reorienting

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When life crowds in and all the pain and hurt breaks our heart, sometimes we need to escape.  I don’t know what it is about the wide open spaces, the heights, the familiar trails, the quiet of the wilderness and the piercing fresh air, but it truly does wonders.  We are facing some hard things personally and I asked Brandon last weekend if we could spend the day Saturday out hiking somewhere.  I didn’t have the energy to think about where to go, and somehow he knew just to quietly drive me to one of my favorite areas, Black Balsam and the Shining Rock Wilderness area.  We speak few words to each other, I knit on the drive, snap photos while hiking.  Mostly we just enjoy the respite from our every day landscape.  I think about place, and why familiar places can minister so much to our souls, all the memories sewn into the landscape.  I have been coming to these trails since my childhood, but mainly since my high school days when I first fell in love with backpacking.  I have come to these trails many times to be with God, to be in the wide open silence, the whipping wind, the other-wordly play of light and cloud.  Now we bring our children along as we go, feet tracing routes we know like the lines on our hands.  We hike most of the day, five miles in all I think, in which their little feet kept up with our pace with barely a complaint.  We get back to the car around 3 in the afternoon and eat lunch all piled in the hatch of the van, wet and muddy, tired but refreshed.  Souls reinvigorated.  I am so thankful for this little tribe of mine, the way we explore and sojourn together.  These children are so precious to me and I’m so proud of them.  I pray they learn to endure when the way is foggy and unclear, when the weather turns from sunshine to storm.

The mountains feel a bit like they’re moving under our feet and we find ourselves reaching out for that which is immovable and certain.  I can never express how profoundly grateful I am for the scriptures, for the God of the scriptures who is THERE, who speaks, who is unchanging and wholly Other while being intimately close, and for His word which is sure and will endure forever.

I turn to these old words from a treasured commentary by Walter Brueggemann called The Land: Place as Gift, Promise, and Challenge in Biblical Faith:

“Land is a central, if not the central theme of biblical faith…There are no meanings apart from roots.  And such rootage is a primary concern of Israel and a central promise of God to his people.  This sense of place is a primary concern of this God who refused a house and sojourned with his people (2 Sam. 7:5-6) and of the crucified one who had ‘nowhere to lay his head’ (Luke 9:58).

A sense of place is to be sharply distinguished from a sense of space as has been stressed by some scholars.  ‘Space’ means an arena of freedom, without coercion or accountability, free of pressures and void of authority.  Space may be imaged as weekend, holiday, avocation, and is characterized by a kind of neutrality or emptiness waiting to be filled by our choosing.  Such a concern appeals to a desire to get out from under meaningless routine and subjection.  But ‘place’ is a very different matter.  Place is space that has historical meanings, where some things have happened that are now remembered and that provide continuity and identity across generations.  Place is space in which important words have been spoken that have established identity, defined vocation, and envisioned destiny.  Place is space in which vows have been exchanged, promises have been made, and demands have been issued.  Place is indeed a protest against the uncompromising pursuit of space.  It is a declaration that our humanness cannot be found in escape, detachment, absence of commitment, and undefined freedom.

Whereas pursuit of space may be a flight from history, a yearning for a place is a decision to enter history with an identifiable people in an identifiable pilgrimage.  Humanness, as biblical faith promises it, will be found in belonging to and referring to the locus in which the peculiar historicity of a community has been expressed and to which recourse is made for purposes of orientation, assurance, and empowerment.  The land for which Israel yearns and which it remembers is never unclaimed space but is always a place with Yahweh, a place well filled with memories of life with him and promise from him and vows to him.”

Yes, maybe that’s it.  When all is spinning, we need to return to places that remind us of who we are, where we are going, what is sure and unchanging.  Maybe returning to those places is what helps to reorient us to the God of the place, and the promise of His presence with us in all our sojourning.

yarn along

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This beautiful book arrived in my mailbox yesterday and I began the first chapter last night.  Christie Purifoy’s first book, Roots + Sky, was such a gift and came to me at just the right season in my life when we were in the early stages of looking to buy our first home, dreaming of a place to put down roots.  Since then I’ve followed her on instagram (and more recently her podcast called Out of the Ordinary), enjoying the beauty she shares with the world.  In Placemaker, Christie discusses what it means to co-create with God in the work specifically of cultivating beauty. I am always drawn to the theme of beauty–and I’m not talking about skin-deep beauty, but the breathtaking beauty of an arctic landscape, or the neat tidy stacks of laundry, or even the unlikely beauty of a somewhat disheveled home full to the brim with life and laughter.  I’m also drawn to the theme of ‘home’ and the way our hearts long for it, hunger and search after it, and why that is.  So I am eager to see what Christie has to share with us about these things.  I am thrilled to be able to read her words again and to share this book with you!  Yes, I will have a copy to giveaway to one of you readers very soon. 🙂

I’ve been working this week to wrap up a few smaller knitted projects, and in between I’ve been knitting on my cosmic remix shawl which feels like it’s knitting itself.  It’s just quietly and unobtrusively coming together and I can’t wait to wrap up in it once it’s done.  The yarn is so airy and soft.  What are you reading and/or making lately?

Joining with Nicole’s weekly Crafting On.
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sweaters and sunny days

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We recently had a string of sunny, incredibly warm and spring-like days.  It was in the 60s and 70s and everyone in our home wanted their skin in the glorious rich sun.  So we spent as much time as we could outside, playing, picnicking in the yard, trying to soak it up.  I love winter so much and I don’t mind the cold and gray days, but it was a gift to have a short reprieve and remember what is soon coming.  The air held that smell of warming soil and all of us began to think about planting and growing things again.  Buds are forming on the trees and some of the bulbs we planted in the fall are beginning to send up shoots.

