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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Courage, Dear Heart

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Hey friends.  I finished this book, Courage, Dear Heart: Letters to a Weary World, not too long ago and wanted to share about it with you here!  Written as letters to the brokenhearted and storm-battered, in each chapter Reynolds strives to offer three things: words for our pain, the presence of a friend/companion in the journey, and hope so that we can run the race.

You cannot be human for very long and not feel some heart ache, some brokenness.  As you live and walk farther, you only gather more hardships along the way–no one gets through life unscathed.  Of course, life is not only about the hardships and there are rivers of joy.  However there are seasons where the grief and pain seem to swallow up all of the light and we aren’t sure that we’ll ever recover.

In my own life there have been a handful of excruciating seasons, most I can’t really share in this space.  One such season for me was in the first couple of years immediately following Phoebe’s diagnosis with Celiac disease.  Of course the shock of the diagnosis and its implications for lifestyle changes was one overwhelming aspect.  There was so much change so quickly, so much to learn about, such a huge leap in our grocery budget, medical bills from multiple procedures, etc.

Even now as I sit to write this, I am overwhelmed trying to explain the depths of what this journey has been like for us.  I’ve tried writing this post out a few times and keep coming up short.  There is so much, so many layers.  Emotional pain, physical pain, spiritual ramifications, financial strain–the way all of that hits a marriage, the way my husband and I process it all differently and then have to work through it somehow together.  The way it makes a mother nearly go crazy to watch her child suffer and to feel helpless.  Then there is the PTSD of sorts of having gone through something like this, and the temptation to live now in the shadow of the next shoe dropping.  It has been one of the hardest seasons to date, one I’m not sure I’m totally through yet and certainly not one I can fully unpack or process yet.  I was sharing about it with a close friend + confidant recently, how going through this has somehow fundamentally changed the landscape of my soul.

All of that to say, Reynolds book strikes a chord with the storm-battered and weary.  So many words have sounded empty and hollow and lifeless in this season.  Few seem to speak the language of the suffering.  Maybe only those who have walked through these kinds of dark valleys can speak the tongue of it, sending forth words to pull another groping traveler along.  Her words are honest, simple yet profound, hopeful.  It’s rare that a book will make me cry, but there have been time that her words have reached that inaccessible closed off part of my heart and helped to crack it open a bit so the pain can be released.  That is a gift, friends.

She offers permission to suffer, to be human–which we so desperately need when in the company of fellow Christians who often unknowingly communicate that we must be strong in our trial.  She offers a realistic view of what it looks like to be human and yet carry the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.  (What a mystery!)

I highly recommend it for those of you who might be in a trying time for one reason or another, needing letters from a fellow sojourner who can offer real hope and care and help you grope for God through the dark.  I leave you with this little excerpt from the introduction:

“In C. S. Lewis’s The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, young Lucy finds herself trapped inside a thick, enchanted darkness in which all nightmares come true.  Overwhelmed by fear, she cries out to the great lion, ‘Aslan, Aslan, if ever you loved us at all, send us help now.’

At this moment of desperation, Lucy notices a light.  She looks along its beam and sees something inside:

‘At first it looked like a cross, then it looked like an airplane, then it looked like a kite, and at last with a whirring of wings it was right overhead and was an albatross.  It circled three times round the mast and then perched for an instant on the crest of the gilded dragon at the prow.  It called out in a strong sweet voice what seemed to be words though no one understood them.  After that it spread its wings, rose, and began to fly slowly ahead, bearing a little to starboard. . . .No one except Lucy knew that as it circled the mast it had whispered to her, “Courage, dear heart,” and the voice, she felt sure, was Aslan’s, and with the voice a delicious smell breathed in her face.’

So courage, dear heart.  I know you are tired.  I know the darkness is thick, and the way is longer and harder than you ever expected it to be.  But God sees you, he hurts with you, and he welcomes your honesty.  Even to the ends of the earth, he will lead you on.”

A special thank you to Tyndale Publishers for their complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions my own. 

yarn along

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My husband and I were away this past weekend on a small trip to a cabin nearby to celebrate our anniversary (I hope to share more about it in a post later this week).  I took along a few projects, but worked only on my timber cardigan.  Sadly, I really didn’t knit as much as I planned to, with a baby in arms often and just spending time talking with Brandon and resting, too.  I did basically knit one sleeve of the cardigan and hope to finish the second one up this week maybe.  Then it’s just knitting the pockets and it’s done!  I know its nearly summer and we have already had a good bit of hot, humid days.  We often go up on the blue ridge parkway in the warmer months for hikes and picnics and usually its a lot chillier up there, so I plan to wear it as soon as I need a warm layer!  It fits a little snug considering I began it before I was pregnant and so it will fit better after I get back to my normal size, but it still fits.  I put my arm in the finished sleeve last night and it’s the first time I’ve been wrapped up in Brooklyn Tweed yarn.  I’m sold for life.  It is so incredibly cozy.  How can it be so rustic and so comfortable at the same time?  I love it.

