Friday, March 06, 2015

to carry each other's burdens

[two new bags pictured at bottom of post]

"Carry each other's burdens," Paul tells us, 
"and so fulfill the law of Christ." [Galatians 6:2]

Bags that carry your groceries (or other goodies) can buy meals for hungry children.  How?!  Read on:

It all started when I ran into an old friend in a thrift store.  She was carrying a most intriguing bag, and when I asked her about it, she said she had crocheted it from plastic grocery bags!  I came home and told my daughters about it, and light bulbs went on.

Before Christmas Sugar, Spice, and Nice had worked together with me to make hymnal angels to raise money for Feed My Starving Children.  We made and sold ten (!), enabling us to donate $250 to the fund.  Sugar, Spice, and Nice were properly impressed that they - mere children, so they had thought - could earn such a sum to give away.

What if we made bags, too?!

So we did.

First we used the grocery bags we had around the house.  Then we asked the Grandmas if they had any to contribute.  Then my brother's wife caught wind of the project and gave us her generous stash!

We sorted them by color and type, and began making "plarn" (a.k.a. "plastic yarn").  Here's how it works:

Flatten the bag.

Fold it lengthwise; snip off the handles.

Snip off the bottom, then cut the length into one-inch sections.

Pull the cut sections open into loops (Lil' Snip and Nice are pros at this!), and then loop the loops together to form the "plarn" - !  Just like that.

Getting ready a new stash of "plarn" to crochet more bags!

If that looks like it takes a lot of time ... you're right - it does!  But withe all five of us working together (when that happens they call it Plarn Factory), progress is encouragingly visible.  And watching the bags form is exciting.  

Here's what we've made (so far):

{this bag is now SOLD!}

{this bag is now SOLD!}

There you have it!  Sturdy upcycled totes to carry your groceries, books, beach towels and more. If you'd like more information, or to buy a bag, contact me by email {buretachi [at] gmail [dot] com} or drop me a line in the comments! {All donations go to Feed My Starving Children.}

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

moving glitches

Just a note:  the blue "join this site" button at the new address is [temporarily, I hope] out of order.

Fortunately, there is a way around that - click on the tiny red boxes to the right of the blue button, and a window will pop up displaying followers.  At the top right of that window is a "follow" button.  Click that and you'll be able to go through the usual process to receive new posts.

Thank you!

Monday, October 13, 2014

moving time

Hi there!

Guess what?  I finally lit on the right name for this blog, and to celebrate its fit-ness, I not only renamed, but re-designed my life: in short.

Hop over to the new site with me?  All the content from my life: in short will be there, and I hope you'll join me for the move.  I am so grateful for all of you who - by reading what I wrote, by commenting, by coming up to me in church to tell me that you liked a post - have walked with me through the past few years.

The new name is based on that time when someone very kind told me that my writing "makes the ordinary holy."  Suddenly a long-forgotten piece of a poem sprang from the depths of my memory, perfectly encapsulating what I want to do with my writing:  point you to the fire of God in the everyday.

I read to know I'm not alone.  I write in hopes of showing others - you, sometimes? - that they're not alone, either.

If you've enjoyed following my life: in short, you can join the new site to continue receiving content.

See you over there!

[update on the blue "join this site" button at the new address, which is temporarily out of order - if you click the tiny red boxes to the right of the blue button, a window will pop up.  Click the "follow" button to the top right of that window and you'll be able to sign up!  Thanks!!]

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

passing through shadow

The moon was still nearly full when I pulled myself from bed at the usual too-early time.  I'd almost forgotten about the eclipse - and how quickly it would go - and by the time my shower had woken me up, the earth's shadow had eroded the moon to a slim, shining sliver.

I rushed through coffee prep, grabbed my inadequate camera and binoculars, turned on the porch light, and stumbled over fallen walnuts out to the middle of the backyard, where no branches would obscure my view.

The porchlight started flashing.  I turned, saw my Farmer silhouetted in the doorway, and waved.  When he didn't come out, I went up to investigate.  Turns out he'd seen the glow from my camera's display, and thought there were bioluminescent mushrooms growing on the stump I was using as my tripod.