Phoebe set to work on planting a little “garden” in a corner of the mulch of their play gym.  She transplanted various weeds and onion grass from the yard and I even overheard her singing to her little plants.  I kept walking through our little garden plot, thinking and planning.  I’m excited for those planting days that will soon be upon us, but I know how much work it adds to our plate as well.  Also, I’m just not quite done with winter yet.  I’m still hoping for a few more snows!

I finished up Phoebe’s flax sweater (with a good few modifications).  Despite my best efforts to modify the neckline and ripping it out a couple of times, it still turned out quite large.  She doesn’t mind it but I wish it wasn’t quite so boat necked.  I shaped the arms a bit more drastically than the pattern called for and also cropped the sweater.  She has been wearing it constantly in rotation with her other hand knits, and I so love that about Phoebe.  She is always so grateful for anything I make for her.  The yarn is some rustic farm yarn from our recent visit to a local sheep farm called Bovidae Farms.  The yarn is dry and toothy and very lanolin-rich.  I loved knitting with it, it’s incredibly warm and every time she wears it she smells like a little lamb.  She’s also been wearing the sweater inside out and it looks just a good worn on the wrong side!  I hadn’t blocked it before taking these pictures of her wearing it and it looks a bit better after blocking, of course.

It has been back to feeling like winter again, as it should for just a bit longer.  We have days of rain ahead of us in the forecast so we are missing that warm sun but we know it’ll be back soon.  In the meantime, we’re happy to have woolen sweaters to snuggle up in.

yarn along

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A couple of years ago when the Syrian refugee crisis was the prevailing news story, I had talked with some friends about wanting to knit items to send over to those displaced.  I am so happy to hear about an organization collecting such donations and a group of knitters participating in the “Keep Syria Warm” knit-a-long, so I jumped on board immediately.  We are knitting this classic kerchief pattern by Fox and Folk, which she offered for free to those participating in the KAL.  It’s a sweet pattern that I had been interested in knitting anyway.  I am hoping to make a few of these to send off by the end of February, and it is a quiet delight to be able to do something with my hands, small though it may be, to send over to keep someone in Syria warm during the coldest months of winter.  I pray it is a blessing and a tangible reminder to whomever receives it that they are seen and cared for.

Still reading Sylvia’s Farm.

Wishing you a happy Tuesday!  It’s a dreary, rainy one here but we are attempting to make the best of it.

Joining with Nicole’s weekly Crafting On.

L O S T

18 years today since we walked out into the snowy wilderness, not knowing within hours we’d be fighting for our very lives. Every year we remember and are stunned at the work and many miracles God did to keep us alive that Feb 11, 2001.  The second part of this blog post can be found here.

everything He gives

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February 11, 2001.

It looked much like this when we set out that day.  The wind was raging wild gusts, threatening to just pluck us off the ridge and send us into oblivion.  That’s what drove our decision to hike up the peak behind the bowl, the peak in the background that you see pictured here.

The further we hiked on our usual route around the Loveland Pass bowl on the Continental Divide in Colorado, the more tracked out and ice-crusted we realized it was, so we headed to the peak behind the bowl.  It looked fresh and promising and untouched.  We wanted a hard workout and we wanted a sweet ride back on our snowboards.

That decision, that little decision could have ended our lives that day.  I was sixteen, my sister, Jennie, was twenty.

We rode down that peak after climbing as close to the summit as…

View original post 777 more words

yarn along

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Today’s post probably looks just like last week’s (except for the leftover birthday jelly beans on the table), but I have made some progress.  I’m nearing the end of the garter triangle section of my cosmic remix shawl.  It has been so relaxing to knit on this project which has just been rows of garter thus far, and also with this yarn which is unbelievably soft.  I am close to beginning the lace border which I’m sure will be more involved and thus will go a bit slower.

I’m maybe about half way through Sylvia’s Farm (affiliate link) and just so enjoying the short farm stories and reflections as well as her writing style.

Joining with Nicole’s weekly Crafting On and Ginny’s Yarn Along.

 

happy birthday to daddy

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His birthday always comes quietly amongst all the hubbub of the Super Bowl.  Not that we are sports people (we’re not) and we don’t watch a single other game all year long (unless olympics are on or occasionally the world cup), but he likes to watch the Super Bowl.  We went to church as usual on Sunday, and I encouraged him to go do something fun that afternoon — go fly fishing, mountain biking, running, or whatever would be refreshing to him.  He decided to take the older two kids mountain biking, while I stayed home so the younger two girls could nap.  It ended up being perfect as he ran into a few friends on the trail, including phoebe’s best friend, which made her day.  She also got to pet a horse that was at the trail head too.  They came home just before dinner and I forgot to snap a photo of them.

I made his favorite dessert, cherry pie (using this crust recipe and the filling recipe from this one) with homemade ice cream, and his favorite food ever, pizza + caesar salad for dinner.  I always use this recipe for our favorite pizza crust and topped this one with spinach, pepperoni, and local grass-fed chorizo and it was amazing.  We watched the game while eating dinner and intermittently taking care of kids, singing happy birthday + blowing out candles before wren went to bed, and opening his gifts.  I got him this book on fly fishing, always trying to stoke the flames of his passions for the sports he loves and has so little time for.  The children wrapped up paintings they had made for him, and their handmade cards were the highlight of the evening.  I also gave him money toward a tool he’s had his eye on.

I think it was simple and fun day, and we really enjoyed being home together.  It’s hitting me that he’s getting closer to turning 40 and that just seems so odd.  I still feel like we are in our 20s.  Maybe that never really changes.  We are really thankful for this guy who works very hard to take care of us and pour his love out on us.  He loves fiercely, steadily, and often quietly, and we love spoiling him when we can!