yarn along

DSC_0018.jpg

Still knitting away on my Campside and enjoying it so much.  I feel like I’m close to finishing it already, which seems crazy and too soon!  At the same time, it would be nice to cozy up in it in this freezing weather we’re having lately.  If you wanted to see pictures of my finished sweater, I shared some here.

I finished Long Days of Small Things last night, savored the last chapter and didn’t want it to end.  So good, friends, so good.  I’ll post an official review soon.  I haven’t even picked up Is the Bible Good for Women this week, haven’t read much I guess.  I have read a bunch to the kids, and this one, Leave Me Alone! by Vera Brosgol, that we checked out from the library is hilarious for any knitter or mom surrounded by a brood of children who just wants some time to KNIT (or pursue some other sanity-saving hobby).  In the end, the only reprieve from her 30 grandchildren is to find her way through a wormhole in outer space and there she can finally finish sweaters for each of them.

Linking up with Ginny of Small Things and her weekly yarn along.
Affiliate links included.

 

Falling Free

DSC_0069.jpg

You guys.  I am so terribly behind on posting a review for this book and I feel awful about it because IT IS SUCH AN INCREDIBLE BOOK!  It deserved a really great, lengthy, shining blog post a long time ago.  I received it last fall when it released and read it within a week or so.  Honestly it was maybe in my top five favorite reads from 2016.  It was one of those books you finish and want to immediately purchase copies of for everyone you love.  I highly recommend it!

Shannan Martin’s book Falling Free: Rescued from the life I always wanted came into my hands in the middle of our house search.  In a sense I was resistant to reading it, since Martin’s book is a memoir sharing about their leaving behind the life they thought they always wanted for something that seemed far riskier, smaller, and challenging.  Its good to read something like this while in the midst of your own home search.  What Martin was leaving behind–a cute farmhouse, a mini homestead, a comfortable community–these are some of the things my husband and I are looking for and dreaming about.  And not that there is anything wrong with having a farmhouse or a homestead or a wonderful church community.  But Martin sure does challenge our notions of what we need, what we expect, what we feel entitled to, what we think God would have for us, what we think is safe, what we hope for.  She brings perspective.  She gives courage to truly abandon your life to the faithfulness of God, even in the face of the risk and discomfort involved.  She holds out the glory of Jesus and the life of following and obeying Him as higher and greater than our small dreams, our small hopes for a comfortable, safe, monochromatic life.

An author I have loved, Emily P. Freeman, has highly recommended Martin’s writing, which is what led me to check out her first book. I was not disappointed!  She is at turns hilarious, witty, and yet poignant and insightful.  She can turn a phrase like few authors I’ve read, bringing fresh insight and conviction to our typical American way of life and thinking.  And her taco recipe has become a regular staple in our home.  (Thank you, Shannon.)

I can’t tell you more about it because I simply can’t decide what to emphasize most.  Just go read it.  If you at all feel bound up, go read it.  If while you have most comforts and pleasures accessible at your right hand yet can’t shake the niggling sense that you’re missing something, go read it.  If you’re hungry for the kingdom of God, go read it.  If you’re hungry for more of God, go read it.  If you’re just plain bored, go read it.

Read at your own risk.  Prepare to be perturbed, disturbed, challenged, convicted, awakened, and set free from the life you think you want to the life God would have for you.

Thank you to Book Look Bloggers for a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

 

 

 

snow and sweaters

DSC_0224DSC_0229DSC_0230DSC_0228DSC_0241DSC_0251DSC_0261DSC_0262DSC_0263DSC_0266DSC_0269DSC_0280DSC_0289DSC_0290DSC_0297DSC_0304DSC_0305DSC_030017264891_10154926020247605_1723864789090905291_nDSC_0298

We saw (maybe?) our last snow of the season on Sunday morning and felt again the child-like wonder and awe that always comes over us all with new snow.  My sweater had been finished for about a week but I hadn’t worn it because I’d been recovering from the flu and just wanted to save wearing it for the first time for when I actually felt normal.  It’s the first sweater I’ve knit for myself so I was a bit nervous I would mess up the sizing.  I slipped it on Sunday morning and Brandon snapped a few photos of me (sorry for the crazy lighting) and then we went out with the kids for a walk in the snow.  The arms are a tad bit long, as I added about 2 inches of length to both the body and the sleeves, but I’d rather them be long then short.  It truly is so cozy and warm without being too heavy.  I loved every minute of knitting it.  Totally easy, relaxing, and simple.  Shepherd’s wool is so squishy and soft and just 100% wool.  The colorway, “sea breeze,” makes me think of the ocean.  I could definitely see myself knitting it again.

