Plarn Balls {for Operation Christmas Child Boxes}

For years, I've loved the Samaritans Purse Operation Christmas Child Box ministry! We've packed boxes with our small children as a family and now pack dozens of boxes with our church family as part of our way of spreading the gospel across the world.

My mother in law recently let me in on a little project she's been working on for our boxes- Plarn Balls! "Plarn" is short for "plastic yarn". Plarn is made by cutting plastic grocery bags into strips, which are then strung together into a single long strand, like yarn. She used to make water proof mats with a group of ladies as a ministry to the homeless. Since that time, she has discovered endless uses for this recycled material. You can use plarn to crochet sturdy, reusable tote baggs, purses, pool/beach bags, doormats, and more.

Today I want to share her awesome idea, how to make plarn, as well as the pattern for the plarn balls that will fit perfect into OCC boxes!

How to make plarn

  • Lay bag flat and fold it in half lengthwise.
  • fold bag in half again.
  • cut folded bag into loops, discarding handles and bottom.
  • Knot lops together to form a single strand.
  • Roll the strand into a ball and crochet or knit as you would with yard.

Plarn Ball Pattern

Abbreviationss
  • st/sts- stich/stiches
  • sc- single crochet
  • sc 2 tog- single crochet 2 together

Round 1: Make a foundation row with 6 st using the magic ring method. Optional, but highly recommended, place a st marker at the beginning of the round, moving it to the first stitch of each new round as you go.

Round 2: 2 sc in each st around (12sts)

Round 3: 2 sc in next st, sc in next st around (18sts)

Round 4: 2 sc in next st, in next 2 sts around (24sts)

Round 5: 2 sc in next st, in next 2 sts around (30sts)

Round 6-10: sc around (30sts)

Round 11: sc 2 tog, sc in next 3 sts around (24sts)

Start filling iwth plastic straps or plastic bags.

Round 12: sc 2 tog, sc in next 2 sts around (18sts)

Round 13: sc 2 tog, sc in next st around (12sts)

Round 14: sc 2 tog, until the opening end is closed enough to tie off.

Weave in the ends hiding inside the ball.

Cut plarn 1" wide when marking plarn.

[note: I no NOTHING about crocheting so I won't be able to answer an questions in that regard- so so sorry! I just copied this pattern exactly as my MIL wrote it having not idea what any of it meant. Also, remember food items are prohibited so no filling the balls with beans...I don't know who would have had that bright idea :/ lol] 

I'm so excited that more and more people are falling in love with this simple but life-changing ministry!!! Click learn more about Operation Christmas Child!

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When an Open Door ISN’T from God

We've all heard about how we shouldn't freak out when God closes one door, right? "He'll always open another. Or a window. Just praise Him in the hallway." they'll say. But no one tells you how to determine if that tempting open door is from God...

Most would assume if there's nothing inherently wrong with said open door, then it must be opened by God. But I'm here to say I've seen Wide Open Doors that were very tempting, with their promises of better pay, nicer neighborhoods, closer to family, less stress, ease of transition, and on and on. I've yet to find scriptural evidence that American Dream promises are part of God's will for our lives. Many will listen to your predicaments and try to offer wise counsel but most will still just look for the easy path thinking that must be God's will because things are falling into place.

Don't get me wrong, if we look for it, God's hand will be on and in what He has called us to do. When we seek where He is already at work, we'll easily find a rough path He's already blazed. BUT that path may look like a jungle to those on the outside and not everyone's path will be cut the same.

After chasing Jesus to a new town to plant a church, having our space wiped out by a tornado, and then being portable for three years, to say finding God's will is a little complicated would be an understatement. Although our church plant is now four years old, we are still in infancy stage yet few of the resources of a genuinely new church plant are still available to us. With that being said, my hubs and I still feel God is not done in this city. In the midst of what God is doing in this city, we see our part of it still playing out. We decided to give up our salary in order to afford our new space and to do ministry through the valley.

In our efforts to still give most of our time to ministry, we have been seeking job opportunities that will allow us that flexibility and still bring in enough income to provide for our family. Enter two weeks ago, where I received a message about the opportunity to sell a product I'd been ingredient by for quite a while. I read the message, thought for a while, and talked with my hubs about it. I stared through the open door and saw all the pieces falling into place. I spoke with my friend on the phone and her enthusiasm was contagious. I saw the potential for this business to not only provide for my family but to accomplish the dreams I had for us in the future.

