Thursday, November 26, 2015


The snow was a surprise gift.  We spent all of last winter groaning for snow and wishing for the beauty it brings to our brown winter landscape. We fretted this summer about the water levels and the economic problems the lack of winter snow causes in our agriculture community and felt sad when the experts recommended another dry, warm winter to come.  The "possible freezing rain" turned from a crunchy ice overnight to the powdery soft layer of perfection.  This day's gift was clearly more than just a spirit-lifter for the children but was a quiet reminder from the One who made the weather that He's taking care of it all and His plan is perfect. 

This year I noticed that the snow-gear preparations went almost like a machine.  When did my babies get independent enough to need only minor help like zipping up snow mittens and fastening boots?  I slow to wonder - this is growing up to a mother; the sweet relief of their maturing mingled with the grief that they don't need me so much anymore.  Will there come a day when they don't need me at all for anything? I wonder, then remember how much I still need my own mama, no longer for pulling my hair into a ponytail or tying my shoes but for wisdom and love and listening.  I hope I always point my girls to Jesus and the steadfast love of our loving Father.  They need that now and they need that always and isn't that what a mother is for?  Isn't that the reason we feed tummies and wipe chins and tuck into blankets on a cold night?  

The snow brings many smiles and hours of happy play outside and I am thankful.  Thankful for my husband and his love for his daughters and the pulling of the sled while the snow whirls down and the squeals of tipping over into white pillows of snow.  Thankful for the turkey who gobbled around our land for a few short months and is about to go into the oven and baked crisp and golden next to the luscious bread stuffing.  Thankful for the growth of family and a restoring of joy when it slips and pumpkin rooibos tea and His promise of restoration for all His creation and His strength for this day. 

Happy Thanksgiving, my dear friends.  May it bring blessings and comfort and peace no matter where you are and what you do. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

yarn along: silly

Hello, my friends, and welcome to my little corner again. The snow fell this week and we heaved a sigh of relief that maybe this winter will bring more snow and rain than last year and that maybe next summer wouldn't be quite so dry in the Pacific Northwest.  It is nice to see so much snow on Mt. Adams from our driveway view.  Thankful. 

I have more projects going right now than usual; if you've followed my story for any time it's pretty obvious I'm a one- - or at most, two - knitting WIP girl but here are three, not to mention the other little sewing projects I am working on.  I am nearly finished with the sweet foxy cowl for my friend's little one (the orange chunky Wool-Ease above), and have knit a few more rows on my Hitofude, and have a little something blue in the background that I can't talk too much about here.  The sun rises late and sets early now so that I often forget during the daylight hours to take my weekly bookish yarn photo until after dark.  Instead of trying again when I was dissatisfied with my photos this week I just had some fun with editing instead.  The colors in real life are much more vibrant than this pencil sketch filter. Silly. 

I am reading and savoring The Warden and the Wolf King, the final book of the Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson. So. Good.  Speaking of Andrew Peterson, here's a link to one of the songs on his Advent album. Today I am rejoicing that God provided a way for His judgement to pass over us by the incredible sacrifice Christ made in my place. Mmm.  Listen.  Rejoice with me. 

Happily linking up with the Yarn Along joy at Ginny's Small Things blog.  Leave me a note if you stop by and I'll be excited to visit you too if I haven't already!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

eden undone




The world is a mass of crazy; down the road, around the world, within each of our own hearts, and we all sorrow again together for the sufferings of our brothers and sisters at the hands of evil trying to stifle the light.  The shootings, bombings, beheadings; these are words I can stand only to glance over, knowing there are a host of other words involving smaller deaths of heart, and body, and emotion that to speak aloud tonight would feel like the precipice of some grief I am uncertain I could recover from falling off.  

Over it all and through it all stands the Designer, a feeling-loving God who sorrows over the broken messes we have created.  A God who loves justice and is not okay with our messes, the big messes and the small messes, a Father who longs to gather each child and mother and father and grandmother as a hen gathers her chicks and we run away determined and mad for... what?  Self?  Gain?  Control?  Comfort?

He soothes and quiets and gathers and rejoices over us again, then again again. For the joy set before Him, for the prize he was gaining - US - he endured the cross of shame and suffering.  He squeezed Himself, that infinite and all-powerful Word, into the skin and bones and veins of His creation, not just in allegory but in reality and lived all the demands of the righteousness we scorn and fail. This for you, for me.  For us together.  An insurrection turned upside down and inside out, our souls are pieced back together, the atrocious rending of Eden undone and the sutures on our broken hearts closing. "While we were yet sinners {at enmity with Him}, Christ died for us."

