The new year has begun, and I already have a list of things I want to accomplish this year.

  • Knit more - After my initial potholder and 'dishcloth angel', I started working on something without a pattern- it began as a scarf, and then I messed up and decided to turn it into a bag/purse (still without a pattern) and I just finished it last night. I'm only moderately happy with it, so I'm going back to practicing with patterns before I try to make my own thing up again. I started on gloves today and am about 1/2 done with the pair. On my wish list: circular or double pointed needles. I have plenty of yarn, thanks to my dear husband and Christmas, but there are lots of round things I'd like to try to knit that I can't do with the one-pointed needles I have.

  • Read my Christmas books before next Christmas - Last year, the only book I got for Christmas, I didn't pick up till the fall. I've started in on one of my two books I got this year - The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne and a Generous Orthodoxy by Brian McLaren. These are books that were first brought to my attention when they were quoted in various services at church, but moreso as I've learned more about the emerging church movement. We go to a fabulous service at Grace Community Church called Sojourn every week and love it. It is considered an emergent-style service, though isn't necessarily advertised as such. It is theologically sound, and the worship is creative and contemplative and like no other service I've been to. The catch: many well-meaning Christians (including a prominent Christian woman's blog, which I'd LOVE to participate in the Carnval of Beauty, but I can't in good faith right now, due only to #4) learn a little about the emerging church movement, as defined one way or another, and vilify the whole thing. I have limited experience with the worship style: what I've seen in Sojourn and what I've read on blogs. By reading these books, especially McLaren's (who is often pointed to as the father of the movement), I'll get an idea of the theory and ideas behind this thing, decide for myself whether I agree or not, and be able to form a well-informed defense of the movement.

  • Make good use of the recent gifts of cookbooks - Josh and I have talked about cooking more and eating out less, to save money and be healthier. Over the course of the last half-year, I've printed out lots of recipes and my recipe box has turned into a mess of folded 8.5x11 sheets of paper. A project this weekend is copying those recipes onto easier-to-organize index cards. While copying the recipes, I was reminded of some I want to try again, and some I haven't tried yet but want to! And there's an 1,132-page Joy of Cooking book here just waiting for me to experiment on. As I mentioned earlier, I've been interested in growing a little bit on my own food/spices, and canning food. I'm primarily interested to do this for the health benefits of avoiding the pesticides, preservatives, and sugars in processed foods and being able to eat it fresh, and the economic benefit of not buying the food/spice, but instead having it in my own garden. The catch: I have no yard, just two apartment balconies. I need to find something to grow that doesn't need much sun, or I need to find a sunny spot.

  • Get back into yoga or bike-riding or some kind of exercise - I really liked the yoga thing, but it was taking a huge chunk out of my work day that was becoming inconvenient and imprudent. Bike-riding, on the other hand, could become a regular occurrence in warmer weather, riding to and from work. Not only will I feel like I'm doing something good for my body, I feel like I'm doing something good for the earth, and I like that even more.

I realized while finishing this that these look very much like resolutions. I'm not into resolutions; I think this is more of a list of projects or hobbies I'm kind of in the middle of and want to continue for the next year. We'll see what happens.


Ashley said...

That's interesting that you brought up the emergent church. That's a topic I would like to address on my blog in the future, after I do a lot more research. Paul has gone to several churches in that style (whereas I have not) and he is skeptical about the movement... Mostly with the idea of "dark light" and pushing the "mystic" side of God. I would like to do more research... But I have a few other post topics up my sleeve before I tackle this one. :-)

Ashley said...

Oh I meant to also say that my friend Beth has done some of her own herb growing; I'll have to ask her if she has any ideas about apartments. I think that is really neat; you'll have to tell me how hard it is. I'm with you - I like the idea of avoiding pesticides and unhealthy junk in our foods. Of course, that doesn't mean I don't LIKE all that unhealthy stuff... :-p

mrs.burke said...

Potted herbs: Can be easy or hard, depending on the herb. But a lot of them are very easy once you get the general knack of growing anything in a pot or from seed.

How many hours of direct sunlight does your balcony have? That will be the main obstacle or blessing. I have several herbs growing outside in the ground that you can have starts of if you want (once it thaws..)

Making your own knitted items: Helps if you know how to notice and fix mistakes before they get out of hand.. did they cover that stuff in your class? I have Vogue Knitting (covers just about every technique and stitch you can think of, with pictures- it's where I go to be reminded how to do grafting, three needle bind off, and other things I only do once in a while) and some other knitting books you can look at or borrow if you want. I don't know what the Carmel library has, but even the Noblesville library has a lot of knitting books and videos.

Emergent church: I'm neither an expert on it nor an apologist for it, but I have the general impression that it's a good thing. (Perhaps from reading Christdot.) I wasn't even aware that some people villify it, but I guess that happens to any "contemporary" movement in the church.

Joanna said...

Ashley: I'm going to address the emerging church movement here too. I'll probably start with describing the Sojourn service I go to, then reviewing these books as I finish them. I look forward to seeing what your research finds. I encourage you to visit a service in your area, too, before passing judgment (Or better yet, come visit me & go to a service with me! I've already brought Matt & Kristen along a couple times.)

Mrs. Burke: We'll see what comes of this interest in planting things on my balcony. I want to grow things I'll use, and there's not a long list of vegetables that would get eaten in sufficient quantities to justify growing them. Green beans and tomatoes are two possibilities, but I know tomatoes may be unwieldy for a small space, and I don't know how green beans do in pots. Herbs seemed like something good to try first. The first step is to figure out how much sun we get, you're right.

We didn't learn how to fix mistakes in the knitting class, but I've kinda figured it out... the noticing mistakes part is what I'm not as good at, until I'm a row or two away. I haven't checked the library, I've mainly been finding patterns online via some links my boss sent me- he knits too!

I, too, have the general impression the emerging movement is a good thing, but there's a good-sized group out there very critical of the movement. Some examples include Chuck Colson's article in Christianity Today, my coworker's blog post, and a whole blog devoted to discrediting the movement. These are just few of many examples- I want to figure out why this is attracting so much attack.

wiredparish.com said...

Just so you'll know, you can get a weekly podcast from Brian McLaren on WiredParish.com


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