january

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She’s a red bird out in the winter landscape
all barren, bleak and brown
but made new
Because a child is here
and wherever a child is, there is life and curiosity and wonder
all things made new again.

It is early January and we woke on Sunday without electricity.  We lit our fire and got a text that church services would be cancelled for the day, so we snuggled in for a cozy morning.  Ice came down, blanketing everything, turning our bleak ordinary into something new, magical.  As soon as she had eaten breakfast, Phoebe bundled up in her red Phoebe sweater which I knit for her a few years ago (it still fits!) and went out to explore.  I went with her, exploring our usual and ordinary little plot of ground which looked so transformed by the ice.  All morning we heard limbs cracking and exploding in our neighborhood.  Generators were running.

I’ve been in a reflective state these past couple of weeks.  It used to be that I spent much of December reflecting on the end of the year and journaling, setting goals and listening to the Lord for His Word to me for the coming new year.  Now with two children’s birthdays and the Christmas festivities, I am far too busy in December for much reflection at all.  I’ve realized that January has become that time for me, and I give myself the whole month to go slow, to put my ear to God’s Word and listen.  It has been good to be in ordinary time, no big celebrations, just the quiet return to old paths.

I still haven’t processed it yet, this changing of years, the closing of the last and the start of the new.  I find myself more discouraged, tired and overwhelmed this year than I think I’ve ever been.  I feel like my plate is incredibly full, even as I watch other women juggle far more than I.  I feel my smallness.  I feel quieted.  I also feel more hopeful and trusting of the Lord than I think I’ve ever been going into a new year–can all those realities coexist at once?  I’m not sure how.

I find myself disoriented by it all, like somehow I’ve lost my way a bit.  My ear is to the ground, my face set firmly on His, my feet retracing all the old and worn paths.  It is good; He is my good.  Nothing can separate us from His love.  Nothing else will satisfy us.

I pray you and I hear His voice early in our year.  That we seek Him about the year to come and wait for a word from Him, a glimpse of Him, more than watchmen wait for the morning.  That we persist like a lover in pursuit of her Beloved.  I pray that we see the little red birds in the bleak winter landscape, all things ordinary made beautiful and new.  All the things we think are tired, old, lost — redeemed.

“You shall no longer be termed Forsaken,
and your land shall no longer be termed Desolate
but you shall be called ‘My Delight is in Her,’
and your land ‘Married,’
and your land shall be married.
For as a young man marries a young woman,
so shall your builder marry you,
and as a bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
so shall your God rejoice in you.”
Isaiah 62:4-5

 

yarn along

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Oh, how good it is to begin new things.  Fresh starts are on all of our minds this January season, aren’t they?  I finished and blocked my Tecumseh sweater yesterday and I cannot wait for it to dry.  It’s my first color work project and one of my knitting goals for last year was to try color work and brioche, both of which I did manage to accomplish in 2018!  I cast on a new shawl with delicious Woolly Mammoth Fibre Co. Wensleydale 4 ply that I’ve been sort of hoarding.  It is such a different fiber than anything I’ve worked with before and I’m really, really loving it.  I cast on for a shawl with it and I need to check gauge and make sure it’s working well at this needle size.  I think this knit is going to be so relaxing and mindless, while producing a very simple and wearable piece.

I also finished The Quotidian Mysteries last night and plan to start reading The Fledgling today, which I found at a book sale over the summer.  Reading fiction sounds really nice right now.  It feels good to finish and begin new things.

Joining with Nicole’s weekly Crafting On.
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horses for her eighth

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Just after winter solstice eight years ago, a bright and shining light was born into this world.  You, our sweet Phoebe girl.  Our horse crazy girl.  Vivacious, energetic to no end, singing and talking and dancing all the day long.  We knew we would love our little baby girl but we had no idea how everything would change the moment we laid eyes on you.  You came so quickly I was still in shock when I was staring into your dark eyes and wrinkly forehead.  Were you really here?  Were you really real?  You stole our hearts then and you still have them now.  It’s not easy being first, being the oldest, but I can’t think of someone more well-suited for the task.  You are a leader if ever there was one, never shy or unfriendly.  You are brave and bold, my girl, facing your own set of challenges with a cheerful spirit.

Eight years old feels grown up in ways that make my momma heart ache a bit raw.  Normally on your birthdays you are up before the sun and can’t wait to open all of your presents at once.  You have grown up this year, I suppose, and instead you spread the opening all throughout the day even until just before bed.  You received a horse for your Kaya doll that we found at our favorite consignment store as well as a barn and corral for your other horses.  You and I have so enjoyed the Misty of Chincoteague book series so we gifted you this Album of Horses book by the same author.  Your birthday sweater was still damp on the blocking boards but you couldn’t wait to wear it and your sparkly purple skirt as well.  You have worn your sweater literally every day since your birthday and truly you are the most knit worthy person I know!  It’s a joy making things for you.

Your daddy and I are so very proud of you Phoebe, thankful to know you and humbled to raise you.  We hope you grow this year in your love for God and for His Word, that you continue to seek Him and rest in His favor over you, His love that can’t be measured or lost.  We hope its a year full of growth, adventure, learning, and laughing.  Happy 8th birthday!