And the earth spins and the sun shines and clouds rain.  The leaves drift slowly from the trees and settle into ponds and musty sweet decomposition scents the wet air, a fragrance from my younger days that I don't often find here.  Crabapples cling tenuously to branches bare and I gather mittens and hats on my lap and carry them like mothers everywhere carry the burdens of their children.  I watch quiet, content to intrude only when necessary because the world of imagination and dreams needs no adult intervention.  That world His children are returning to, the one where the Fairy Tale is True and the King will come riding on a white horse and put all things right and indeed, we know in an unseen way that He is doing that even now.  

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

yarn along: dust


My friend at church has a little girl a bit younger than my Millie and she wondered if I could make a hooded cowl like Millie's raccoon for her daughter.  Millie and her little one are so cute together and just love each other.  They can often be found squealing and chasing each other around whenever they are together.  I set out to make a cowl and found out that this sweet girl likes foxes so here I am knitting another Ryder Raccoon but this time in orange and black.  I am running out of orange and realized I should have checked the yardage before leaving the store.  Simple knit mostly in stockinette in LionBrand Wool-Ease. 

My Hitofude is kind of quiet this week, I had to still unknit another row, and with the pleasure of a fast and chunky project in my hands with a recipient all lined up, I knew my cardigan wouldn't hold a grudge.

A dust storm blew in yesterday afternoon with what must have been 60-70 mph wind gusts and a steady wind of at least 30 mph.  It was eerie watching it approach when I went to take the trash out.  The brown angry dust clouds were moving quickly across the sky and just beyond them was the blue sky and it looked like a bruise of epic proportions.  Jesse's car blew halfway off the out-of-the-way road (against even his brakes) when he was trying to get home and the visibility was so bad where he was stranded that he couldn't even see six inches in front of him, so he wasn't about to ask a friend to come rescue him.  He wasn't too far from the house of some people we know from church so he thought he would try to make it over there on foot but it was impossible with the wind and the dust whipping around him so he got back in the car.  Soon after, he saw police lights; a sheriff was leading school buses through the dust and Jesse got in the sheriff's car and eventually made it home.  We have no idea what has happened to his car but I guess we'll find out soon enough.  The irony is that he was taking it in this morning to see about an insurance claim from when he backed into something, and the guy called to remind him about his appointment while he was being rocked back and forth in the car hanging halfway into a ditch. When we were on the phone together I could literally hear the wind hitting his car and thought he had on his windshield wipers scraping on a dry windshield.  It was crazy.  Getting a phone call from your husband in the middle of a windstorm that starts with, "Honey, I think I'm trouble," is never good.  Seeing the dust that blew into his pockets in the brief time he tried outside was unsettling too, an unwelcome souvenir of his anxious afternoon. I was so thankful that a policeman happened to be coming by with the buses and thankful again when he walked in the door unharmed. God was gracious to us in this. 

I'm reading The Warden and the Wolf King by Andrew Peterson, the last of the Wingfeather Saga.  I started listening to A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain on CraftLit- back episodes.  I am not even halfway through the first chapter so I can't say how I like it yet. Still listening to War of the Worlds and King Lear but I can't listen to either of those as I'm laying in bed trying to go to sleep - way too intense - so my time to listen to those are minimal just now.  If you're wondering why, you could ask those two munchkins pictured above: they are keeping me busy along with their little sister.  

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

yarn along: calmed chaos

The longer I knit the more I realize what it gives me, to hold this untamed potential and shape it into Something. Created from dust in the image of Divine Wonder, I of course have a yearning to take chaos and calm it, pull beauty from it, and stand back to admire. It is very good.
Even when my object rebels, like today, I still love it and see in my mind's eye what I mean for it to be. So when the yarn seems to have a mind of its own, I slowly unravel all the wrong and shape it again. Only--  my attempts also are flawed and my response to imperfections infinitely impatient compared to the One whose will is always perfectly accomplished, who works all His holy will with a firm and loving hand (speaking of which, I will hereafter always hear a toddler voice yelling "Hoe-wee Wiihhhhwww" in answer to the catechism question.)

