Friday, January 19, 2018

Busy Hands: Using Up Scraps

After working on many different crochet projects for the past 14 years, I have quite a stash of leftover scraps of yarn. Some leftover pieces are big enough to use for a small project. Other leftover pieces don't go far, but I want to use up all of the scrap yarn I can. I only throw away yarn if it is less than about two feet long. Here are some ways I use up my yarn scraps.

Crochet Cup Cozies

I make cup cozies. I have tried a few different patterns, but this one has turned out to be my favorite for looks, function, and ease of making it. It is made by alternating rows of single crochet and double crochet stitches and then adding a loop for a button on one end. These are nice to give away as a small gift to friends and teachers. I don't know how much they actually help to keep coffee or tea hot, but they are fun to use.

Crochet Hairband Covers

I make crocheted hairband covers. I like the way these feel in my hair when the original hairband is completely covered. I have also made flowers and then sewed them onto hair bands for Adelaide. I let her pick out jewels from my craft stash to sew on some of the flowers.

Sea Penny Afghan

I am slowly making a Sea Penny Afghan. I learned how to make sea pennies from Julia Crossland. I started making this blanket about five years ago, but I haven't worked on it for about four years now. I need to pick up my scraps and start making sea pennies again! I hope to make this into a nice lap blanket size.

Sea Penny Afghan

This will not be a color coordinated afghan, but it will be filled with memories. I am making sea pennies using leftover yarn from almost all of my crochet projects. I am also using some of my Oma's leftover yarn. It is fun to look through the all of the colors and yarns in this sea penny afghan and remember the specific projects and people and gifts they represent.

I would love to hear your ideas! How do you use bits of leftover yarn? Please share your scrap project ideas and patterns!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Book Review: Happiness

Two years ago I started reading Happiness by Randy Alcorn. I have greatly enjoyed reading this book, and I have learned so much! I was given a complimentary copy from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for a review. I never thought that it would take me two years to finish reading this book and write my review. My thanks to Tyndale for their patience with me!

Happiness is a very big book (481 pages), and it has been a slow read for me. I could have read it quickly simply to get through it. But it is so good, and there is so much Scripture referenced in it, that I wanted to take my time. I went through this book slowly and carefully with my Bible next to me and my pen in hand. I underlined and starred numerous sections. I looked verses up in my Bible and took notes. I studied what Scripture has to say about happiness while I read this book. 

Our message shouldn't be "Don't seek happiness," but "You'll find in Jesus the happiness you've always longed for." - Randy Alcorn

I want to share with you just a little of what I have learned by reading Happiness.

It seems to have become a common misconception that as Christians we are to be joyful, but not happy. Sometimes it is taught that joy is godly, and happiness is worldly. We should be joyful, but we should not seek to be happy. Joy is enduring; happiness is fleeting. God cares about our holiness, but not our happiness.

The Bible does talk a lot about joy and rejoicing, but it also talks about happiness and gladness, and these words are used parallel to one another in Scripture. It has only been in recent years that Christians have begun to think that we shouldn’t be happy; we should be joyful instead. It was interesting to read about this change in thought and teaching, which Randy covers in chapter five, What’s the Difference between Joy and Happiness?

It is not just okay to be happy; it is good to be happy. We are even commanded to be happy! Randy Alcorn says, “Paul’s words in Philippians 4:4 are often translated ‘Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice.’ They could also be translated, ‘Be happy in the Lord always, and again I say be happy.’ Commenting on this verse, Spurgeon said, ‘It is intended that we should be happy. That is the meaning…that we should be cheerful’” (page 18).

Happiness is divided into four sections:
  • Our Compelling Quest for Happiness
  • The Happiness of God
  • The Bible’s Actual Words for Happiness
  • Understanding and Experiencing Happiness in God

I found each of these sections to be helpful, insightful, and fascinating!

I appreciated reading quotes from Christians who have written about happiness many years ago and in recent years. Here are a few of my favorites:
Those who are "beloved of the Lord" must be the most happy and joyful people to be found anywhere upon the face of the earth. – Charles Spurgeon 
He has no design on us, but to make us happy…Who should be cheerful, if not the people of God? – Thomas Watson 
I assert without hesitation, that the conversion described in Scripture is a happy thing and not a miserable one, and that if converted persons are not happy, the fault must be in themselves….I am confident the converted man is the happiest man. – J. C. Ryle 
There is nothing that more tends to strengthen the faith of the young believer than to hear the veteran Christian, covered with scars from the battle, testifying that the service of his Master is a happy service, and that, if he could have served any other master, he would not have done son, for His service is pleasant, and His reward everlasting joy. – Charles Spurgeon 
If you ask me, "Doesn’t the world need to see Christians as happy in order to know the truth of our faith and be drawn to the great Savior?" my answer is "Yes, yes, yes!" And they need to see that our happiness is the indomitable work of Christ in the midst of our sorrow. – John Piper 
If you have nice little categories for "joy is what Christians have" and "happiness is what the world has," you can scrap those when you go to the Bible, because the Bible is indiscriminate in its use of the language of happiness and joy and contentment and satisfaction. – John Piper 
O cheerful, happy, joyous people, I wish there were more of you! . . . Let the uppermost joy you have always be "Jesus Christ, Himself.” – Charles Spurgeon 
Despite your tribulation, take full delight in God your exceeding joy this morning, and be happy in Him. – Charles Spurgeon 
The people of God ought to be the happiest people in all the wide world! – A. W. Tozer

If you ask me, "Doesn’t the world need to see Christians as happy in order to know the truth of our faith and be drawn to the great Savior?" my answer is "Yes, yes, yes!" And they need to see that our happiness is the indomitable work of Christ in the midst of our sorrow. – John Piper

While reading Happiness, I was struck by how often we are commanded in Scripture to be happy, and I've been reminded of how much we have to be happy about. Of all people, Christians should be the happiest on earth! The gospel is good news of great joy - good news of great happiness! What a wonderful thing to remember during the Christmas season and throughout the year.

