Guest Post – My Mom {Terri Puett}

Happy Mother’s Day!

Today I am very excited to share my mom with you. She encouraged in me a love of reading and words, and she is solely responsible for my latest creative endeavor: knitting. To add to the things we have in common, yesterday she graduated with her (second) Bachelor’s Degree from the same college I graduated from two years ago!

I am proud to call her mom!

Recently, in my theology class we were discussing God as creator. A statement was made that struck me. It was said “God created us because He wanted to – that it brought Him pleasure; and he continues to delight in creating us.” It made me think of knitting (I do that a lot).

I am currently making at least my ninth full-size blanket, my 10th sweater, and probably my 20th shawl. I have made more scarves and baby blankets than I can count. Do I do this because I need these things?

Not at all!

I could purchase them for much less money and effort (and really – how many shawls does anybody need?). No, I do this because I delight in watching the project form and grow. As each one is in progress, I look forward to completion and hope it will be as I originally imagined it.

Sometimes I find that it disappoints my expectations, while others it exceeds them; it’s not always easy to discern how it will turn out while it is still being formed – the big reveal is at the end.

I love to find a yarn that has qualities that intrigue me, combine it with an interesting pattern, and start a new project. I will inspect it and make adjustments as I go. At times I spot mistakes, have to rip a section back and do it again; or I realize that I need to add a new component to make it turn out just right.

At this point I would not blame you for wondering what this has to do with God, or maybe you can interpret my point already. In class, I suddenly had this picture of God “knitting us together in the womb.” I realized how much He must derive pleasure in assembling our gifts, personalities, appearance, and calling. He starts with the raw materials and slowly works in our lives to complete the pattern He had chosen for us. Just as I begin each project excited about the potential for beauty and usefulness – He must anticipate the possibilities of our lives.

He knows better than to judge us while we are still a work in progress; He is looking toward the end product and understands it takes patience to get us there. He will build us up in His kingdom “stitch by stitch” – knowing each small step builds on the last one. Sometimes areas need to be backed out and reworked as we veer off from the pattern. I know there are times we feel we have been taken out completely to start again.

It is a pain-staking process.

When knitting gets a hole in it, it can be salvaged by darning it. The hole is filled in by weaving a new piece of yarn back and forth to reinforce it – often it will end up sturdier than the original piece. How often does God fill in the damaged areas of our lives and create a stronger whole?

Again, I understand this analogy may be difficult for a non-knitter to relate to, but for me it was a revelation. When I create something with my own two hands (out of what was basically a ball of string), I love that item in a way I would never feel about something that came easily to me. I planned it, invested time and money into it, and brought it to fruition. I delight in the unique aspect of it – nobody else has this exact thing. It is mine alone.

God creates us because He delights in us – we are uniquely His – He pours Himself into us. I believe He treasures our variety (even though like knitting we are all composed of the same basic substance). He guides us, molds us, and loves us. Even if we are not following the exact plan, He can see that we are moving toward the desired end product – Christ expressed through us.

I find it interesting that the last thing a knitter does with a project is block it. You dunk it in water until it is pliable, then lay it out. It needs to be stretched to its correct shape and left to dry. It is only with blocking that the true beauty of a hand-knit shines through.

Lesson for us – let go of your preconceived notion of who you are, relax into God’s hands, and let Him shape you. Finally – rest in that new role and allow it to become permanent. The more complex the pattern the “harder” the blocking needs to be; just as God will stretch us further as we walk closer to Him.

Generally, when I think of God as Creator I see that as a big picture – earth, heavens, animals, man; but now I see Him as the Creator of individuals – personal and intimate – taking pride in us as wonderfully “hand-crafted”. I like that.

Psalm 139:13-14

For you created my inmost being;

you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful,

I know that full well.

Terri is the happy wife of Bob, and proud mother of Melissa, Janelle, and Darren. She has eight incredible grandchildren (and is very excited that four of them are moving back to WA!) She graduated (yesterday!) from Life Pacific Bible College with a degree in Ministry and Leadership, and works full-time as a Dental Hygienist in Public Health. All other time is actively consumed with Knitting (capital K) and related activities (it may be a bit of an obsession).

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Unraveling

I’ve turned into my mother.

No. Seriously. I have.

She is never without her knitting. Except when she’s at church, because God convicted her about knitting in church. Not because she wasn’t paying attention — it actually helps her to pay better attention — but because she was worried about being a distraction for others.

So, she’s only without her knitting at church…and at Curves, because it’s hard to knit and exercise.

So, only at church and at Curves is she without her knitting. But that’s it. Everywhere else…knitting.

I’m not that bad. My knitting is confined to the home, probably because my hands are busy keeping my four children from dying when we’re out in public.

Originally, my idea of knitting was baby blankets. It’s easy to knit a big square. Squares get boring after a while. So I gave up knitting.

Ashleigh inspired me to take it up again with her cute giraffe. I made a monkey for Ezra and an elephant for Cora. Eli’s lion is not doing so well; I have a problem with finishing. I like beginning a new project. As I see it take shape I get really excited. It’s just those last few steps that bring it all together that annoy me.

His lion is in pieces, waiting for me to re-member it {is that the opposite of dismember?}

Tonight I finished a tunic for Cora, inspired by Stephanie.

I. Love. It!!

I was able to get rid of a bunch of scrap yarn, and I added some cute little flowers — to make up for it not being pink. Cora really likes pink.

::

By now you’re probably wondering how much more I’m going to talk about knitting. I’m done.

