when it all sits a bit heavy

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It’s the first of February, the last day of the work week.  I realize I haven’t put up a regular old blog post in a couple of weeks and wanted to say a few words here.  January was quiet and simple for us, with a lot of sickness and thus we hunkered down at home.  With February comes some relief and hope that we will be out and about as normal soon.

I haven’t been taking many photos at home with my camera as I usually do, maybe feeling a bit uninspired and blue.  I’m sure it has to do with being sick and feeling incredibly worn out.  It’s taken every bit of energy just to keep school going for the children while I’ve been sick and wanting just to lie down in bed.  I’ve also been deeply saddened by things happening in the world around me that make me feel quite helpless: for one, the passing of the legislature in NY last week for full-term abortions and even post-delivery “abortions”, which hit me like a punch to the stomach.  I have felt nauseous over it whenever it comes to mind.  I honestly have no words to say other than I’m deeply grieved and I’m praying about ways to take action.

A newborn baby I was praying for passed away last week.  A woman battling cancer dances weary at the possible end of her fight and I can’t sleep, up praying for her, a woman I’ve never met but yet feel so burdened to pray for.

Also, those in the knitting community are well aware of the deeply divisive conversation/debate that has been happening regarding racism.  Though I am not anyone with a voice in the knitting industry, I’ve been reading along, at times very angry, other times anxious and always quite sad.  I have been surprised at how much it has affected me.  I think we can do better than this as a community, we can show more grace, understanding, and kindness.  Then I look around at my own children who squabble and hurt one another often throughout the day, and I understand.  If we can hardly get along with those we love the most, our very own flesh and blood, how much harder is it to get along with those who seem so different from us? How much harder to be kind to those whose beliefs we disagree with?  I find myself constantly instructing my children throughout the day to love one another, “be kind, be kind be kind,” to esteem one another more highly than the object their fighting over.  I weary from repeating it, yet the reminder is always needed.  Left to ourselves, this is humanity.  Even tightly-knit families have rifts and disagreements.  Maybe especially tightly-knit families.  We need to remember that peace with one another is to be treasured above being right, and is a goal worth sacrificing our own thrones and soapboxes for.  Does that mean we sacrifice truth and the fight for what is right and just?  Absolutely not.  But I do think we can stand for what we believe in and for a better world/more equality while treating our fellow man with dignity and respect, and not adding injury to insult.

Sometimes the brokenness of the world sits on us like lead.  It sits so heavy.  At times if I’m honest, I want to shield myself from all the hurt and ugliness, maybe even from my own complicity.  My hands are full of dishes, wiping snotty noses, throwing in the next load of laundry, pulling together the next meal, nursing the baby, teaching the next school lesson.  I am hidden away in my home raising little people — what can I possibly do?  I am reminded: I can pray.  We can pray — with the confidence that our prayers mixed with faith are able to move mountains.  Things that seems impossible, fixed, overwhelming, insurmountable — God is able to level them.  Conversely, when we feel like the very ground beneath our feet is shifting and the world around us rages, we can turn to God, our refuge + strength, a very present help in trouble who tells us not to fear even when the earth gives way and the mountains fall into the sea (Ps. 46).  He makes wars cease, He breaks the bow, shatters the spear and burns the war chariots with fire (Ps. 46:9).  We are destined for a kingdom where peace will reign.

And then the familiar and eternally comforting words of Romans 8:

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.  For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.  For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.  For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.  And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.  For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?  But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.  And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” (Romans 8:18-27)

He is interceding for us continually, He is working while we sleep, working in spite of and even though our weakness.  Let us take heart and trust Him to move the mountains while we sow the small seeds of hope and faith in prayer.  And if we have opportunity to take great steps, then by all means, let us take them!

How has January been for you?  Whoever you are reading along here today, I hope you know you are welcomed in this space.  Thank you for reading my rambling thoughts, however imperfect they may be.

xo

yarn along

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I started over on my cosmic shawl using some beautifully soft superfine merino + alpaca blend yarn that my dad bought for me a few months ago.  I just wasn’t happy with the way the wensleydale was looking in the garter stitch and it’s too special of a yarn to not love the end product.  I will set it (the yarn) aside until I find the right project for it.  In the meantime I’m loving the way this gray yarn is knitting up and I think I prefer this shawl as a neutral anyway.  I have quite a few small projects on the go (a sweater for phoebe, a sweater + hat for wren, socks for me, etc.) and I keep rotating between them all.  I need to just hunker down on each one until it’s done so that I don’t feel quite so scattered.

I’m reading Sylvia’s Farm: The Journey of an Improbable Shepherd (affiliate link) which I originally heard about through Ginny’s beautiful blog some years ago.  I’m thankful for a lot of reading inspiration via her blog.  The chapters are short, winsome, and engaging.  Its been so enjoyable to read in the evenings before falling asleep.

We are supposed to get some ice and snow potentially today.  I hope if you’re getting some wintry weather where you are that you are staying safe and warm and enjoying the coziness!

Linking up today with Nicole’s Crafting On.

yarn along

 

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I’m making headway on my cosmic remix shawl.  I can’t decide how I feel about this pairing of yarn + pattern.  I absolutely love the yarn but I do want to use every bit of these two skeins in a shawl and I want it to be warm and cozy.  This fabric is so light and airy and according to the patten I’m nearing the end of the garter triangle part of the shawl, and I’ve maybe used half of one skein, maybe!  It’s hard for me to check gauge on this fabric but I do believe I’ve gotten gauge, but to me the triangle looks smaller than I expected.  If I rip out and cast on again with a smaller needle size, the shawl will be a good bit smaller still.  I will carry on and see how it goes, but if I do have to rip it out in the end and find a different pattern for the yarn, that will be just fine. 🙂  I have no problems knitting with this yarn over and over again, it is just dreamy in a rustic-soft kind of way.  I haven’t knitted with silk mohair but this reminds me of it, with a silky sheen and a ton of halo.

I’m still reading The Fledgling (affiliate link), and nearing the end.  I like it so far.

Joining with Nicole’s weekly Crafting On.

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.
Amazon links are affiliate links.

 

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