Friday, November 10, 2017

Merry Christmas Flutter

The pattern for the butterfly is here and colour coded. I don't usually colour code diagrams as they end up being uniform black and white when they are printed. The butterfly is done in 3 sections, body, left wing, right wing. In size 20 thread wind 2 shuttles CTM with about 1.5 yards on each shuttle of the colour being used for the body.. The first and last ring are normal rings and the others are split rings. I used a scrap piece of card about a half inch wide to measure the picots for the antennae to make sure they were the same length and tied a knot in the tip of each picot. After struggling with the first one, I used a  piece of thread through the tip of the antenna to give me something to hold onto while I tied the knot, then pulled it out when the knot was done.

For the wings I wound about 1.5 yards of the solid colour on one shuttle and about 1.5 yards of the variegated colour on the second shuttle. I hate trying to match up the colour distribution in variegated threads when I'm part way through a project so I tend to use more thread than I think I'll need so that I don't have to play match up. On the other hand I don't like to waste thread. It's a constant battle. "use more!/don't waste it!" I also don't use precise measurements. I generally pull off  an arm's length of thread and then add a bit more if I think I need it.

The wings begin at the bottom and when using 2 colours, start the first ring with one colour and hide the ends of the second colour as you tat it. RW and tat the short chain with the second colour and begin the first large ring with the second colour, doing the split part with the first colour. The next ring is also a split ring split on the side. The third large ring is a normal ring done with the second colour. The last large ring begins with the second colour and the first colour is used on the split side.

There's a short chain followed by one inward ring in the second colour and one outward facing ring done in the first colour. When you reach the bottom of the wing again, switch shuttles and tat with the second colour. The next two inward facing rings are done in the first colour and the outward facing ring is done in the second colour, which is also used to finish off the wing.

The second wing is done the same as the first wing, except that if you choose to do front side/back side tatting, you'll need to switch stitch order. Personally, I think life is too short to play around with fs/bs but do it the way you want.

Anyway, here's the pattern. Let me know if there's anything missing on it and just to make it easier to refer to both picture and pattern, I've added in the green and yellow butterfly again.

Edited: Green just didn't do it for me. I just had to tat it in red. So now the butterfly is in red and white.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

One more flutter

I started modifying the pattern for the butterfly so that I could post it and it occurred to me that without some clear direction on when to switch shuttles, other folks might have difficulty with this one. I decided to tat another one in 2 solid colours so that you can clearly see which shuttle needs to be use. Turns out it's not half bad done in solid colours. I was using up bits of thread off these 2 balls and had to add in both the yellow and the green on this one. I used my standard method for adding in thread and it's really hard to see where the joins occurred.

The pattern still requires hiding 6 thread ends, 2 for the body and 2 for each wing, which isn't bad when you consider it's done in 2 colours of thread. I'm thinking that if I tried really hard I might be able to figure a way of tatting it in one pass, but the mental gymnastics to do it might not be worth the effort in the end.

When I finally get this pattern done I may have to use 2 colours to make it readable, but that's a job for another day.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

No snowflakes, just butterflies

For years I have been tatting snowflakes to send out with our Christmas cards to special people. You tat. You know that not everyone deserves the time and effort that goes into making a piece of tatted lace. So not everyone gets a snowflake. I do a few extras to give away to visitors during the holidays and as we all know, tatting is a great stress reliever so it accomplishes both keeping things calm and collected as well as providing little gifts. However, as the family ages there are more and more households without children and the need for the sparkle of Christmas trees. That means that I'm sending out snowflakes that don't ever get used.

As I considered this situation last year I thought that it might be preferable to send out butterflies that could be used all year long. For people who have Christmas trees they can still hang the butterflies. For those that don't, the butterfly can be displayed elsewhere or used on clothing or stored wherever they've been keeping the rest of them, which is hopefully not file 13 aka the circular file.

I have a butterfly pattern which can be done in one pass, but I don't really like the look of it. See what I mean?

I took the basic design and replaced the body section.You can see that I was playing around with how the wings fitted onto the body. That meant that the body, which is done with split rings needed to be done with 2 shuttles wound CTM

After working in size 20 thread I did it again in some size 80 using a solid thread colour for the body and the small rings that attach to it with a complimentary variegated thread for the rest of the wings. For the body I loaded enough solid coloured thread for the body and one wing. After tatting the body, I started the first ring of the wing and added in the variegated thread working from a section where the colours matched. (I used my method of adding thread which you can find in the sidebar to the right.) It didn't turn out to bad, but I didn't like the antennae.

When I tatted it again in the size 20 Lizbeth thread I made the antennae longer and tied a knot in the tip. I wasn't really paying attention to the placement of the variegated colour except on the starting ring to minimize the amount of contrast between the first ring and chain of the wing especially since the split rings were probably going to show a marked contrast anyway. Then again, these were butterfly wings and I wanted a lot of variation.

On some of the later butterflies I made more of an attempt at matching the wings, but sometimes, with the way the colours were arranged especially on a colour like Summer Fun, it was almost impossible. Some match better than others, although with the solid colours being in fixed positions, that certainly helps.

