Wednesday, April 27, 2016

yarn along: books and more books

I am so glad I remembered I love reading.  It is hard to imagine that there was a period of time that I read hardly at all, back when my oldest two were babies.  I realize now that I really could have been reading even then by just deciding to read.  It has been that simple.  If I have a book in a couple convenient locations, I find I am really moving through books at a rate of three a month which I would never have believed a few years ago! I think I can give all credit to the yarn along friends I have made. When The Snow Child was on everyone's yarn along posts three years ago, I checked it out at the library and couldn't put it down and that was it for me. I haven't stopped reading since.

Speaking of The Snow Child, did you know that Eowyn Ivey's second book will be released at the beginning of August?  I have checked often on that author to see if she's written anything more and now a new book is finally coming out.  It's called To the Bright Edge of the World and is available for pre-order on Amazon.   Did you read The Snow Child?  Would you read more by that author?

I finished knitting the little Amanda hat for Ginny's sweetheart on the way and will tuck it in the mail to her this week.  I love that pattern and wanted to cast on another but instead I am finishing up my second of the Memoirs mitts pattern; simple knitting with a simple pattern that will give me something warm and cozy to keep my icy hands warm next winter. 

I finished Gilead by Marilynne Robinson this week and dearly loved it.  My Antonia by Willa Cather will be finished this week too.  I have enjoyed it much more than when I read it in middle school without being mature enough to truly appreciate it. It's really incredible writing of characters and setting. I continue to read A Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola and will immediately start Raymie Nightingale, the brand new Kate DiCamillo book, as soon as it is in for me at the library this week. **Squeal!!**  I can't wait! I love everything she's ever written and have been following the process of this book in anticipation. 

I am listening to Wuthering Heights (audible) and The Count of Monte Cristo (CraftLit), just tiny bits at a time.  I am not making speedy progress with my audiobooks right now but it seems to go in seasons. 

We are talking about getting bees.  That would be a years-long dream come true.  Of course, the way we make decisions is that we will talk about for three more years and then finally do it and then mess it up and not really get started for another year after that.  But we're talking. Maybe by then we'll be at a place where we could have a couple goats or a few sheep...

Joining in with Yarn Along at Ginny's blog as I always do on Wednesdays... Won't you leave me a note in the comments below so I can hop over to visit you too?

Monday, April 25, 2016

the golden evening


For all the saints who from their labors rest,
Who thee by faith before the world confessed
Thy name O Jesus, be forever blessed
Hallelujah, Hallelu

Thou wast there rock, their fortress and their might
Thou Lord their Captain in the well-fought fight
Thou in the darkness drear their one true Light
Hallelujah, Hallelu

I am not who I once was.  The past five years have molded, scarred, stripped, and re-formed me.  I hardly recognize my own soul.  I can't figure out how I feel about that.  

Although I have always struggled with some anxiety and worry, and with some negativity, I used to think of myself as quite happy nonetheless.  I am pretty sure I would have defined myself, even, as a happy, confident person. 

I don't really anymore.  I don't think of myself as an unhappy person now,  But the lightness and self-assuredness of my thinking and planning has faded away and I am much more serious in my heart than I used to be.  I have thought of this change as a bad thing, something to be changed or remedied as soon as possible.  If I'm not depressed (I'm comfortable saying that I'm not) then shouldn't I be able to return to this prior feeling of general happiness that used to characterize my life?  Who am I if I have lost that identity of happy confidence that was once so significant to me?

Recently my friend was sharing how he heard a sermon once that said that even after birth we continue to live as if in the womb for a time.   This made me think of the concept of the "fourth trimester," a common phrase in the birthing world used to remind parents how dependent their baby is going to be, I suppose.  In the sermon the preacher suggested that some people continue in this "fourth trimester" for many many years and then are forced out of it for some reason or another.  There was a specific event in my life about 4 years ago that ended my fourth trimester completely and suddenly, and I have had to face the horrors of the brokenness of the world as it touched very close to our family.  It changed me on a fundamental level; it changed the way I look at the world and in the way I see other people, even those close to me.

