Posted tagged ‘Hobbies’

Have You Got the Time?

March 4, 2014

Since I’ve stopped working, I’ve sometimes felt like I have time on my hands.  I’m not sure that I’ve been using it as wisely as I could be, but one of the reasons why I felt like it was time to come home for good was that I was getting glimpses of inspiration while I was at work and by the time I got home, it would be gone.  I had no energy to pursue creativity.

I resigned in November, and then the holidays came, so I didn’t feel like I could really find a new normal until late January or February.  I’m falling into something of a normal pattern now.  It involves some outside activities like my Ladies’ study one morning a week, a piano lesson for a new homeschooler, and my weekly shopping.  I also usually visit my Mom and younger brothers at least once a week.  And then I have a bunch of projects going at home.

Beside the furniture and painting plans we’ve been making and the various household items that I’ve been working on picking up during my shopping excursions, I’m also working on a few craft projects.  I think I posted once about all my hobbies/crafts.  Right now, I have two crochet projects, three painting projects, and one cross stitch project all going at once, plus two or three other painting projects and a crochet project or two in the wings/early planning stages.

And now that I’m at home, when inspiration strikes, I pick up my guitar and work on a song.  I’m just beginning to see the fruit of the decision Sir K and I made last fall that I needed to come home.  I have the time and the freedom to write the melody that is singing inside of me.  And that wants to be shared.  I have the time and energy to practice my playing and singing, to become better able to share all God’s songs with people.

These days I sometimes feel like I have time on my hands, but I can usually find something constructive to fill it.  And I finally have time to focus on the things that God has called me to do.  One is to create a welcoming home for my husband, future children, and friends.  Another is to share the music He has put in my heart.  I am a vessel through which He wants to sing the songs of His heart, and I just pray that I can keep getting out of His way.  My songs may only ever touch my small circle, my church family, but God knows and will send me the songs He wants them to hear.  If he wants a song heard by the nation, he sends it to someone on the national scene.

Do you have time in your schedule for the things God is doing in and through you?  So many people these days, especially women, are so busy at work that they have little time for the basics at home, let alone hobbies.  Between work and their social life they are emotionally drained, leaving less and less for family and self.  Or their work and family take up all their time and they have little left for socializing or for God. I’m not trying to say that everyone should give up working, but that you should give some serious thought to this question.

What is your calling, and are you spending time on it?


So Talented?

June 29, 2010

After hearing about some of my hobbies, some of you might be thinking that I’m “so talented.”  I’ve heard that line before, from people who didn’t even know about all of the different things I do.  My reaction to that is, “I don’t have the corner on creativity.  Whether you choose to do all the crafts, etc., that I do or whether you do other things, you can use the creativity and skills that God has given you to make beautiful things.”  Besides, there are a lot of things that I have tried, and a lot more that I haven’t, at which I’m not talented at all.

For instance, I’ve dabbled in sculpture, beading, and floral arranging.  I liked some of them, but I never pursued them very far.  My sister sculpts, and she does paper twirling (also called quilling).  3G and my dad both like to carve scale models of airplanes.  My mother likes to design quilts (and yes, she’s good at making them too!).  Other people are good at baking, cooking, gardening, leather-work, building, fixing, tinkering, acting, or debating, among many other things.   Some people make a hobby of knowing everything there is to know about a particular subject, like World War 1, or architecture. 

I call to mind the parable Jesus told of the man who left his three servants and went on a trip.  He gave one servant five shares of his goods, a second servant he gave two, and to the third he gave one.  The master knew his servants well, so he gave them shares according to their abilities.  When he returned, the master called all the servants together to give an accounting.  You’ll remember how the story goes, the servants with five and two shares had each doubled their shares, but the servant who had been given only one share had done nothing with his.

The emphasis in the story is not on how much each was given, but what he did with it.  You may have only one talent, one thing that you are good at, but you can still use it to the best of your ability, you can still glorify God in the pursuit of that hobby or talent.  Maybe you have to think long and hard to come up with your talent, maybe you can dash off a list off the top of your head; the point is not the talent you have, but what you do with them.  Are you using your talents for your own benefit or pleasure?  For your own praise?  Or are you using them to help others and glorify God?