Meanwhile, the moon had turned reddish, passing through the penumbra of the earth's shadow, reflecting "all the sunrises and sunsets in the world, all at once."

The girls traipsed out in their pajamas, barefoot in the cool dew.  Taking turns with the binoculars, we watched as the moon sank in the sky, grew dimmer and dimmer.

We never did see the "turquoise band" resulting from reflected ozone.  Photos online were much more spectacular than the ones I took, than even the reality that we saw, despite a forecast-defying unclouded sky.

So a shadow passed over the moon, temporarily obscuring its brilliance and shading it rusty-red.  Cars hurried to work just yards to our left, buggies, pickups with ladders and tools on their way to build things, fix things.  No one slowed to watch the spectacle.  Perhaps no one noticed there was one.

I wouldn't have missed it, though.

When we could barely distinguish the morning-faded moon from the morning itself, we headed back inside - me to cook the eggs, them to read abed, and dress.

Quietly, masked by daylight, the moon emerged from shadow and once again - to the other side of the world - reflected sunlight fully.

Friday, October 03, 2014

what I saw, when I looked ...

Some days look bleak. . . .

. . . until I slow down,
lean in,
peer closer,

The more closely I look, the more beauty I see.

God lavishly "wastes" his creative design 
on weeds,
inside trees,
even in the midst
of decay.

All over the ordinary,
he hides

All it takes to see it
a seeker.

have a look!

(I started inside the house)

Sugar's eye.
Is there anything like the human eye to stir wonder?!
The colors it can see...
The emotions it can communicate...

The zipper!!  The colors!! 
(No, God didn't make it, but he tucked it away in a thrift store for me to find,
knowing that its bright design and pockets galore would delight me.)

Glass.  Water.  Mums.

Glossy kernels of Indian corn & popcorn.
Think of the explosion of popcorn!
The transformation of Indian corn into meal, and again into bread.
Edible art.

(I headed outside)

 Raspberries!  Giant ones, too, glowing in the sun.
He could have made us to live on mere grass, you know.
Berries are pure gift.

And speaking of grass - have you ever seen anything
as the green, green grass of summer?
Emeralds don't even come close.

This purple-mauve gem of a weed is called Pennsylvania smartweed.
Like the indiscriminate rain,
flowers spring from the earth for the just and the unjust alike,
free for the looking.

Humble tansy, holding its world of yellow blossoms,
and the humble ant in his gleaming everyday suit.

The sepals on this flamboyant pokeweed!
Almost plastic perfection.
Did you ever see such fuchsia?!

 Who would ever suspect this powdery unassuming plant of a powerful fragrance
used to calm everything from digestion to anxiety?

Asiatic dayflower.
Just a delicate, frilly little weed.

Even in fall - season of death and decay - beauty is tucked away . . .

 Dogwood fruits amongst dying leaves, beside next year's blossoms-to-be.

Fallen leaf, caught in the sunlit angles of decaying poplar wood.

Lil' Spice's loud cries brought me running, sure he was hurt.
He held out his best, favorite leaf:
"It broke!!"

Between two sheets of wax paper,
we mended it.

Translucent fish scales, like delicate miniature seashells!
(Even fish scales are touched with beauty!)

Every seed pod, unique to its species.
Does He never run out of ideas?!
To tuck hard, dry, withered little kernels of life
inside fibrously whiskered cavities 

where just weeks ago
tissue-thin petals of palest pink had been?

Intricate network of veins on a poplar leaf - a study in fractal art.

Crabapple among clover.

 Leaf lace

Dried echinacea "pincushion"

 Star Magnolia flowerbuds
forming spring's lavish creamy blossoms
like a caterpillar in chrysallis
unfolding into

Chrysanthemum bud, blushing into blooms
to brighten autumn.

And God's greatest handiwork of all
is us,
of course.

No flower
or common creature
could have a sense of humor
a boy!

May God bless you
with opened eyes
to see
what He lays


before you!

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