I'm not at all anxious about front side/back side tatting, so I didn't get bent out of shape trying to keep everything going in the same direction. On the second wing I just turned it to the back and repeated. For anyone who is, they'd have to reverse their order of tatting for the second wing.

Here's what the collection looks like. Each butterfly is approximately 3.75 by 3.5 inches which is just about perfect for what I was looking for.

And here's a picture with the one done in size 80 at the top for contrast. I'm thinking I'll glue that one onto my cell phone. I have the pattern drawn out for what I started with, but of course I tweaked it as I progressed. At some point I'll adjust the pattern to what the final version worked out at and get it posted.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

An embarrassment of riches

I have started and discarded a dozen posts over the summer covering such topics as the various silly trials we have had, the tatting I've done, the designs that have worked and those that have flopped, but it seems that something has come up before I was able to complete the post and I just never got to the point of uploading anything.

One of the things that happened this summer is that I retired. It was very anticlimactic seeing as I've worked from home for over 20 years, so retirement didn't really change things all that much. One of the things that did happen is that I declared 2016 as my last year of doing business for tax purposes. That means that I no longer have to keep track of expenditures for business and I no longer have to complete pages of business income tax forms. Yay!!!

I closed out all of the order pages on my web site and removed references to books that I previously had available so that people couldn't order them, and looked forward to not dealing with the business side of creating tatting patterns and information. I love you guys, but the remuneration isn't really worth the hassle. So there it was gone. Done and dusted. Kaput. Fini. Over.

Or so I thought. Since I closed things up, I periodically get notices from PayPal that people have sent me money. They aren't completing an order form. It isn't coming from my web site, I just get notices of money being sent to me for this book or that. Then I have to go back into my PayPal account and refund the money and apologize that I can't send the requested book---because I'm no longer in business.

I thought I'd closed the door on this part of my life, but somewhere folks are finding reference to   books and tutorials and they're sending me money looking to buy them. I'm guessing that people are reading old blog entries or something and that's what's generating these payments, so  I figured the only way to stop them is to let everyone know officially that I'm closed for business.

That doesn't mean that my patterns are no longer available. Some patterns are free from my web site and  my blog and as time goes on, other things will show up there. If you're desperate for something You've seen on line, let me know and I'll see what I can do. Otherwise, please stop sending me money.
Pretty please. With sugar on top.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Another bookmark

I did another bookmark, this one a really simple design, but I like how it turned out. It's a row of split rings surrounded by a row of ring and chain. What makes it effective is that the row of split rings in the middle is done with a variegated thread which is also used for the outer chain. The solid colour for the rings perfectly matches the blue in the variegated thread.

I chose to use a zigzag chain and tassel for the tail end. Making the tail and tassels often seems to take as long as it does to make the bookmark, but tassels just seem to finish the bookmarks off better than a tatted motif. I do used tatted motifs especially if the bookmark incorporates a motif like the flower shape in the previous bookmarks. I used a five ring flower for the bookmark I gave away, but the 2 I just finished had tassels. In fact, I spent yesterday doing nothing but tails and tassels for these three bookmarks.

As much as tassels are a pain in the butt, they are an effective use of the thread left on the shuttles. I know some people use up the thread on their shuttles tatting little motifs, 4 ring butterflies or one ring flowers for decorating stationary, but I don't. I have only so many hours in my day and I refuse to spend them doing "make work" projects that serve no real purpose. On the other hand, I'm stingy and hate wasting anything, even thread. So using up the remaining shuttle thread on tassels, as time consuming as they are, satisfies my need to be frugal and at the same time empties my shuttles.

Monday, July 31, 2017

I stuck with it

OK so I'm stubborn. Rather than give up and pitch it, I carefully fixed it, undoing the ring carefully around the hidden core threads. I didn't want to deal with hiding a bzillion threads in a single ring. So, I put aside one of the shuttles I had cut off and took the other one and unwound enough thread to tat a couple of rings and attached the end to a SPARE shuttle, so my thread was CTM again. (I could have finger tatted with the end, but I was already dealing with lots of loose ends and it was easier to keep track of this end when it was attached to a spare shuttle.) Then I used the shuttle to start the last split ring again carefully hiding one of the old ends (and the alternate colour) in the first half of the ring. I used the spare shuttle to tat the second half of the split ring while hiding the alternate colour and the other old thread end. That got rid of the two old cut ends.

Then I switched to the alternate colour to tat the next split ring, hiding the first colour in it's core. I proceeded to tat with the second colour until I was finished with it. When I switched back to the first colour, (the one that broke) I was running out of thread on the spare shuttle. That's OK, it had served it's purpose, I was now far enough from where I had joined in the new thread and hidden the 2 old ends that I could hide the ends of the new thread. I picked up the second shuttle and started tatting with it, hiding the end of the thread from the spare shuttle. On the next ring I hid the starting end of thread from the second shuttle. By the next ring all thread ends were hidden and I was back to tatting with 4 shuttles.