Added to that is our move to the mission field nearly five years ago where we daily face significant needs in a sorrowing community, where I frequently spend time with children who suffer abuse and neglect at home from adults who themselves suffered abuse and neglect in their own childhoods.  How does one cling to happiness in this life when surrounded by such suffering and brokenness?

O may thy soldiers faithful true and bold
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old
And win with them the victor's crown of gold
Hallelujah, Hallelu

The golden evening brightens in the west
Soon, soon to faithful warriors comes their rest
Sweet is the calm of Paradise the blessed
Hallelujah, Hallelu

I have had to change my definition of happiness.  I still find some solace in temporal things - reading, knitting, raising my little ones, cooking, gardening.  These are precious gifts that make me happy but not the same kind of buoyant happiness that characterized my youth.  However, I am beginning to realize that there can be a deep solemnity in true happiness.  By solemnity perhaps I mean "weight."  Or "significance."  Certainly the things that make me feel happiness have changed dramatically, but the feeling itself when I am happy is different too.  It is a good feeling, one specifically focused on gratitude to God for that moment, fleeting as it may be, and one that clings to the promise that one day those moments won't be fleeting but will be everlasting.  This part is but a winter breath, a vapor that fades away rapidly, but the coming happiness will be weighty and lovely and full and unending.

But lo! There breaks a yet more glorious day
The saints triumphant rise in bright array
The King of glory passes on His way
Hallelujah, Hallelu

From earth's wide bounds, from ocean's farthest coast
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host
Singing to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
Hallelujah, Hallelu

"For All the Saints" 
one of my favorite hymns, 
as recorded on the album Indelible Grace III
by Dan Haseltine

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

yarn along: baby shower for ginny!

I have been so excited to participate in the virtual baby shower for Ginny hosted by Tracey and am just a little behind the times in getting the gift finished.  I am working on a Baby Amanda Hat, which is one of my all time favorite hats for little ones (there's an adult version too but I've never yet knit it for myself).  I am using Classic Elite Yarns Liberty Wool in a colorway of purples and fuschia.  I love this hat knit in variegated yarns so even though I was thinking I should make stick to natural colors (I know it's Ginny's favorite) I just love this bright and bold girly color.  Congratulations, Ginny, a new baby girl is so delightful!  I wish many blessings on you and your family upon your sweet ones arrival. 


This week I finished my hitchhiker.  I think the fact that stripes go from wide to narrow highlights the asymmetry of the pattern.  I love it. When I am finished with making the baby hat I am still thinking of a Kiddy Vertebrae for Millie in the blue cotton.  I'm not sure about the yardage so I'm weighing my options.  Have any of you knit that pattern before?  It's tricky yardage-wise because it's written for like every single yarn weight imaginable and I don't know if I trust the yardage estimate given that is the same regardless of yarn weight. My yarn is a heavy fingering and so.  And so, we'll see.

I am nearing the end of both my books:  My Antonia by Willa Cather and Gilead by Marilynne Robinson.  The writing of both books is stellar and beautiful but I am entranced by Gilead. It is soothing and beautiful and sorrowful and joyful.  If you haven't read it, I hope you will find a copy and settle into it. 

Happy making and reading to you, my friends and happy baby shower, Ginny!  

Linking up to the Yarn Along party.

Thursday, April 14, 2016


Top:  Point Defiance Zoo; the tiger paced back and forth in front of my girls for a long time.  Incredibly beautiful.

The rest: a short ferry ride across the Puget Sound to get back to Seattle.  I miss the water living here - rivers and irrigation ditches are lovely in their own ways, but are just not the same - so I always appreciate a chance to be near big bodies of water when we head over the mountains.  

I am reading The Tanglewoods' Secret by Patricia St. John and the simple and very personal way a relationship with Jesus is described makes me excited to give this book to Lyddie when I think it's time (it may be time, I will decide after finishing it, but I think it will be better a wee bit on still).  We talk about Jesus so much in our house and, I think, in a very personal way and full of grace and mercy but St. John's descriptions are so simple and uncluttered and are pressing me into a new way to share about Him with my daughters in hopes that they too will have a very experiential relationship with Jesus now or at least in His time.  If you are a mom (or aren't a mom, really) and haven't read anything by St. John to yourself or with your kids, I really recommend it.  I read one last year in the original language and I could only find a modernized version of this book through our library.  I do miss the beauty of the original language so I need to find another copy, but really, the modernization isn't horrendous and seems fairly  natural so it's not the worst thing in the world if I can't.  