Maybe you are great at organizing things.  Perhaps you are good at seeing the big picture when others get caught up in the details.  Or maybe you are good with pets, children, or the elderly.  There are a host of different talents that each one of us has, many that we don’t necessarily recognize as such, but all of which we can be using to point others to God.

Now I’ll ask you, what’s your talent or hobby?  How are you putting that to good use in God’s kingdom?

Write Me A Story

May 31, 2010

Continuing with my series on my hobbies, I’ve now come to one of my favorite pastimes: writing.  As I think I’ve already mentioned, I did not like writing especially well during elementary, but I did learn some good habits which have paid off in college writing.  Those same habits also come in handy when I write fiction.

I’ve told you that my sister likes to write (sometimes she even likes to write with me).  She and I sometimes shake our heads and laugh because around the same time that she started writing stories and some short pieces (only a couple of years ago), I also got the urge and started writing short stories of my own.

I started with an adaptation of the story of Ruth (which, by the way, needs some revisions – something else on my long-range to-do list), and then my imagination started branching out and coming up with all kinds of interesting plots.  I laugh at some of my earlier stories because several of them have very similar plots or settings.  Still, I have written a couple of things that I never would have imagined myself writing.

For instance, after all the trouble I had in school with writing stories, who would have thought that I would write a story nearly 50,000 words long?  I was never into science fiction either, but I’ve also written a short story about a planet in another galaxy where I made up everything from the names in the specific planetary system to the modes of travel (some of which sound high-tech, and some of which sound almost mystical).  Not exactly sci-fi, but closer to it than I would ever have guessed that I would write!  What’s more, I may have left enough loose ends for a sequel.

In addition to my stories, I write a little poetry.  You’ve seen some of it on the blog already, such as it is.  I sometimes write a poem as a gift for someone, sometimes to express my feelings on a tough topic, and sometimes because my thoughts don’t come in complete sentences.  On a few occasions, I have tried putting my poems to music; other times I’ll just write lyrics that aren’t necessarily poetry, but that’s a story for another post.

I’d have to say that writing is definitely a hobby of mine.  I will sometimes even write out my thoughts on a topic in order to get my thoughts organized.  Someone will ask a question on which I don’t have a well thought out answer, and I’ll go digging for answers and end up writing an essay! 

I have several pages of unused story ideas that I would like to write about.  That’s in contrast to my sister, who wants to be published; she has pages on pages of ideas, cool phrases, intriguing names, and eye-catching titles.  I try to make my fiction interesting and well written, but unlike my sister, I don’t often spend a lot of time ironing out details and editing my stories.  Most of my stories are for self-expression, and I write for the fun of it.  Not that taking a story to it’s best isn’t fun, but it does take a bit more time than I always have to spend on a hobby. 

The exception might be my novel, for which I wrote up plot notes that ran to over a dozen single-spaced, typed pages when printed out.  That’s besides all the background notes I had on each character and some of the curious elements in that story.  I didn’t want to forget anything and leave it out!  Besides, someday I would also like to write the sequel to this one as well . . .


From My Sketchbook

May 17, 2010

I can’t recall a time when I didn’t liked to draw.  I’ve come a long way since crayons and markers, of course, though I can still wield those with some pretty good results.  My early drawings tended to look a lot alike.  A tree or two with a bunch of flowers underneath, all very simplistic.  I remember watching other kids draw and picking up ideas for how to make my own artwork better.

When I was small, I would sit during the sermon on Sunday mornings and draw pictures on small pads of paper.  After the service was over, I would go give the best drawings to my best friends (since they were mostly among my mother’s generation or older, they had refrigerators to put the pictures on, and they did too).  That ended when I was about nine; Mom asked me to start paying more attention to the sermon itself, which I did, following along with the outline that Pastor W. put in the bulletin.  I remember some of the last drawings I did, and they were showing some promise.

In fifth grade Mom used Mark Kistler’s book Draw Squad for an art textbook.  3G and I did the book together, working hard to make our drawings better (yes, there was a tinge of sibling rivalry, but I forgot about it pretty quickly).  I was excited to be able to make boxes that looked like boxes and cakes that looked good enough for a wedding, and I finally figured out how to make things look 3-D, through foreshortening and shading.  My drawing improved dramatically, even when I was drawing from nature.