Whew! All that, just so that I could see what this design looked like done in 2 colours. Actually I guess that's 3 colours. (So I can't count. What else is new? It's not as bad as telling hubby to go left while pointing to the exit off the highway to the right- He only had to back up on the highway 100 yards.)

OK, back to serious stuff. I started this design thinking about doing bookmarks with 4 ring motifs. Then I thought about a 5 ring motif, joined alternating 3 rings on the side with 2 rings on the side, flip flopping them so that it resembled a flower and resulted in a straight line. When it was done, the 5 ring flower just merged together into a solid band of rings and the flower effect was lost. See the bookmark done in red and green. The individual flowers just disappear. Which is why I wanted to see the effect with 2 different colours used for the flowers.

See this one done with the 5 ring motifs alternating in red and pink. The flower shapes are evident and the green on the outside suggests leaves.

I don't like the 4 green rings on the ends. I'm not sure what I did on the original, I might have just used plain chains going around the end of the bookmark. Whatever it was, it didn't result in the lop sided effect the 4 rings give, but maybe I'm just being critical. It doesn't matter now anyway because I've done the design again and this time I have pictures of it.

Now that that's out of the way I can go back to embroidering that second picture I was working on. Or maybe not, as I've just thought of something else I could tat....

I told you I have the attention span of a flea.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Have you ever?

In this long saga of working with multiple colours and multiple shuttles, I have run into yet another snag. I'm an experienced tatter and having to un-tat is just a part of tatting. Unfixable problems get cut off and really horrible disasters just get pitched in the garbage.

After fighting with the screws, bits, pieces and horrible tension of working with double bobbins I resorted to using 4 shuttles. Unwieldy, but doable.

Then on joining the 10th ring, while fighting with all 4 shuttles and hiding the alternate colour, the thread split and frayed.

There's no help for it the last ring had to be cut. This is one of the rings in which the alternate colour has been hidden, so it's carefully undoing each stitch of the split ring and unwinding it from around the hidden thread.

Now since my CTM thread has been cut in the middle and it means hiding 6 threads - the two cut ends - the two new ends and the two alternate colours, I can either bite the bullet and fuss with it, salvaging the thread, or I can pull the thread off the shuttles, scrap it, and start again. Have you ever run into a project where every solution seems to bring out more problems? I'm dreading hiding the cut end of the old thread and the alternate colour on the split side of the ring.

I hate wasting thread. I hate having to fuss with a "relaxing" pastime. Which will win out?

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Alternating colour split rings

I have tatted 2 colour work involving split rings without using a double bobbin shuttle. It involved a doily where the alternating colour split rings were required to climb out from round to round. I gave it to my mother in law who kept it on a little side table under glass and I'm not sure what happened to it when she passed away. I suspect it probably got thrown out as the folks that cleared out her home wouldn't have known what it was.

The instructions written for it in my newsletter were:
"This doily is worked in 2 complimentary colours of size 20 Opera
thread, one Light and one Dark, and is approximately 10 inches square.
The stitch count is 8-8 for both the rings and the chains. You’ll notice
that it shows 4 shuttles being used for this design and that is because
you need to use either 2 spare shuttles wound in the colours used or
you need to use two double bobbin shuttles each wound with both
colours in order to tat the many split rings in the right colours."

Here's a picture of the doily in question. It's a simple continuous design once the centre block is done.

The instructions state that when tatting the split ring using a double bobbin shuttle you can just use the Dark colour on the second shuttle. If you are using 2 spare shuttles you will have to hide the end of the spare Dark thread in the first half of the ring and then tat over the bottom of the ring thread and the Light colour shuttle thread with the spare Dark thread.  

Since I don't own 2 double bobbin shuttles, I obviously didn't do that when creating this doily. By using my method of adding thread and hiding ends shown in my side bar you add and remove the alternate colours as you work. It's fussy, but I think not as fussy as having to deal with double bobbin shuttles that don't let the individual bobbins wind freely. 

I've just finished the split ring part of the bookmark in one colour and now I'll go grab a couple of extra shuttles and see what it looks like done with 2 colours.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Double, double toil and trouble

I designed a bookmark in pink and green that worked out OK, but I thought it would look better in two colours with the green.

I grabbed my double bobbin shuttle and the trials began. I absolutely loathe having to unscrew the centre post in order to load the shuttle. I hate little bits and pieces that can get lost. The centre post on my shuttle is tight because I don't use it often and I had to open up a paperclip and use it to push the outer half of the centre post out before I could get to the bobbins to wind them. Once they were wound, I had just as much trouble trying to get the centre post back in. GRRRR! I hadn't even started and already my blood pressure was going up.

I wound one bobbin in red and one in pink and then I started tatting. I only got the first ring started when I remembered that split rings were an intrinsic part of the design. So I cut the thread and went looking for another couple of shuttles. I only own one double bobbin shuttle because it isn't something I use often, so for the split rings I was going to need to use 2 shuttles stuck together.

I re-wound the thread with half on the double bobbin shuttle and half on the two separate shuttles and commenced to tat again, only to realize that releasing enough thread from one bobbin to tat a ring was also unwinding the second bobbin because the double bobbin shuttle held them together so tightly. I took the screw out of the post and managed to rewind the second bobbin to a manageable length. I got one half stitch done and the shuttles twisted around so that the second half stitch only got one thread! There has got to be a better way!!!!