I really must get going on our garden but I have been slowly catching up with life this week and can't seem to get my feet under me.  Tomorrow I expect things to be slower and maybe by Friday I will be able to put in a few more seeds. Birthday weeks are fast approaching and so my feet will likely fly right back out from under me with three birthdays in our family over as many weeks...

I hope the spring is beautiful for you whether it's warm or cool still. Are you putting in a garden?  What's your favorite thing to plant?  One of my favorite things to grow is tomatoes but it's too cold still to put those in the ground!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

yarn along: exploring new PNW places

We arrived home Monday night from a lovely trip to the Olympic Peninsula to visit a church at the end of our spring break.  I've spent my whole life in Washington but hadn't ever been all the way up to the tip of the Peninsula, and the town of Sequim is just beautiful.  We visited with a kind couple who showed us around their lovely area - from the waterfront and marina to hilly farmland dotted with cows and crops with the incredible Olympic mountains rising up in the background. There is a Native tribe in Sequim and they have beautiful artwork- totem poles and other designs-  that I loved seeing all around. I hope we get to go back sometime.  

I visited a yarn shop in Sequim called The Local Yarn Shop while Jesse took the girls to a nearby park.  While they ran around, I wandered happily around caressing yarn and trying to decide what to go home with.  I settled on a skein of Madeline Tosh Light in that beautiful gold and orange colorway above.  I am thinking about using it for a Starshower cowl but since I always seem to end up changing my  mind when I get down to casting on a project, I make no promises!  They had really gorgeous yarns, a good variety of high quality options.  After I browsed, I sat down and joined a group of ladies who were knitting away while I waited for Jesse to pick me up - of course I had my knitting because I always have my knitting.  I enjoyed all the clicking needles and beautiful projects trailing into laps and comfortable discussions about cables and errors and how to fix them and how the same pattern can look so different when knit with different colors.   The other skeins of blue I brought home are Berrocco pima cotton that I hope will suffice for a Kiddy Vertebrae for Millie.  I picked those up at Churchmouse Yarns and Teas while we waited for the ferry to take us from Bainbridge Island back over to Seattle.  What a treat to visit two yarn shops in one trip! 

Right now I'm working on Hitchhiker in Cascade Heritage Sock yarn.  Easiest knit of my life... I haven't made a single mistake to unknit. I love how the self-striping is turning out!

I am reading My Antonia by Willa Cather and Gilead by Marilynne Robinson.  Both are very good and I wish I had more time to just sit and devour them but alas that pesky life thing keeps getting in the way.  I am also reading The Tanglewoods' Secret by Patricia St. John (excellent read for children!) and listening to The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas on CraftLit.  

What are you making and reading?  I have always loved making but the more time passes, the more it keeps my head and heart in a rhythm to create a thing of beauty.  Especially on a week like this where I am surrounded by laundry and overgrown weeds and half-finished home renovations!

Joining with Ginny for Yarn Along.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

yarn along: new everything

Good morning my friends! 
It is spring break here and while my husband rips apart and puts back together our family's only bathroom, the girls and I drove to the Seattle area to visit my parents. We have lovely plans; today I am taking them to the Children's Museum in Tacoma for the day while my parents are at work. No, actually, my dear dad asked for time off and is driving over to Yakima to help Jesse with the bathroom. I have such kind parents and I am really grateful to them both! 

I'm so glad I started a project that is fairly mindless knitting for this trip so I can knit and chat easily enough. I cast on a Hitchhiker shawl with self striping Cascade sock yarn and I really like how it's coming out!

I have two new reads too. Gilead is beautiful writing and speaks deeply to my soul now and then. I have never read anything by this author but I imagine that I will probably read everything by her eventually. I knew that by the end of the first ten pages. It's lovely so far. 