If forgiveness of sins and the promise of eternity in Heaven with Jesus isn't a reason for happiness, then I don't know what is. It is the hope of the Gospel that keeps me going on the hard days. It is the promise of eternal life that brings me happiness when the sorrows of life in a fallen world overwhelm. Pursuing Christ and enjoying His good gifts brings happiness in the midst of suffering.

Happiness was an excellent book to read, and it is one that I will keep on my bookshelf as a reference for years to come. I highly recommend Happiness! This is a message that is needed by Christians today. It is a message that is needed by the world. There is true and lasting happiness to be found, and that happiness is found in knowing Jesus Christ as your Savior and living for Him alone.

Happiness is a good and thorough book. If you aren’t able to read such a long book, you might enjoy 60 Days of Happiness. If you want to read Happiness, you can find it at the EPM store and on Amazon.

Randy Alcorn is an author and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries (EPM), a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching principles of God's Word and assisting the church in ministering to unreached, unfed, unborn, uneducated, unreconciled, and unsupported people around the world. His ministry focus is communicating the strategic importance of using our earthly time, money, possessions, and opportunities to invest in need-meeting ministries that count for eternity. He accomplishes this by analyzing, teaching, and applying biblical truth. 

Before starting EPM in 1990, Randy served as a pastor for fourteen years. He has a bachelor of theology and a master of arts in biblical studies from Multnomah University and an honorary doctorate from Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon, and has taught on the adjunct faculties of both. A New York Times bestselling author, Randy has written more than fifty books, including Heaven, The Treasure Principle, and the award-winning novel Safely Home. His books have sold more than ten million copies and have been translated into more than sixty languages.

Randy has written for many magazines, including EPM's Eternal Perspectives. He is active on Facebook and Twitter and has been a guest on more than seven hundred radio, television, and online programs.

Randy resides in Gresham, Oregon, with his wife, Nanci. They have two married daughters and are the proud grandparents of five grandsons. Randy enjoys time spent with his family, biking, snorkeling, underwater photography, researching, and reading.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

The Second Advent

Cranberry Tea Time: The Second Advent

The Advent season is one of my favorite times of the year. During Advent we remember the promises that God made in years past. We remember the waiting and the longing and the hope of God’s people. We remember that God kept His promise to send a Savior! 

The message of Advent doesn’t end at Christmas. Jesus came to earth to die on the cross in our place. He suffered the wrath of God so that all who believe on Him will never have to suffer God’s wrath. Jesus died and came back to life, conquering death! Now Jesus is in Heaven, and He has promised that one day He will return. The people of God are waiting again. His Second Advent is still to come!

God kept His promise to send a Savior, and He will keep His promise to return to Earth. Jesus will come again. The First Advent was missed by many. The Second Advent will be missed by no one. This time when Jesus comes, He will be coming in all of His glory. He will be bringing reward or judgement. If you know Jesus, this gives great hope. Do you know Him? Are you ready for His Second Advent? 

“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done." Revelation 21:12

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.  And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. 
Revelation 20:11-15 

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” 
Revelation 21:1-4 

“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”  
Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”  
The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! 
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

Revelation 22:12-21

by Isaac Watts
sung by Sovereign Grace

Joy to the World, the Lord has come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the World, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Top Seven Blog Posts of 2017

Cranberry Tea Time: Top Seven Blog Posts of 2017

Hello Friends,

Thank you for reading here at Cranberry Tea Time this year. Whether I know you in real life or not, I am grateful for you, and I am glad to have you as a part of the Cranberry Tea Time community. It has been a joy to write for you and to chat with you this year.

Do you want to know what your favorite blot posts were from Cranberry Tea Time in 2017? Here are the seven that had the most views this year:

I wish you a Happy New Year, and I will see you here in 2018!

Blessings and joy,

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! The Savior is born! I hope you have a meaningful Christmas as we celebrate Jesus coming to earth. 

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. 
The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.  
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 
John 1:1-14

by Sovereign Grace Music

One still night, Mary awoke
Stirred by an angel, she trembled as he spoke
One small child would soon be born
The King of kings will wear a crown of thorns

“Glory to God,” the angels sang
“Immanuel was born for you this day
Peace on earth, good will toward men
Immanuel has come to Bethlehem
Immanuel has come to Bethlehem”

One still night, while Joseph dreamed
He saw a vision within his troubled sleep
One small child, his bride would give
Deliverer delivered to save us from our sin

And to His kingdom there’ll be no end
And to His kingdom there’ll be no end
And to His kingdom there’ll be no end

One still night, a light was shown
That all the darkness could never overcome
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