God’s “Progressive Gift” to Us at Christmas–and All–Time

Phyllis Beveridge Nissila

God’s “progressive gift”? It all starts here: For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13).

My sister Barbara, whose handiwork and art is often featured in my headers (including the current one, 12/5/17), is an expert knitter, as well (and crochet-er and lace maker). She also paints pictures from photographs. For example, an 18×36″ picture of our grandmother carrying her violin outside on a snowy winter’s day  (circa 1921 when Grandma was in Teacher’s College, called, then, Normal School). This hangs in my house. I love this painting. View it, below.

But back to Barbara’s knitting.

Barb told me on a recent visit that there is a kind of “progressive knitting challenge” she found Online. Each week you get only a few of the directions and you don’t know what the final product or appearance will be until you are well underway. You could be knitting a hat, a scarf, an afghan. The most important instruction is, of course: follow the directions exactly and, I assume (because of my, failed knitting projects), keep the tension consistent.

I thought that at this time of gift-giving, this would be an apt metaphor for God’s “progressive gift” to us, i.e., how with dedication, time, and keeping a consistent focus on His Word and His wisdom, at length, His pattern for our lives will be fully revealed.

And it will be good; delightful, even.

But that’s not all He gifts us.

In you and me–God’s work in progress, so to speak–He also gifts us with the faith to keep going, and to know that His plans for us are good, and not evil, “to prosper…and not to harm (us), plans to give (us) hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). This is analogous to the faith the knitters taking up the progressive challenge must have to continue working on the mystery project.


Here’s a sampling of Barbara’s more recent knitting projects, a collection of mini mice she made for a local fund raiser, and the picture she painted of Grandma–from an old photograph.

Mini mice collection.

Grandma: Florence Trepanier LaChapelle, 1903-1969

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Another Story to Be Thankful For: “Where Were You?”

Phyllis Beveridge Nissila

My brother Andy has put together an extraordinary video I want to share with you as another Thanksgiving offering. Both the subject matter (the “Big Bang”) and the background music (“Magnum Mysterium”) put me in mind of Job, Chapter 38:4-38.


https://drive.google.com/file/d/1mX80-qr43S7vwWGGT9UgFHLpAX77n559/view?usp=drivesdk Continue reading

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The Travelers: A Thanksgiving Story

RE-POSTED from November 2013 and 2015 because I love this story. 

My brother-in-law shared this story. With his permission, I post it here. In a world heavy with cynicism perhaps this will lighten your heart as it did mine this, and past, Thanksgiving seasons.

By Gene Taylor

stock-photo-20399839-vintage-american-truckMy mother, Rosemary, was an angry person.  She didn’t know why and that bothered her, not so much that she cared about how her anger affected others but that it was a facet of her being that she was not in control of. Continue reading

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When Prayer Is Passive Aggressive Abuse and How to Deal with It

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It’s Never Too Early To Enjoy Some Christmas Mirth: Every Hallmark Channel Christmas Movie Ever

Phyllis Beveridge Nissila and Andy Beveridge

My brother Andy and I are, we confess, already watching Hallmark Christmas movies–even though the neighborhood kids are still coming down from their Halloween sugar highs and Thanksgiving turkeys are still in the freezer awaiting the big day.

We take all the ribbing we deserve for this—from each other and other siblings who do not share this (pre)season penchant—and yet, well, we watch, even though the scripts are as predictable as fake snow in L.A. The topic of all-too-predictable plot lines came up between us in a series of back-and-forth e-mails recently that went something like this: Continue reading

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“Another Jesus?” by Dale Rudiger at The Ex-Catholic Journal

I have previously featured some of Dale Rudiger’s writings in various posts, here. He writes of his experiences coming away from Roman Catholicism with compassion and clarity. As referenced in his commentary, below, and elsewhere, there are myriad reasons for feeling greatly compelled to remain in the system (as per the mandates of RC doctrine), but as innumerable other ex-Roman Catholics will attest, myself included, Jesus is greater. And He understands the struggle.  Continue reading

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Is It The Silent Treatment or Emotional Survival, Part 6: “Losin’ All Your Highs and Lows”

Phyllis Beveridge Nissila

A segment of the lyrics to the old Eagles’ tune, “Desperado,” that I listened to again, recently, speaks to the topic of this series. These words: “You’re losin’ all your highs and lows; ain’t it funny how the feelin’ goes away”  speak  to withdrawal from another person, needed or not, and how that can damage one. Continue reading

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