I went online to see about buying another double bobbin shuttle, but just to experiment on one design It's going to cost more than $50. I'm not that curious. I own one double bobbin shuttle. I have it. I've used it. I've designed a pattern that uses it. Admittedly, it was only required for the green leaves.

I can't really see that it's of great benefit for ordinary tatting. It has it's place, but it's never going to be a favourite technique, especially when winding and unwinding the bobbins is such a pain in the butt.

I did see a different style of double bobbin shuttle.

Has anyone tried this style? Any thoughts on it? They still have that blasted screw, but the bobbins look like they'd be easier to adjust separately. Comments PLEASE!!!!

I wonder if a sleeve could be developed that you could just push 2 regular shuttles into. It might make the whole process easier.

At this point I'd spent more time mucking around with getting thread onto the shuttles than I had tatting and I could see it was going to have me pulling my hair out. I just wanted to get tatting and see how this design would look in two colours and it would take me less time to add in alternate thread colours as I needed them for the split rings, than what it would take to mess around with 1 double bobbin shuttle and 2 separate shuttles, so I just separated the double bobbin shuttle again and unwound the thread off of it.

Maybe when I've calmed down a bit, maybe in another century or so, I'll try it again. Or maybe I'll just wind the thread on some card stock, it might be easier especially for split rings. In the mean time, just colour me frustrated.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Tatting and not tatting

I got the fourth colour change done and I like how it looks. Generally a doily is intended as a decorative way to protect a table of other surface. The holes in a lace doily let you see the beauty of the wood underneath while still protecting the wood from scratches and dents. This doily isn't intended for practical purposes, It's just a study in colour changes. It might get used on a table or it might get framed. Then again it might just get thrown in a drawer. I like the spokes effect that happened in the turquoise row and intend to repeat it on the next colour which will be the dark blue.

I actually had the dark blue done ages ago, but I'm not liking how it's looking and I'm cogitating on how to get the effect I want. This will be that last colour change and I'm kicking around maybe adding a single row of chain in the starting pink to follow the contours of the design and bring a little more of the pink into it. Which I could maybe do if I could just get the dark blue to work out the way I want. I've tried three variations so far and don't really like any of them. So I put it aside.

What I've been doing instead, is embroidery. Several years ago I did a bunch of butterflies on squares roughly 8x8 inches. I had ideas of doing enough squares for a quilt alternating embroidered butterflies and birds with plain squares. So far I've done 6 squares one of which is a little "cartoonish" and I just don't see that happening, so I thought I'd frame them and hang them on the wall.

I started with 8x8 thinking it was a decent size for a quilt square, but in order to block it and mount it in a frame it needed more material to be able to pull it into shape. So I added more fabric to the outside making a sort of fabric "frame" and then blocked it by putting a square of masonite behind it and running a thread back and forth into the fabric, first left and right, and then up and down. This pulled the fabric and the stitching, which had puckered due to the denseness of the stitching, until it was flat and smooth. This worked great on the first 4 designs. The last one didn't work so they've been sitting there ever since.

Last year I thought I'd just start with a picture with the intention of framing it. I scoured the internet and finally came across a picture of a bird with flowers that I thought would work. I printed it out on standard 8.5x11 and then ironed it onto the fabric just using a laser printer. The toner wears off so I worked quickly just sewing enough of the outline so that I could work from it. Then it got put aside while I worked on something else. I found it several weeks ago and decided to work on it again.

TaDa! More embroidery finished. I want to get this one framed and hung, and knowing that I might have puckering issues I was careful to keep it taut while working it. When I washed this one and pinned it out, it stayed flat. Now to do something about framing it. 8.5x11, like 8x8 isn't exactly a standard frame size.

Just in case you think I've forsaken tatting, I did do a couple of bookmarks. One which I think turned out quite nice, but I for got to take a picture of it, so I'll have to do it again. Maybe this time I'll use a double bobbin shuttle so I can get a better effect. That will probably have to wait because I have another picture already started in my embroidery hoop.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

So far....and rambles on the English language

Well, I'm not sure where I'm going on this, but it's going.

There's a mistake on the first repeat of this latest row where I didn't join 2 rings together because I didn't think I needed to. On the next repeat I joined them and liked the effect better, so I joined those rings on all the subsequent repeats. After it was done I sewed in a thread, ran it through both picots and then sewed it on the first side. Then I repeated on the second side and trimmed off the excess thread so it's all nice and snug now. I want to use my colour choices only once in the doily so that it makes a consistent transition. It may end up looking like crap. Or not. That's what happens with designing. You never know how its going to look until it's finished.

On a totally different subject, we put in a new counter and had to trim off some bits close to the wall, which the instructions said to do with a router. Problem is, the size of the router puts the cutting blade 3 inches out from the wall and the bit that needs trimming is 1 inch from the wall. Grrrr!