I signed up and started full force. I'm talking, worked my way through the daily start up suggestions, checking off boxes, listening to training's...lots of training's, and feeling good. After the boxes were nearing an end, only a few remained: Share your story. Sell to your friends. Build your team.

The one thing I lacked was -passion- for what was being sold. Don't hear me wrong, the business I signed up with is selling quality products that work, they have a great business model, and it pays well! I respect each women I know who works for them; which is one of the main reasons I chose to work with this business. I just couldn't get past my gut. As I began messaging friend and family, creating posts to publish, and talking about it with my missional community---it all flopped. It flopped not for lack of effort but because of my lack of passion. None of it set right. I started going through how I got started and where I went wrong in order to make me feel this way.

Confession: I didn't pray about it.

What the smack! The door was wide open. I stared straight into it. All the pieces fell into place. It was smooth. It was a wise financial move. It all made sense. And while tempting. It wasn't God's will. It answered so many of my prayers in a nice neat little package. I could even validate it with the potential to attain my honorable dreams for my family. But it still was not God's open door. for me. at this time.

I swallowed my nasty tasting mouthful of pride and quit. Yep. Lets just call it like it is and I Q.U.I.T. Oh, how I love being a flake, not following through with things, disappointing people, and quitting one more stankin' thing. {end sarcasm}

Today, this is me, waving at you from inside a different, slightly cracked, open door my hubs and I chose to walk through together. Sometimes walking in the light isn't as clear as we'd like. Sometimes God's will and provision isn't all warm and fuzzy. Sometimes His open door leads into the middle of town, in a box on wheels, where God can show intentional love in a bizarre way while ideally providing a little income for your family.

Say hello to...The Frozen Eagle shaved ice truck. What What! This new adventure is already proving to be a fun family endeavor that seems to have been opened by God!

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Be THAT Neighbor

My big girls have been begging to play in the side yard so they could climb the tree. I agreed they could IF they did a bit of yard work for $1 each. Last night and this afternoon, they've been hard at work.

Image may contain: one or more people, tree and outdoor

I am so thankful for a safe neighborhood with sweet, caring neighbors who help me look after my #lotsoflittles and don't scold me for parenting how I see fit.

Be THAT neighbor. Supporting. Encouraging. Ring the door bell, don't call the cops. Have quick but meaningful chats in the yard. Giggle at bikes left in the wrong driveway. Swoon over how fast kids grow. Memorize names. Care. <3

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Childhood in the 20-teens

I wonder what my kids will call growing up in this era? Turn of the century? Whatever they call it, I hope that it seems set apart, different, and more magical than what their "generation" will be named for.

I don't want them to have a 50s childhood where they remember nickers and colared shirts. I don't want them to be a 60s-70s childhood that may have been great but tainted by a a wild culture shift. I don't want them to be an 80s-90s-or even 2000 childhood like I had. I want them to have beautiful, creative, fun, worth-while aspects of all those that God can use to shape how He wants to use them for His glory.

#childhood in both its extremes:
Three big #treeclimbers set free in the side yard before lunch aaaaaand....

Image may contain: plant, tree and indoor

#pouting preschooler who wasn't given that much freedom just yet. At least hers cute and says things like, "My wanna go out dare." and "It hot; I can wear my tiny pants [aka shorts]!"
#realness #motherhood

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About #realness and Being a Cog

This seems to be my personality lately:

Not nearly the woman, wife, mom, Christ follower I'd hoped to be at this stage in my life.
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This morning I just knew today would be great. I could totally accomplish the simple list that needed to be tackled for the day. I accidentally hit a button on messgenger that had me taking selfies with flowers that air brushed me and covered my "5 head" with cute flowers. Then life.
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Spurts of energy and high aspirations have me signing up for co-op meet-ups, open houses, topical Homeschool lessons, museum outings, and more.
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Then reality hits hard, 6 kids daily needs add up, I remember I'm exhausted by interaction [even just my family], my body is getting older, my mental capacity can't keep up with my well intended service, and all I want to do is write, or close my eyes to make the head ache stop.
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God is trying to rewrite this story I had written so deep in me. What I thought was my fairytale, happy ending, no-really-I-have-my-life-all-together novel.
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The #realness is--> I, my friends, do not have an airbrushed life. I am a cog.
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A worn down, rusty, not very large, seemingly insignificant cog, yet vital part of whatever awesomeness God is working for HIS STORY. His fairytale. His happy ending. His, you'll-never-have-it-together-but-I-always-do novel.

 

IMG_6423

see that tiny purple piece inside the orange one? that's me--> tiny cog

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