I am still reading The Warden and the Wolf King, eager to see the conclusion and how the deepest evil is conquered. Lyddie is reading Here's a Penny by Carolyn Haywood aloud to me and her sisters who want to cuddle on my lap all three together while she reads. It is exactly what I wanted for part of our circle time. Perfect for her reading level and so sweet but not schmaltzy. The little boy was adopted as an infant and now in first grade his good friend is jealous of him over the fact that he is getting a kitten when she can't have her own and tries to make him feel bad as if he isn't his parents "real" child. Of course this does upset him and he must figure out how to deal with this situation. All this in chapters one and two! The interactions between Penny and his mom are precious and realistic and my girls felt that too, I could tell by the way they petted my hair and nuzzled my cheek. 

Joining in with the Yarn Along hosted by Ginny today and looking forward to seeing all the other beautiful creative work being shared there.

Friday, November 06, 2015

glimpses: november joys

We are busy picking apples here before the deep freeze comes, but even now there are very few left on the trees.  A mama and calf in the pasture down the way seem to like our visiting hour; the calf trots toward the children every time they break into a run, like it wants to play. Gideon, our big mutt, wants to play too but scares away the calf with his bark.  Maybe he doesn't want to play; he is an excellent guard dog so maybe he feels we endangered despite the fence separating us from the cows.  

I light candles again in the evening but not as often as I should.  It always takes me a few weeks to get in the groove of candles after the heat of summer and even the warmth of late fall wanes.  I love to watch my children play outdoors.  Today Lyddie made a "garden" in the hill of topsoil in the garden.  The old chicken wire fence surrounding our garden has been torn out and will be replaced eventually with another something - maybe a split rail fence of sorts or a picket fence.  As always I have big dreams and limits everywhere I look.  

I take an extra blanket to bed now, though it's not as cold as it will be.  When you sleep in the same bed as someone else, there is inevitably a space where the sheet stretches between you that leaves your back or shoulders uncovered if you are facing away from them - or is it just me?  So I find myself waking cold.  Since we still have not replaced our windows tomorrow seems to be plastic-on-the-windows day. It is amazing how much it helps insulate especially our cold bedrooms.  I still sigh for a woodstove or fireplace of some kind but I am thankful for our efficient central heat and can be content enough that we are warm. 

The sky is often wild and blue or orange or salmon, but today the sky was a soft lavender and pale blue.  Clouds speed across the sky and the light changes from a bright rich yellow to a cold and hazy purple.  We shiver and draw our sweaters close.  The children were delighted to dig out their handknit mittens and Millie, my yarn-lover wears them everywhere.  She also wants to sleep in her new sweater from Mimi, and barring that, puts it on first thing in the morning.  That girl is going to be a knitter, I tell ya.  It's time for me to start teaching her.

I daily spend about 15 minutes in the afternoon alone with each of my children.  I am so thankful for that habit that I have built into my day.  Fifteen minutes allows for a good storybook or chapter from a book or even a little work on cross-stitch or knitting or weaving, and several minutes of cuddling and peekaboo and tickling before settling in for our rest hour.  Rosie pulls me to her bed with Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear? every day now, and I lay with my legs and feet dangling off her toddler bed and we talk about the pictures while she connects them to her own life and relationships.  "I'll wear my chair - you'll wear your chair?  I'll wear my chair cause I'm stuck there..."  ----"'tuck in my chair??" Giggle giggle giggle.  Lovey Puppy and Ratty (Watty) rabbit cuddle in close and on lucky days, she sleeps awhile and I get a few minutes in the middle of the day to read in the quiet.  

Thursday, November 05, 2015

homeschool chatter

 Taking the seventh week off of school was a perfect plan last week.  The most important thing it provided for me was a chance to reflect and think about the past six weeks, the first little stint of our homeschooling.  I decided to add and modify a few things but overall was really pleased.  We have started back to our little routine again this week refreshed and ready.  I am pressing to start the morning a bit earlier to ensure a longer time outdoors for them after schoolroom time and before lunch.  Another benefit was that Lyddie was really excited when it came time for circle time together in our cozy schoolroom with the fire crackling (and the really loud groaning feeder for the pellet stove, ha).

We are reading My Father's Dragon aloud and all three girls squeezed onto my lap or on the arms of my comfy armchair to see the pictures and listen.  I like for Lyddie to practice reading aloud so I picked out an adorable Carolyn Haywood book called Here's a Penny for her to read a bit of to me each day.  I haven't previewed the whole thing but it seems really sweet and is a perfect reading level for her. She was especially excited when it mentioned that Penny is six years old, since she is turning six in two weeks (gasp!).

The weather has turned cold finally and I'm closing up shop in the garden, leaving only the cold weather plants in the ground - kale, lettuce, brussels sprouts, broccoli... Winter is on its way (or "vinter" as Rosie calls it).