They make angle drills so I went looking for an angle router. A standard router looks like this:
I was looking for something that looked like this:

What kept showing up were things like this:

No wonder people who don't speak English have such a hard time learning the language. Two totally different objects, one a tool for cutting wood, the other a device for connecting networks, and yet they are spelled and pronounced exactly the same way.

I can understand when people confuse the contraction they're, meaning they are, with their, denoting ownership and there, meaning location, since they all sound the same. Learning English as a second language must drive people up the wall. (and of course the idioms like "drive people up the wall" must confuse things even more)

All languages have rules, but English has exceptions to the rules which change from time to time. Like I before E except after C, except in words like neighbour and weigh.

English really is a crazy language.

To make things even worse, is the poor grammar and poor diction which makes even native English speakers massacre the language. A personal peeve are the hundreds of people who say axed instead of asked. I always want to interject an inquire if the person needed stitches.

O the vagaries of language, makes you think, doesn't it.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Colour play

I thought I'd play with colour, but I'm not sure where this is going to go.

At this point I'm not even sure where I want it to go. I started and I'm not sure if I like what's gone on so far. There's a saying that necessity is the mother of invention and it's at this point where a design either starts to come together or it necessitates some inventive work.

I'm not feeling very inventive right now

Sunday, April 16, 2017

The most beautiful words in the Bible

He is not here: for he is risen!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Why you should beileve the Bible

What's that you say? You'd like to believe but you don't think the gospel is true. Oh? Why not? It's not scientific, you say. Wait a minute. Science works good for establishing theories and proving them true, but you've got it all wrong here, we're not talking science, we're talking history.

When you go back 2000 years looking for proof you have to go to the earliest known accounts and work forward. The earliest historical documents of the life of Jesus are found in the gospels. As far as can be ascertained, Mark was written some time around 70 AD, Matthew and Luke around 80 AD and John between 90-100 AD although dating John is more difficult. Since those are all Biblical references, you may want to throw them aside, but then you have to deal with the Jewish historian, Josephus who lived between 37-100 and the Roman historian, Tacitus who lived between 56-120.

Those are all pretty early records when you consider that the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus happened around 33 AD and Mark was writing about it 40 years later, you're talking about first hand, eye witness, accounts. That's pretty reliable information. When you think about it, the writers of the gospel actually sat down to write out an account because they realized that between age and persecution, the number of people who could provide first hand knowledge were diminishing and it was necessary to get it in writing.

In fact, Luke actually states his purpose in writing his account in Luke 1:1-4
"Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,
Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word;
It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,
That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed."

It's nice that we have several different records of the life of Jesus so that we get a more rounded view of what happened. In each of the gospels we can see a different focus, yet these things are consistent, Jesus did come as a human being. He did perform many miracles, healing many, calming the sea, feeding thousands with a few loaves and fish and bringing the dead back to life. He was crucified. He was buried. He rose again.

Maybe you don't think He died. Maybe you think it was just an elaborate trick. Maybe you think someone else died on the cross. Maybe you think his disciples took his body and hid it. The problem is, that those theories just don't work. They don't fit with historical FACTS. Whatever idea you propose, it just won't match up with what really happened.

Jesus had a very public execution. It was witnessed not only by his disciples but also by the many Jews who came to Jerusalem for Passover. Here's something you may not know, there are several times, feast days, during the year that all Jews were required to appear before God, that is, at the temple in Jerusalem. Passover is one of them, and 50 days later is Pentecost, with the final one being Sukkot.

His death wasn't accomplished quietly in a dark little corner, it happened right outside the city gates where any one, of the thousands coming for Passover, entering the city could see. He died. He was buried and because of the envy of the Jewish leaders the tomb was secured with a big rock and guards were posted outside. So he definitely died, and he definitely was buried. All of which happened in front of the huge numbers of visitors to Jerusalem.

Then He rose again and was seen by his disciples. Now a lot of people have the mistaken belief that Jesus had only 12 followers, but that would be wrong.
In Luke 9:1,2 we read,
"Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.
And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick."
Then in Luke 9:6  "And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where."

But later in Luke 10:1 MORE were sent out with the same results.
"After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. "
Luke 10:17  "And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name."

So, not 12 disciples, 70 disciples.

Still not persuaded? The eye witness accounts that we have is that people close to Him saw Him, touched His body, Put their hands into the holes in His body. Not only were there nail prints from where He was nailed to the cross, one of the soldiers stabbed Him in the side and it was reported that blood and water came out. Blood and water, means that at the time His blood had already started to separate so He was truly dead. And later were he rose from the dead, He invited His disciples to put their hand into the hole in His side made by the spear. He was really dead and He really came back to life. He was seen by various people (about 500) at various times for 40 days after His resurrection.

He was not only resurrected but after He told them to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Holy Spirit, He rose up into the clouds. 120 of these eye witnesses were in Jerusalem waiting for that promise. On the day of Pentecost, (another feast day with thousands of visitors in the city) fifty days after the resurrection, the Holy Spirit came as promised. The supernatural events that happened then, convinced 3000 people to believe in Jesus. Shortly after that, when Peter and John were entering the Temple they saw a lame beggar who had been lame from birth outside and by the power of Jesus, they healed him so that he went walking and leaping into the temple praising God and 5000 MORE people believed. At this point, the believers were no longer numbered but just called multitudes. The rapid increase of believing people scared the political leaders and they began to persecute them. Under threat of torture and death these people wouldn't give up their belief.

Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:3-6
"For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep."

500 eye witnesses saw Jesus after he rose from the dead. Paul points out that you don't have to take his word for it, there are 500 people who saw Jesus alive again that you can go and talk to them. They believed and they were convinced enough to die for their belief.

Do you think they would be willing to suffer like that for a lie? Would they be willing to die for a lie? No, of course not. The greatest evidence that Jesus death burial and resurrection is true, is that the early Christian church was willing to die for what they believed. All of the original 12 except John were martyred for what they believed. Why were they willing to die? Because it's true. Jesus is alive and changing people's lives just as much now as he was over 2000 years ago.

Not convinced? There have been more than 25,000 archaeological digs concerning the Bible and not a single one has contradicted anything in the Bible. The archaeological digs have confirmed and affirmed the things that we read in the Bible. It's front page news all around the world when someone tries to to undermine the proof of the Bible, yet when they find that their proof wasn't authentic, nobody hears about it.

There are people who claim to be intelligent that state that the Bible is not reliable because it has been copied so many times and translated so many times. But let's do a comparison of documents of antiquity. Obviously anything on a fragile medium like parchment will eventually have to be copied. For the New Testament we have documents that date back as far as AD 100 to AD 120, within a couple of decades of the completion of the New Testament. We have more than 6000 manuscripts of the New Testament. That's a huge number for anything so ancient.

Just to put it in perspective, with Aristotle's Poetics we have less than 12 manuscripts and the earliest one is over 1000 years after the writing, not 100 years like the new testament. For Julius Caesar's Gallic Wars we have less than 12 manuscripts and the earliest one is over 1000 years after the writing. The best example is Homer's Illiad where we have a few 100 manuscripts and the earliest manuscript was written 2200 years after the original. How many New Testament manuscripts are there again? Not a dozen, not a hundred, but 6000!

See the difference? These secular documents are copies that are thousands of years after the original, not a mere 100 and we have just a tiny handful of them, not the thousands of manuscripts that we have for the Bible.

Some people believe that the original texts were reliable, but that they were corrupted. Maybe they think that the monks in the time of Constantine (who died in 337 AD) changed the manuscripts to conform to Constantine's agenda. You want to know why that idea is nonsense? They would have to go and find 6000 Greek manuscripts scattered all over the then know world, change them all in the -exact same way- and not tell anyone what they did! See how stupid that idea is?

Still not convinced? In the first couple of centuries the New Testament was translated from Greek into Syriac, Coptic, and Latin. These nefarious and fictitious monks would have to lie about what they found in 4 different languages: Syriac, Coptic, Latin, and Greek because if they didn't, then the manuscripts wouldn't match, and they would be in big trouble.

You know what makes that theory even more ridiculous? The early church fathers had a habit of commenting on things in the New Testament, so much so, that we would be able to reproduce the -entire contents- of the New Testament, all but 11 verses, just from their commentaries. So in addition to 1) finding all 6000 manuscripts, 2) Changing all 6000 manuscripts in EXACTLY the same way, in Syriac, Coptic, Latin, and Greek, 3) Then finding and changing all of the commentaries in Syriac, Coptic, Latin, and Greek, in EXACTLY the same way. Oh, and while they're at it, don't tell anyone.

Only the fool would NOT believe the New Testament. The intelligent person will state that they choose to believe the Bible because it's a reliable collection of historical documents written by eye witnesses during the lifetime of other eye witnesses who reported supernatural events that took place in fulfillment of specific prophecies and claim that their writings are divine rather than human in origin.

So, are you an intelligent person? If you are, then you need to seriously consider that what the Bible says about Jesus is true. He did live as a human being. He did die. His blood was shed so that whosoever, and that means you, can believe and believing, you can have eternal life in heaven with Jesus. Want to know how?

Here it is, straight from the Bible itself:

Romans 3:23  "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"

Romans  6:23  "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Romans  5:8  "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

Romans 10:9  "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."

We've all blown it at one time or another, if you think you haven't, you're just fooling yourself. The consequences of sinning, even just one time, is death. BUT, Jesus took the penalty of death for us. Believe it!
and live!  The promises that God made to people who believe in Him are immeasurable. First of all, death is taken off the table. Yes, you will at some time experience a physical death, but just like Jesus you will be resurrected so death isn't something to be afraid of any longer.  Take a look at what it says in John 14:12-19

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
If ye love me, keep my commandments.
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also."

It's a pretty good deal. God Himself, loves you and will take an intimate interest in your life. Got a mess that needs straightening out? a marriage that's on the rocks? an addiction you can't beat? a sickness that's got you down? a depression you can't overcome? Whatever it is, He has the power to change it. He has the love to care. And He has the will to make your life new. Just ask Him. Go ahead, He's been waiting for you.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

It's a free choice

I did say that I was going to vent, but I've been hearing a lot of people venting recently and the rhetoric gets pretty ugly so I've decided to express my opinion in a more positive way.