 

yarn along

DSC_0002.jpg

In the midst of our move at the end of February, Philippa had a high fever.  A few days later, I took her to the doctor who confirmed she had an ear infection and also Flu B.  A few days later, I came down with the flu as well, and spent the weekend in bed.  Everyone else has gone on tamiflu to avoid getting it and so far that has worked.  Thankfully, one of the few things that the flu is good for is giving time for rest.  So I was able to finish a few things!  I finished my lila sweater and love it so so much, can’t wait to share pictures with you.  I haven’t worn it yet because  it seem sacrilegious to dirty it with flu germs somehow, so I’m waiting till I’m all better.  I cast on the Campside shawl by Alicia Plummer and have been literally enjoying every stitch.  I always love knitting with Madelinetosh, maybe my favorite yarn, and this colorway is so bright and happy.

I finished Braving It, and it was a great read/distraction while being sick.  I enjoy any such story about adventures in Alaska, and this one was interesting because of the father/daughter aspect of the story.  It confirms to me my desire to raise our kids to love and treasure the wilderness and gave some inspiration toward that.

I’m almost done with Long Days of Small Things, also literally enjoying and marking up every page.  It will be one I will return to and treasure.  Such great encouragement for this busy season of motherhood.  I wish I could buy it for every young mom I know.

I’m also reading Is the Bible Good for Women, a timely read it seems with our cultural and political climate, though I think that’s probably always been true.  I’m only a couple of chapters in and curious how it will go.

Joining with Ginny’s weekly yarn along.
Affiliate links included.

carrying on

DSC_0001DSC_0005DSC_0003DSC_0005 (1)DSC_0006DSC_0008DSC_0011DSC_0020DSC_0022DSC_0024DSC_0027DSC_0028DSC_0030DSC_0035DSC_0042DSC_0049DSC_0051DSC_0006 (1)DSC_0002

Buds rise quiet and swell on the branch.  It’s the first week of March, everything and everyone is anxious for spring.  Some days it’s already been in the low 70s, sunny and warm, and the next day it’s back in the 30s.  It’s still technically winter, but spring presses in, trying to burst forth.

It seems like a fitting analogy for my own season.  For this wait.  Last weekend we packed our home into a large box, essentially, and closed it up, everything on hold for now until we close on our home at the end of this month.  We moved our bare necessities into my parent’s home nearby and have moved in with them for the interim.  Such wild grace to us, this welcome mat extended to our family, the carving out of space and sharing of everything so that we can walk through this transition with as much normalcy as possible.  Because we are here with them, my mom has been helping out even more than normal with my day-to-day tasks.  She watched the kids while I went for a run the other morning–such a gift to a momma who normally squeezes in my workouts in the house during the kid’s nap time (necessary but terribly boring sometimes).  It does my soul good to get out on a quiet trail and have the solitude of the woods.  As I was running, enjoying the movement of feet and legs, the filling and emptying of lungs, the way the wind sounds moving through winter limbs and pines, I was aware of a hush of waiting.  I don’t know really how else to describe it, only that I felt my own soul’s wait as I felt the natural world waiting in the dormancy of winter for spring.  Everything is still alive, though it has the appearance of death.  Everything is holding life though it has the appearance of barrenness.  But the life cycle demands that death and dormancy must happen so that new life can burst forth.

We resist our own winters.  We resist periods of death and dormancy and waiting.  We resist pain of any sort, of course.  Yet it is good to remember that it is necessary, this winter, so that spring can come.  And spring will come.

Behold, I am doing a new thing;
    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
    and rivers in the desert.

Isaiah 43:19

We are in this beautiful and awkward season of in-between.  Our home packed up, waiting for the word that this home we have been working toward will in fact be our own.  We haven’t shown the home to the children yet.  They’ve ridden out this transition well, but not without some tears and questions and some “I wanna go home!”  Meanwhile we are in a period of waiting for answers on Phoebe’s health.  She is nearing the end of this three month elimination diet, and soon we will do more blood work and likely another endoscopy.  All around the same time as our closing on the home and moving in.