My Antonia by Willa Cather is a reread but since I read and hated it in middle school it is like an entirely new book. I hardly remember it and now the landscape looks so different in my mind as I go. The pictures in my mind from the first time I read it were more like Antarctica. Now when I pick up the book I am transported to Wyoming. I really like it. 

What are you reading or creating? 
I am linking in to Ginny's Yarn Along today. My post is from my phone so the format may look different than usual, I'm not sure! Happy Wednesday, I hope it is a beautiful spring day where you are as it seems to be here!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

lambish march


Spring is full upon us.  The wind yesterday wasn't cold enough to even chill the air and I kicked off my shoes as I watered and weeded.  School plans were abandoned in favor of other educational pursuits: we picked out flowers at the nursery and got our hands dirty nestling the roots in the soil.  We wandered into the thrift store and ran our fingers over book spines and savored words well past lunchtime and came home more than a dozen treasures for as many dollars.

 I couldn't believe my eyes:  Anno's Counting Book?  Elizabeth Enright?  Dickinson?  Barbara Cooney?  Some of my favorite children's book authors and illustrators!  

On the way home from church on Sunday, Rosie said, "Mommy!  Jesus isn't in the tomb anymore!"
"You're right, love!  Where is he?"
(eyes shining and face alight) "In my HEART!!!"  
Hallelujah - out of the mouths of babes.

One Memoirs mitt is complete and one underway.  I'm planning something next with a skein of Cascade Heritage prints fingering but haven't settled on a pattern. Socks would be a logical choice for such a sweet self-striping yarn but I just don't that excited about sock knitting at this stage of my life.  Maybe they're too hidden and too functional for me. I'm sure all you reading this who are sock enthusiasts think there's something wrong with me! I'm getting better at using the Ravelry browse function so I'm spending way too much time looking at patterns lately!  I'm really liking how this knitter's Hitchiker using the same yarn (in a different colorway) looks so I'm leaning toward that pattern and feeling excited about it. 

 I am gathering materials to cross-stitch Rosie this Shepherd's Bush stocking.  It's a bit pricey to buy it all so I started this month and will order the second half next month.  By then I will have my Posie Gets Cozy sampler done and I can start right in with no delay. I was second guessing the purple-pink tones for a project that I hope will be used for many years at Christmas and was a bit relieved when the floss arrived and the purple is much more like a soft gray than a bright lavender.  The photo of the project isn't in the best light.  I love Shepherd's Bush patterns, a love I inherited from my mom.

I finished reading Outlander this week.  Halfway through the book I wasn't as enthralled as I wanted to be so I have decided to skip the rest of the series and just try watching the show eventually which was really the reason I was re-reading the first part of the series anyway - I try to always read before watching anything but when you kind of just want a book to be over so you can read something else it's a sign.  I was so close to the end by the time I realized I felt this way that I figured another 150 pages (out of 850) was worth finishing to call it done on my book list.

I'm nearly finished reading The Prairie Thief  by Melissa Wiley which is excellently written and completely delightful.  I can't say enough wonderful things about it.   I have it from the library but I know it will end up in on our family's bookshelf one of these days, probably as a gift to a girl. I'm also nearly finished with King Arthur by Howard Pyle and I feel like I finally have a grasp on some of the Arthur mythology beyond that which I retained from my childhood watching of Disney's The Sword in the Stone - eek.  I'm also listening along with CraftLit to The Count of Monte Cristo but I'm several episodes behind.  I have too many podcasts I enjoy and can't keep up with any of them in my limited listening time! 

We are watching season one of the Amazon show "Orphan Black."  Have you seen it?  Jesse wants to binge watch it but it's bordering on too dark for me, especially to binge-watch but I am hooked and enjoying it in one-episode doses.  If you like action packed intrigue you may like it (although I must warn about some sexual themes and scenes and violence that I could do without but what show doesn't include those these days?).  Our tacit agreement is that we can watch one episode if we also watch an episode of Downton Abbey season three, which is where we left off several years ago...  aren't I a tricky fox?  

Happy spring, my friends.  I hope March is going out like a lamb for you and I hope to see many of your projects and pages today!  Joining with Ginny for Yarn Along!