I've been listening to a lot of theological debates recently and it's amazing the amount of misinformation about the veracity of the Bible. Some of it is laughable and some of it is pernicious. Most people know that the Bible is in two parts, the old testament and the new testament. The old part is written in Hebrew and Aramaic, the languages spoken in the region of Israel way back at the beginning. The first 5 books...let me interject here that the Bible isn't a single book, it's a collection of books bound into one volume.

The first 5 books, Genesis, the beginning, Exodus, the coming out of Egypt, Leviticus, the Levitical law, Numbers, the recording of the numbers of Israelites that left Egypt, Deuteronomy, the second or repeated law. These books were written by Moses and are called by Jewish people the Torah. Sometimes when referring to the "Torah", people actually mean the whole of the old testament which also includes the books of history of the Jewish people, Psalms, the book of poetry, Proverbs, obviously containing proverbs, and the books of prophecy, each of which is named after the prophet who spoke them. Oh, yeah, the penalty for being a FALSE prophet, DEATH. One wrong prophecy and it's game over. You'd better not speak lies in the name of Yahweh or you'd be taken out and stoned.

That's OLD testament. It's the old contract between God and man. God held Himself accountable to uphold what he told the Jews as long as they held to the agreement. Want to know what kinds of things were in the agreement? Take a look at Exodus chapter 20 and Deuteronomy 28 and 29. Under the old covenant all your sins could be covered by sacrificing a lamb. Once a year, you confessed your sins over the head of the lamb and then the lamb's blood was shed, and by faith, the lamb took your place, for your sins. The lamb dies, but you live. You need to believe that this exchange happens, since the efficacy of the animal's blood is contingent upon your faith. See, it's a contract between God and man that both parties have to agree to.

The new testament is written in Greek because at that time and in that place the common language was Greek, just like now the common language is English. So these days if you want most people to be able to understand, or at least be able to find someone who does, you write in English. Then, you wrote in Greek.

The NEW testament is a New covenant. In it, a better sacrifice was provided. instead of the blood of a mere animal being shed. God shed His own blood, so that once and for all, for all mankind a sacrifice that can't be compared, was made.

Now OK I know a lot of people will say that's really bloody. I'm sorry, it is. The Bible says in Hebrews 9:22 "And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission."
In the OLD testament, the blood of animals covered over the sins, until the next time. In the NEW testament, God provided a body for himself and being perfect and being God, he was able to live a perfect, sinless life. He permitted that body to be sacrificed and the blood of that perfect sinless person has the power that the blood of animals doesn't. It has the power to eradicate all our sins for all time. This is a NEW covenant, a new contract, but again the contract works by faith.

In Hebrews 10 verses 4-9 it says.
"For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.
Wherefore when he (Jesus) cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:
In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.
Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.
Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;
Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second".

See, God prepared a body to inhabit and while he inhabited that body he was called Jesus.

Hebrews 10:12-20  continues,
"But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.
For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before,
This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.
Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh."

A perfect life, a perfect sacrifice, for imperfect humanity. That's the new covenant we receive by faith. You don't have to do anything for it, you just believe, His life for yours.

Now that's the amazing thing, God Himself, voluntarily took my sins, my faults, my failures and exchanged all that is worthless in me, for His perfection. I don't deserve it. I didn't work for it. There is nothing in me that's worthwhile. It's all due to His incomparable love. He gave His life for me. So I can live free from sin. So I can have a new life. So I can have the promise of heaven. Not only does He have the power to remove sin because He took the penalty of sin onto Himself and died as a human for us, but as God, He rose back up from the dead. You don't believe He rose from the dead? He's God, He can do anything.

He did that, not just for me, but for you too. All you have to do is accept that what He has already done, He did for you, because He loves you that much. Just believe that the sacrifice He made, He made for you. You can have eternal life and it can start right this minute, just believe.

Old testament
Isaiah 53:6  "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all."
New Testament
John 1:12  "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:"
John 3:16  "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

See the OLD covenant and the NEW covenant are consistent. The new perfectly fulfils the old

Eternal life is a gift freely given by a loving God. All you have to do is believe.

.... to be continued

Thursday, February 09, 2017

When freedom is not freedom

I haven't blogged in, let me see.... WOW I just checked and it's been over a year. How did that happen? I guess just keeping up with the 25 Motif Challenge doesn't leave me a lot of blogging time. That doesn't mean I don't have a lot to say, it's just not about tatting. I have done some tatting, like 8 bookmarks, sorry they're already gone, so no pics. 4 hanky edgings done and waiting to be mailed. I still have another to do. I did get a couple of snowflakes designed, and sent out a repeat of the snowflake I designed last year in the Christmas cards. See I have been tatting, just not much.

Instead I've been reading a lot and studying a lot. No, not for school, just for information. A lot of things have gotten me riled up in the last year, but this didn't seem like the place to vent. On the other hand, it is my blog and why shouldn't I vent here. I did vent once, but in retrospect, I decided no one needed to suffer through my anger and I removed it.