I’ve been reading Love in a Time of Homeschooling by Laura Brodie (affiliate link) and enjoying it so far.  Her writing style is engaging, and after hitting some real walls with Phoebe in school this year I feel like I need some helps and was drawn to this book being its about a mother and daughter relationship.  Being that God has seen fit to entrust me with three girls, I find I’m drawn often to things about the mother/daughter relationship, really hoping to do this well and feeling often like I’m not.  Goodness, parenting is hard.  Homeschooling is hard!  Thank goodness for knitting and the bright spot it is–a productive distraction.  Here’s a better picture of the cardigan so far.

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Linking up with Nicole of Frontier Dreams.  

yarn along

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Spring must be here.  There are buds and blooms forming on the trees!

I’ve cast on a flax sweater for our baby girl (my due date is today!!) in the newborn size, though it doesn’t look very newborn-ish to me, and I can’t say for sure if she will need a wooly sweater with all this warm weather here lately.  I’m about to bind of the bottom ribbing and start on sleeves.  We’re all hoping she comes soon!  For now, I’m trying to carry on with life as usual.  Thankfully, three children keep my mind very preoccupied.

Phoebe and I started reading The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street last night for our next read-aloud.  Too soon to say if we like it or not, but she seems intrigued.

yarn along

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Its a cozy rainy day here in NC.  Rose is sitting on the windowsill watching the rain drip from the eaves, Phoebe and I are having tea while she practices her cursive.  Noah and Philippa are off playing cars in his room and we’ll probably be spending all day cozied up in here with books, warm mugs, maybe even a movie later on.  I think nesting is in full swing for me, so I’m busy cleaning nooks and crannies that have been neglected for some time, and making unreasonable goals for what I want done before baby arrives.

I cast on a pair of newborn baby socks this past week, hoping that some hand knit socks will stay on better than the store bought newborn ones that always seem to slide right off.  I’m knitting them with the same yarn I used recently to knit my own pair of socks.  They are tiny and cute and the kiddos can’t believe we will have a baby with feet so small.  I still have a few other projects on the go, and I’m starting to feel really ancy about finishing that baby blanket but have so little time to work on it!  If it’s late, I know the baby won’t mind but I imagine snuggling her right up in wooly goodness when she’s at the hospital.

I’ve been reading Francine River’s latest book, The Masterpiece, (which just released yesterday!) and have been staying up way too late in the evenings reading it.  It is everything I love and enjoy about River’s writing, and so fun to have a new book of hers in my hands again.  I’m already almost finished with it.  As with most of her books, this one tells the story of brokenness and redemption, romance and the turning of hard hearts to God.  It’s definitely worth reading!

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

Affiliate links included in this post.
Thanks to Tyndale Publishers for a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my review.

yarn along

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I cast on these socks on Christmas day as a little treat to myself (the yarn was a Christmas gift from me Brandon) after a long stretch of gift knitting.  It’s only my second pair of socks for myself that I’ve ever made, and they are going to fit so much better than the first pair I made, which ended up far too big.  So I’m on the foot of the second sock and should be done with these in the next couple of days.  I discovered yesterday, to my dismay, that one of the kids had sat on my knitting bag and my size 1 wooden knitting needles were all in shards inside the stitches.  I thankfully have this one pair of size 1 circulars, but I have always knit socks on DPNs so it’s taken some getting used to.  I’m enjoying it though!  I still have so many upcoming projects on the brain, many little baby things I’m excited to cast on.  I have some yarn leftover from these socks and may knit up a few pairs of baby socks to match for our little girl coming next month.  (Ahh!  Next month!  That sounds so strange and sort of terrifyingly close.)

I’ve also just started reading Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy per Ginny’s book recommendation list, in the spirit of wanting to read more fiction and more classics.  I’m not sure what I think yet, not quite hooked yet but I will keep at it.

I’m so so excited that Ginny has started up this yarn along again!  I’ve missed it and all of you lovely knitters out there!

Linking up with Ginny of Small Things and Nicole’s weekly Crafting On.
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yarn along

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I did in fact visit my favorite local-ish yarn store last week and picked out yarn for noah’s sweater, and cast on.  I am skeptical that I’ll have this finished in the next week, but I am doing my best!  He asked me yesterday if I’m making him a sweater this year and when I’m going to start on it, so that’s a good sign that it’ll be a worthwhile endeavor.  🙂  I’m knitting the “tot lot #10” sweater, using Shepherd’s wool in I think the Shepherd red color way.  Really liking it so far, just a simple knit.  It’s knit from the bottom up, so I’ve finished the body (up to the yoke) and also the first sleeve and now am onto sleeve number two.

I’ve been reading Housewife Theologian, which is a book I’ve had for a few years now and finally getting around to reading.  I’m enjoying it so far.

Linking up with Nicole’s weekly Crafting On.
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