In highschool, I worked through a book on sketching and drawing which taught me an easier way to capture the essence of my subjects without the fuss and erasing which had characterized my earlier technique.  I went from being very particular about where each line went to a sketchy style which captured the spirit if not the exact reality that I saw before me.  For the most part, I prefer this style, though I still revert to the old techniques for some subjects.

My drawing skills come in handy now when I want to sketch out something which I am going to crochet, or to layout a painting project.  I’m not very good at drawing people, but I can do a credible landscape or sketch from a still life.  Sometimes I even try to draw a scene from one of my stories, but that’s another post.  I don’t pull out my sketchbook as often now as I once did, and my younger brothers are currently borrowing my set of drawing pencils, but I still like to draw when I get a picture in my fingers that begs to come out on paper.  Sometimes the result even looks like what I saw in my head!

Let Me Tell You a Yarn

May 5, 2010

Yes, I mean yarn.  It’s actually an old term for tale or story, and I chose to use it because I thought some of you might like to hear the stories behind the different hobbies I have.  My last post talked about the piano, and now I’ll talk about crochet, knitting, and tatting.

When my family first started homeschooling, my mother formed an informal support group with two other ladies, each of whom had a daughter close to my age.  We girls grew to be good friends.  I loved visiting the other girls’ houses, especially the Princess’s house.  The Princess was and still is an only child, and she could tend to be a little bossy at times, but since she made up better stories than I could, I let her.  She was a year older than me and a grade ahead of me, and she often showed me things she was learning.  For instance, she learned to read Braille, even though she was not blind (I think they either had a relative or a friend who was).  Then one day, she showed me something she was making.

I don’t know if it was for art, or even if it they were counting it as school, but the Princess was learning to knit.  At the time, I couldn’t follow what she was doing, so I wasn’t all that interested, but I stored the information away in my brain.

A few years later, I was visiting another friend, whom I’ll call the Mathematician.  She told me about a recent visit from her grandmother, and how her grandmother had wanted to teach her how to tat.  I didn’t have the foggiest idea what tatting was, but again, I stored the information away.  From my friend’s story, tatting was something pretty girly, and I sometimes didn’t like girly things.

Fast forward several years.  I had to do practical arts in 7th and 8th grade, and Mom wanted me to do some baking, cooking, and gardening, but she asked me if there was anything else I wanted to learn.  I remembered seeing the Princess’s knitting.  I asked if I could learn to knit.

My mother suggested that crochet might be easier and more fun, and that she had an aunt who crocheted, so I would be able to ask her questions should I need to.  I didn’t have any reasons why not, so I agreed.  Mom found a teach-yourself-crochet book (Susan Bates) and got me some variegated yarn to use.

During the first few weeks, Grandma came for a visit (this is prior to my grandparents moving into their apartment on my house), and we told her what I was learning.  Grandma told me that her mother was always disappointed that neither Grandma nor her sister ever learned to crochet, something Great Grandma did very well.  Grandma was very pleased that I was now learning the skill.  Later on, Grandma passed down two sweaters, crochet-work of her mother’s.

I quickly mastered the basics and moved on to making things.  One of my first projects was to make two stuffed animals; a turtle and a giraffe.  I used the patterns in my book, and the turtle was pretty simple.  The giraffe, on the other hand, was a learning experience because I wanted it to have spots.  I used two colors and quickly decided that switching between colors was not for the faint-hearted.  I have learned better ways to do it since, mostly in response to that first attempt.

Today, I love to crochet.  I have made a variety of things, from dish cloths and pot-holders to a baby afghan to book marks to refrigerator magnets.  Sometimes I use a pattern, sometimes I make things up as I go along.  Sometimes I use a drawing and lay my work on it to give me an idea of what to do next.  When I make doll clothes, I often use the doll itself to help me figure out a pattern.  Sometimes I use yarn; for my magnets I use embroidery thread or bedspread weight cotton.

After I had gotten pretty good at crochet, I decided to take a whirl with knitting.  I got Susan Bates’s knitting book and started working in knit and purl.  Knitting never came as naturally to me as crochet does, but I learned the basics and can pick it up when I need to.  Some projects are better done in knit than in crochet, but for the most part, knitting is more limited than crochet.