Now I’m going to talk about finishing.

Our family is at the close of one season, and the cusp of another. I want to leave everything unfinished; move on to the next project. It takes time to bind off the edges, weave in the ends and piece it all together {oops, sorry, a little more knitting}.

If everything isn’t taken care of with attention and care, it will all unravel.

Then you’re just left with a pile of yarn, and all your previous hard work is for naught.

But now finish doing it also, so that just as there was the readiness to desire it, so there may also be the completion of it by your ability. {2 Corinthians 8:11}

Do you have a hard time finishing what you start?

In honor of Mother’s Day this Sunday {don’t forget!!}, how are you like your mother?

Quiet Creativity

I say that I want to come to the page with gravity and respect, but then my words feel heavy and fall flat. There’s expectation {from myself} that whatever I say must be profound and inspiring. The weight of the pressure I’ve placed on myself stalls my fingers; I’ve placed a dam at my heart’s door and nothing is able to move pass the blockage.

So the creativity comes out in other ways.

Leprechaun traps for a kindergarten class

Baby Monkeys and Pink Elephants.

Practicing names with sidewalk chalk.

Books, with writing that makes me despair of ever writing again. The beauty of the words, the ease, the realization that my heart speaks poetry that always comes out prose.

Dream-filled dinners with a husband; a break from the kids and a chance to talk uninterrupted.

I want to write, to share, to unburden my heart. Yet even in my private spaces it is all too intertwined, and I cannot break up the ground to release the flow of words that will bring me relief.

God whispers to me that it is not a coincidence, my sense of pregnant waiting and loss of words. It is a mirror of where I was last year and the day that is quickly approaching. My spirit is grieving beyond my knowledge.

My brain feels foggy and lost. I sense Him in the background, working within. But for now I continue to wait on Him and His purposes.

I sit quiet, and find release in other ways.

What outlets do you have for your creativity?

How do you decompress and unwind?

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My Mom

My mom reads my blog every day…in fact, I frequently write posts wondering how she’ll react or what she’ll think. Not once has she commented, and I doubt she ever will. Her comments come at 5:30 PM as she’s driving home from work. That’s when she’s bored and she calls me to check in.

This weekend is Mother’s Day and today is the one month anniversary of my grandma’s death; my mom’s mom.

When I realized that my grandma was dying, I started thinking about the things that made her valuable to me. What would I miss? What was important for my children to know about this woman they would most likely not remember? It also made me realize just how valuable my own mom is. I began to recognize the things that I now take for granted; the things I would miss if it were her and not my grandma.

Did I mention she knits?

There’s the daily phone calls to check in,

the songs she sings on my voicemail for special occasions (or sometimes just to annoy me),

the constant, non-stop, incessant knitting (did I mention it’s never-ending),

and just how willing she always is to listen, help or support me in whatever I’m dealing with.

This week, because of Mother’s Day, I talked about my children and some of the things I’m experiencing as a mom.

Today, I want to recognize the woman who put up with my tantrums, kissed my owies and worked hard to make sure I grew up right.

::

My mom was really young when she had me. I was born a month after her 20th birthday and by the time she was 24 she had three children. I can’t even imagine what that must have been like! I didn’t have my first until I was 24-years-old and one was hard enough.

Growing up I remember her sitting for hours in our living room, creating mix tapes from records for the jazzercise classes she taught. I also remember how proud I was when she taught the Kindergym class at my school – hopping and flying to “Bullfrogs and Butterflies.”

There were times in elementary school when she would stop by my classroom, dressed so fancy for her job as a fragrance model, and the other kids would ask, amazed, “Is that your mom? She’s so pretty!”

As a little girl I would watch her hands as she drove. Her fingers looked so long and skinny. To this day I catch myself looking at my own fingers on the steering wheel, comparing them to hers.

Throughout my childhood my mom had long, thick hair and I always wanted to braid, brush and fix it…which she hated. There were a few occasions where she allowed me to play with it, and I’m sure it took all of her patience to keep from snatching the brush from my hands.

::

My mom has always stood up for what’s fair and has instilled that value in me. If I feel that myself or someone close to me is getting unreasonable treatment, I have never hesitated to address the situation. Of course, when I was young I used this on trivial issues…but as I’ve matured I’ve come to see the benefit to myself and others of knowing when an issue needs to be dealt with.

My mom gave me a love for literature. When I was young, she read the Little House series and Beverly Cleary books to my brother, sister and I before we went to sleep. As I grew she introduced me to Anne of Green Gables and Rebecca of Stoneybrook Farm. I will never forget sitting and watching the A&E Pride and Prejudice mini-series with her…eagerly anticipating the latest installment each week as I was introduced to Jane Austen. Part of the reason I want to write is because of this love for words that I know she helped to foster.

Each holiday when I was young my mom would make pies: apple, cherry, pumpkin, banana cream. I never had a store-bought crust and to this day I’m definitely a pie snob. When I moved to college, I decided to take on this legacy from her. I volunteered to make the pies for the Thanksgiving meal. I must have called her at least 10 times in the course of making that first pie, but I wanted to get it just right because I had a standard to uphold.

::

These are just a few of the many things that I love and appreciate about my mom. Luckily I’m able to share them with her now and thank her for the sacrifices she made, the knowledge she gave and the love she provides. I now see that, in itself, is a blessing and I need to not take it for granted.

Happy Mother

I love you, Mom!

I wish I was there to celebrate it with you,

but I’ll be up there in a little while with another grandson for you!

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