nearly enough though; there are at least fifteen expected babies on the church prayer list right now.

A bunch of them were badly shaped — way too short. I was basing them on a pattern that was just a little too short to begin with, and then I was making the pattern incorrectly, so they were even shorter. If your baby got one of those…sorry! You’ll just have to make another kid so I can make another hat! I’ve been aiming for most of them for a 6-12 month size, figuring that ought to catch one winter. But a few have been smaller and a few larger, not usually by design, but by still figuring out what I’m doing.