Later still, I was shopping in a craft store and found a book on tatting.  Remembering my conversation with my friend the Mathematician, I picked up the book and investigated.  Tatting looked interesting, so I bought the book and the materials.  At first, tatting gave me trouble.  I couldn’t keep track of what was going on because my thread was so thin and the stitches so small.  I set tatting aside for a while.  Last fall I came back to it, and this time I made sense of the stitches.  I used a slightly bigger thread and tatted some lace edging for a handkerchief (which my grandmother displays rather than hiding in her pocket!).

Maybe you’ve thought of learning one of these skills.  Maybe you think you don’t have the time or patience.  Maybe you do.  Crochet especially can be learned quickly, and you can make some pretty useful articles even with the easiest stitches.

At least you can store this yarn away and pull it out someday when you are given an opportunity to learn something new!

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Homeschooling: The Good, The Bad, and The Next Generation

April 24, 2010

My mother asked my siblings and me some questions recently about our homeschooling experience.  She wanted to know whether we had enjoyed homeschooling, and what were our favorite and least favorite parts of it.  And she wanted to know whether we would homeschool our own children.

I loved my homeschooling experience, as you can guess if you’ve been following the blog or have read the archives.  I had lots of freedom within the system.  For instance, my mother would give us a sheet each week listing all the assignments we had to do for the week in each subject.  From there, I could pretty much choose which assignments I wanted to do each day, so long as I got it all done in the week’s time.

What did I enjoy most about homeschooling?  Well, that might be a tough call between having lots of free time after schoolwork was done and spending so much time with my mother and siblings.  In my free time, I’ve pursued many hobbies, such as sketching, crochet, guitar, writing stories, and painting.  Some of these and my other hobbies I first learned as part of school, whether for art, practical arts, or music, but I took them further even after I’d finished the assignments.

I also got to spend a lot of time with my family.  As you may have guessed (or did I already tell you), we’re a tightly knit bunch.  My sister and I loved to play together, acting out stories with our dolls and stuffed animal.  I played many different games with 3G, some indoors, some outdoors.  I like to spend time with the twins, especially now that I’m giving them singing lessons.  I spent many a happy hour talking with my mother as we prepared meals, worked in the garden, or shopped for craft supplies (or many other things).  In the evenings, my father would read aloud to us, usually a history or literature book Mom chose that complemented our studies in those areas.  Later, Dad taught me to play guitar, and we currently do some volunteering together once a month.

What was my least favorite part of homeschooling?  That’s a tougher one that the favorite part.  I don’t think I came up with anything when she asked the question, and I still cannot think of anything now.  There were parts of homeschooling that I didn’t enjoy, but they were parts that would have been the same in public or private school too.

The last question was about whether or not we would homeschool our children someday.  I cannot say with 100% certainty that I will, but it will take some convincing from the Lord to show me that he wants me to send my children to school.  I cannot fathom putting my children on a bus and letting a school educate them.  I believe that I’ll be better qualified to teach my own children than any teacher, merely because I’ll know my children better than any set of teachers could ever know them.  For this reason if for no other, I would homeschool my children.

The fact is, though, that I have plenty of reasons to want to homeschool.  Chief among them is the desire to train up my children in the way they should go.  The public school system no longer acknowledges God.  Trying to counter the teachings of public school in what little time I would have my children with me would be tough.

Private schools may not undermine the foundation which I am trying to build for my children, but they still have other issues, such as too much peer influence, too many authority figures, and too little time spent with family and mature adults.  In addition, private schools tend to be fairly expensive; I know homeschooling can be done for considerably less.

Will I homeschool in precisely the same way that my mother did?  Probably not.  For one thing, I’m not the same kind of person nor the same kind of teacher that my mother is.  My strong subjects are quite different, and my methodology is different.  I would be able to use different types of curriculum sometimes than what she used.  For another thing, I will not have the same kids she taught.  Homeschooling is best when tailored to the child, so I will choose methods and materials for each subject that are best suited for each child.

The children of the homeschooling pioneers are just reaching an age where their children are old enough to start homeschooling.  I think it will be interesting to note the way homeschooling changes as more and more second generation homeschools begin to influence the way homeschooling is carried out and the way it is viewed.

I can’t wait to be a part of that!

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