How appropriate it seems, that our own family story would coincide with the seasons, the melting of winter into spring.  I can’t help but also think of this lenten season, the time during the church calendar when we remember Jesus’ death and sacrifice for us so that we may that much more enjoy and celebrate the resurrection (Easter).

So we embrace this season of holy hush, the waiting, the discomfort of it, because we know that our own spring is coming.  All of the details of our story may not work out perfectly and our circumstances may continue to prove difficult, but we know that somehow God will be faithful to us and will provide all that we need.

And so we carry on.  We receive the gifts of this winter season as it comes to an end.  We enjoy this special time with my parents and sharing life together.  We keep on with school, with our piles of library books, with knitting and other little family rhythms.  The kids find new trees to climb and places to make a fort.  We look for the early signs of spring, the blooming forsythia, the green pressing up through soil.  We pay attention to the birds, noticing how gladly they sing.

yarn along

DSC_0007.jpg

My lila sweater is blocking, only needs some ribbing on the neck and then weaving in ends.  I cannot wait for it to dry so I can finish and wear it!  Meanwhile, I’ve been itching to knit a shawl for some time.  The Campside shawl by Alicia Plummer has been in my queue for quite some time and it’s a free pattern that seems simple and produces a nice large cozy shawl, perfect for spring evenings.  So I’m gauge swatching for that, knitting with Madelinetosh DK in color way Harvest.

Also, I’m still reading Long Days of Small Things but also checked out Braving It from the library and have a hard time putting either book down.  I highly recommend BOTH!  Not much time for reading this week, but I squeeze in a few pages before bed.

Joining with Ginny’s weekly yarn along link up.
Affiliate links included.

 

yarn along

DSC_0002.jpg

Sorry for the fuzzy picture, it’s a gray rainy day here so my camera didn’t want to focus.  Anywhoo… still knitting my Lila sweater.  I’m thankful for an easy, meditative, mindless knit in this busy week of last minute packing as we prepare to move this weekend.  It’s easy to pick up in the evenings and unwind while working on it.  I’ve just joined sleeves and am working on yoke shaping.  It’s been unseasonably warm here in NC in February so I’m not sure if it will be cold enough to wear it when I finally finish!  But I hope for some more winter weather before spring comes.

I am so greatly enjoying Long Days of Small Things (affiliate link).  I find myself craving to read it during the day (but no time!!) and eagerly looking forward to squeezing in a few pages when I’m in bed.  It’s a paradigm shifter for moms who have found that since becoming a mom there is no time anymore for the pursuit of God.  We hear this so often from our fellow mom friends, don’t we?  Even from our own hearts–where is the time, the energy, the finances, the brain power to put thoughts together to pursue God as we once did?  So many mothers longing to be faithful in this trying season of sacrifice, yet feeling like failures because we feel that we must choose between our own pursuit of God and satisfying the constant demands of our little ones.  No matter which we choose, we are tempted to feel like a failure for forsaking the other.  Here’s a little excerpt from the first chapter:

“Children are consuming.  They leave us with nothing left to give ourselves or anyone else.  But this is the perfect training ground for our spirits, the very setting many disciplines are designed to produce.  Our demanding, beloved children are what we create–they are our spiritual path.  What if we looked through new eyes and discovered that into our very life stages our Creator has placed impressions of himself, reflections of his strength and beauty, a spiritual path laid out just for us?”

What I’m also loving about this book is the “practices” McNiel includes at the end of each chapter.  They are simple, immediately attainable and small practices such as paying attention to your breathing throughout the day, walking, eating, washing.  All the things we do cyclicly each day, finding these human activities to be worshipful.  I have found myself thinking about this as I’ve been going about my usual routines this week and it has so deeply encouraged and helped!  Just to realize sometimes that I’m holding my breath in stress–to take a deep breath and to say to the Lord as I do so: I’m breathing in your grace and steadfast love in this moment.  I’m breathing out my fears and worries to you.  Just this little prayer, over and over throughout the day–how can it bring such joy?  But it does.

Anyway.. for any mom in the trenches: READ this book!  I’m only a few chapters in but I believe I will love it to the end.

Joining with Ginny of Small Things today and her weekly yarn along.