Love,
mom

Ps. Phoebe’s cake is the Chocolate Layer Cake made from the Paleo Kids Cookbook (highly recommend if you’re looking for ways to recreate children’s favorite foods and snacks) and I found organic and naturally dyed sprinkles from our local food co-op (very pricey though!).  My children haven’t really ever had sprinkles on anything so they were so enamored and excited, which made the cost worthwhile.  The cake seemed like it was going to be a big flop and it wasn’t pretty but it was delicious!

pps.  Amazon links in this post are affiliate links.  (That just means if you click through and happen to also purchase the same item through my permalink I get a very small payment from amazon without any cost to you.  Thank you for supporting this blog and our family!)

december birthday boy

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My sweet Noah man

You are everything kind, tenderhearted, sweet, and brave.  You have a quiet strength, and it’s a good thing with all these sisters around to take care of.  I love the way you love others and care for others, seeing and noticing especially those on the fringes.  It’s a sensitivity I hope you hold onto in this abrasive world.  You love trucks and cars and its all you asked for for your birthday, besides green hand knit socks and a sweater.  (You are so sweet to your momma, loving the things I make for you and wearing them happily, treasuring them.  I don’t know how long that will last so I’m enjoying it while I can!)  You love pouring over books with beautiful illustrations so we bought for you the Nature Anatomy book, and you have been carrying it around with you outside, identifying all sorts of treasures in our yard.  Your birthday was spent first with pancakes, then opening presents with daddy before he had to go to work.  We planned to go the fire station but it was pouring rain and mommy made the rash decision to do a “quick” stop to the walk-in bone and joint clinic to check on phoebe’s foot (which she injured jumping off the stage at church barefoot).  That took far longer than anticipated and we had no time for the fire station and no where to park in all the rain, so we opted for hot cocoa and movie at home instead.  It’s just like you, to sacrifice your plans for others, but we will make it up to you and visit the fire station soon!  I think you still had a fun and happy day.  I love you so much my one and only little man, now six years old and so tall and grown.  It is a joy to see you growing especially in your reading and art skills, as well as in your faith.  You are so quick to remind me that you love me very much but “not as much as I love God.”  May He always have first place in your heart.  I’m so very proud of you.

Love,
mom

yarn along

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I can’t believe I didn’t get any other posts up last week but it was our first week resuming our usual school schedule and getting back into the swing of things.  Phoebe also had some strange cough that really mostly reared its head at night and had coughing fits that would lead to her throwing up for multiple nights in a row.  No fever or congestion at all, so it was really odd, and she said she felt fine.  Anyway, that along with Wren having a rough week sleeping, my own bad case of vertigo, and I felt like I was just surviving the week a bit.  It also rained most of the week so we are endlessly happy to see the sun today and it’s almost 60 degrees!  I’m hurrying to get this up and then we’re getting outside to a local nature area for a walk and play.

I finished the body of my Tecumseh sweater and am onto the first sleeve.  I’m really excited to have this done and ready to wear maybe within the week?!  We’ll see.  Meanwhile I still have like 10 other projects on my brain that I can’t wait to either cast on or keep working on, but I’m trying to stay focused.

My sister-in-law drew my name for Christmas (my family drew names to exchange gifts this year) and part of her gift to me was this book, The Quotidian Mysteries, which is one that’s been on my wishlist for a while!  I’m enjoying it so far.  It is mercifully short, also, which helps me feel like I’m not such a failure when it comes to reading progress lately.

Sorry for my absence last week and I’ll be back in a day or so hopefully with a regular post.

Joining up with Nicole’s weekly Crafting On.
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yarn along

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Hello!  Since finishing up birthday sweaters for all the children which basically consumed my knitting time in November and December (plus a few other gift items), I am turning my attention back to my Tecumseh, which feels so good.  I just split for sleeves and am a few inches past that point now into the last repeat of the charts on the body section.  I like to have multiple projects on my needles so that I can switch back and forth to projects I feel like working on in the moment, or so that I have smaller projects that are easier to travel with, etc., but it is really amazing to see how quickly something can work up if I commit to working on it monogamously.  I may try to force myself to work more faithfully on one project at a time so that I can finish things a bit sooner.  We’ll see.  I have yarn for quite a few projects that I can’t wait to cast on but it’ll be rewarding to wait until I’ve got some projects off of my needles.

Also, I received this book, Homebody, for Christmas from Brandon.  He had seen me admiring it a little while ago and remembered!  So sweet of him.  He really spoiled me for Christmas.  The best part was that he forgot about this gift and being we had such a huge wide tree it was hidden behind the tree and the curtain of our window, so that as we were pulling the tree out and packing Christmas things away this past weekend, I saw the present tucked behind the curtain.  And it was for me!  It made it even more fun and special and I told him now I hope he does that every year, a surprise gift leftover some days after Christmas. 🙂  I’ve been slowly reading through it and savoring it.

My parents gifted us a box set of the Chronicles of Narnia series and we started The Magician’s Nephew this week and are already well into it and loving it.  I’ve never read the whole series so I’m excited to read it through together.

I hope you had a Merry Christmas and have been enjoying some making and reading in your holiday time!

Linking up with Ginny’s monthly Yarn Along today.
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Happy New Year 2019

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Just wanted to pop in here today and say Happy New Year to you lovely folks!  We didn’t send out Christmas cards this year and the pictures above were probably the best I could find of us, so I thought I’d share them here.  We are thankful for countless blessings in 2018 and looking forward to another year growing together, learning, and knowing Jesus earthside.  Wishing you a grace-filled + blessed new year as well!  Thank you for reading along here, commenting, sharing, and journeying along with me and our family.  Our lives and enriched by your company!