Anyway, I've decided that I am going to vent here, after all.  You've been warned, I'm venting and what I have to say will probably offend some people. That's OK. People responding to me in comments is OK too. I'm trying to be thoughtful and I'm not trying to be offensive, I'm just saying at the outset that I might be, and I'm willing to have a respectful dialogue with anyone who wants to talk. That said, this is the first of several posts I plan to make.

I was born Canadian. So were my parents. This is my home. I used to think I lived in a free country, where I was free to live my life, express my opinions, worship as I chose and do all of those other things that were taken for granted in a "free" country.

Now, by being free, I don't mean that I want to impose my thoughts, opinions and religion on anyone else. Other people are "free" to disagree with me, as long as they don't want to impose their thoughts, opinions and religion on me. See that's what it's like to be free. I'm free. You're free. I don't hurt you. You don't hurt me.

That's a Biblical principle by the way. It's found in Matthew 22:37-39 - Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. It's repeated  in Mark 12:29-31, and again in Luke 10:27. If you are familiar with the story of the Good Samaritan, and most people are, the Samaritan took care of an injured stranger, binding up his wounds and paying for his upkeep while he was ill. Jesus used that story to demonstrate that all people, even strangers are our neighbours.

Increasingly, I don't live in a free country. I'm not free to express my opinion or practise my religion. Fifty years ago, a man having sex with another man was called a sodomite which is an ugly word and people practising such acts often preferred the prettier word homosexual, although since the 70s they have embraced the even happier word, "gay".

I don't really care what anyone does in their own bedroom, I'm not there to see it, nor do I want to. Procreation doesn't happen between same sex couples. The tradition, since the time of Adam and Eve was one man and one woman, having children, forming a family unit, preserving humanity and forming the basis for a stable society. I don't even want to get into a discussion of whether same sex couples can bring up children as well as heterosexual couples. I'm neither interested in the topic, nor qualified to discuss it. What I am saying, is that the norm has been a heterosexual society for centuries. Normal is what most of society does. Therefore, heterosexual is normal.

Beyond what is normal, as a practising Christian, I strive to follow what the Bible teaches and it clearly teaches that same sex behaviour is an aberration.
Leviticus 20:13  If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
The new covenant found in the New Testament repeats it.
Romans 1:27  And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

So, my personal feeling about same sex couples is "eww, gross". The traditional view is, "that's not normal". and the Biblical view is, "it's an abomination".

Does that mean I think that vigilantes should run through the streets terrorizing people who are not heterosexual? No. Absolutely not. It does mean that I am free to express my opinion. It also means that I am free not have aberrant behaviour thrust in my face. I don't want to see an amorous embrace between a heterosexual couple in a public place. Even more so, I don't want to see it between a same sex couple.  Nor do I want acceptance of something I find abominable thrust upon me.

I really have a hard time justifying in my own mind, why a same sex couple would choose to bring political pressure to bear on a Christian minister to perform a same sex marriage. If a same sex couple chooses to defy what the Bible says, why would they want a Christian ceremony. It just doesn't make sense. I personally don't think it's morally right to have same sex marriages, but if people choose to do so in a civil service  I have no objection.

In the same way, if a Christian, in their normal duties, believes that it isn't appropriate for them to provide goods or services, they ought to be free to do so. For example, many fast food places have signs on the front door saying things like, No shirt, no shoes, no service. No one has a problem with the vendor refusing service. But when a caterer refuses to make a same sex cake for a wedding, suddenly they're hauled into court. The couple getting married could have just gone to another caterer, they could have just replaced the his and hers topper, but no, they had to make a political statement. I don't think that's right.

I think, if I had been the caterer, I might have just refused on the basis of being too busy, just to avoid the political fallout. If coerced, I think I might have tried to explain to the couple that based on my religious beliefs that I couldn't in good conscience do what they requested. For all I know maybe the catered did and the same sex couple were just eager to throw their weight around.

Whatever the reason, Christians are no longer able to freely express their beliefs or stand on the principles which the Bible clearly teaches. According to what the Bible teaches, people engaged in same sex behaviour are bound for Hell. God isn't sending them there, their own aberrant behaviour is. I don't want them to end up in Hell, but the only way to keep them out of Hell is to tell them the truth. Of course, Christians today are muzzled, when the tell the plain truth of the Bible it's declared "hate speech". It isn't hate, it's love.

God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. God loves the world and as Christians, we love the world too. We don't want anyone to go to Hell and when we say that same sex behaviour is an abomination in God's eyes, we say it so that people can repent of that behaviour and be saved. The consequences of not leaving that behaviour is Hell. Warning people, so that they can change, is not hate speech, it's just the opposite. Of course, if people have been warned and they choose not to listen, they can go to Hell. Literally. Go To Hell.

Hell is not someplace where you can hang out with your buddies. Hell is eternal isolation and eternal torment. But if that's what you want, go ahead, keep on having sex, men with men and women with women. I don't care, I won't be there to see your agony or hear your screams. I won't be the one who put you there, you will. God set the standard. Keep it, and enjoy Heaven. Break it, and suffer Hell. Not my rules, God's.