November 30, 2014

And another month has passed. What did I learn?

This is the last day of November and it's supposed to be 70 degrees. How in the world did that happen? I mean, weren't we just celebrating the end of October yesterday? And if this is really the end of November shouldn't it be much colder than that? I guess I will trust the calendar despite how it feels, and let you know what I learned in the past month. There were a few things.

November wil2

(1) Sometimes it's good to take some time off simply because you want to. I think that's a thousand times better than doing it because you need to. By that point you have waited way too long.

(2) Listen to your gut instinct. I have found most times it is right and I'm grateful for following the way it led. Whether it's a decision about safety, yarn, or words I need to not be scared of trusting myself.

(3) I forget my own path sometimes. Even if I don't know where I am going, I know when I have begun following another. Whether there are hopes for the same ending, or hopes of a better ending, unless I'm on my own path the ending wont be what it needs to be.

(4) I start a lot of really good ideas, only to forget about them. The starting of a new habit can be more like a stutter start, but my goal is to pick it up when I remember I have forgotten it, and continue to do so until it's a habit. It's the only way, right?

(5) Contentment comes from my point of view and my consideration, not my circumstances. I know this. This is a relearn. But it's one which I need to grab hold and not forget.

(6) Distance is distance, no matter how far.
Whether traveled by train, plane, or car.
The heart does not see miles.
Even when Skype brings smiles.
So I'm adjusting to how things really are.

(7) I love creating new items with yarn, and making things for other people. I mean, really really love it! What is it you love doing?

(8) I usually regret what I say when I keep speaking trying to explain myself rather than simply say something. No, should be no. Yes, should be yes. And there is no reason for us to go on explaining ourselves, especially if no one is asking us to. Am I the only one who regrets doing this?

I'm linking up with Emily at Chatting at the Sky.

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November 29, 2014

Right now:

today The chili cooks behind me in the crock-pot, it's aroma filling the house making me ready for supper now. The 6-hour Slow Cooker Chili is one of my favorites, though I must cut everything in half even to feed my extended family. There are promises of baked potatoes and corn bread which I am looking forward to, though I may just get a big bowl and jalapenos.

Chip is sitting next to me on the couch under a blanket. He's getting old and has become much more needy of presence than he ever was. He's a good dog, even if his alter ego is a grumpy snippy old man.

Across the room sits Captain playing with pictures. We took a trip to the zoo and he took so many amazing pictures. He alters, edits, and approves of just so many, but then that's the crux of picture taking. Snap more than you will see.

Youngest is here for the weekend. Messaged with those across the pond this morning.

Christmas music plays through the room and distracts my mind from words which want to go deeper. But sometimes staying in the moment and not dissecting every little thing is the best way to go.

Yarn has been worked, a new pattern is emerging, projects have been finished, and more are being planned. Sometimes simple is the best way to go, but I love it when yarn and design come together to make the heart thrill with the result.

Coffee is in my cup.

This is a moment. Part of my day. What are you doing right now?



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November 28, 2014

And then there was grace

I get distracted so very easily. Do you ever find that happens to you? Sometimes I think I'm more susceptible to it than the normal person. I'm going along minding my own business, when suddenly I don't remember where I was headed. Sometimes I don't even realize I'm off the road. I wish I was better than that.

path

When I revamped my blog my goal was to focus on the little things. To remember in the small is where change is created, love blossoms, and life is lived. But given a few weeks into the first month and I've grown quiet again because I forgot all of that. Instead I once again find myself looking for big ways to make big differences and, lets be honest, that is never going to happen. So I'm quiet. Or I speak and then regret it. Nice prose, wrong topic.

At the book store today I was perusing the magazines looking for Artistic Blogging, which I couldn't locate. Instead I found bella Grace. The cover called to me, peace amongst the craze of colors. The words told me to pick the magazine up, "Life's a Beautiful Journey." And, oh my friends, this is the book which has called me back to the road I am meant to be on. Magazine, but really.... it's the size of a book.

focus

I'm still working through how to live small. There are so many big things in this life that seem to demand attention, and it's not that I shouldn't give them some but I need to figure out how to go about doing that without losing my own way. I am just grateful when we do lose our way there is someone or something which comes along like a road sign helping us find our path. If we just keep our eyes open.

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November 24, 2014

Tailored Shell Mitts

After searching the internet for the right fingerless mitts and not being able to make the other patterns I found work with the yarn I chose, I settled down and got busy creating a new one. I love the way these came out with the shell pattern through the majority of the yarn, and fitting the thumbs as well. It fits an average woman's wrist and is made with an Aran yarn, they are comfy, fitted, and warm.

DSCF1009

DSCF1004 DSCF1005

Yarn used: Plymouth Yarn Covington (Brown) (100 yards)
Hook used: G

chain 23, join to form a circle.

Row 1: ch 2, dc across, join in turning chain
Row 2: ch 2, * fpdc, hdc, repeat from * around, join in turning chain
Row 3: ch 2, * fpdc in fpdc, hdc in hdc, repeat from * around, join in turning chain
Repeat Row 3 once.
Row 5: ch 2, 1 dc in same stitch, * skip one space, sc, skip one space, 3 dc shell in next stitch, repeat from * around ending with 1 dc in the beginning stitch, join in turning chain
Row 6: sc in turning chain, * 3 dc shell in sc, sc in middle dc of next shell, repeat from * around, join in first sc
Row 7: ch 2, 1 dc in same stitch, * sc in middle dc of next shell, 3 dc shell in sc, * around ending with 1 dc in the beginning stitch, join in turning chain
Repeat rows 6 and 7 two times
Row 12: sc in turning chain, * 3 dc shell in sc, sc in middle dc of next shell * , 5 dc shell in sc, sc in middle dc of next shell, 5 dc shell in sc, sc in middle dc of next shell, repeat between * 3 times, join in first sc
Row 13: ch 2, 1 dc in same stitch, sc in middle dc of next shell, * 5 dc shell in sc, sc in middle dc of next shell, repeat from * 2 times, [ sc in middle dc of next shell, 3 dc shell in sc ], repeat twice, sc in middle dc of next shell, 1 dc in beginning stitch, join in turning chain
Row 14: sc in turning chain, 3 dc shell in sc, [ sc in middle dc of next shell, 7 dc shell in next sc ], repeat once, * sc in middle dc of next shell, 3 dc shell in sc, repeat from * two times, join in first sc
Row 15: ch 2, 1 dc in same stitch, sc in middle dc of next shell, sc in 3rd dc of 7 shell, skip all stitches to 3rd dc of 7 shell and sc in that stitch (thumb hole made), * 3 dc shell in next sc, sc in middle dc of next shell, repeat from * two times, 1 dc in beginning stitch, join in turning chain
Repeat Rows 6 and 7 five times.
Repeat Row 6 one more time.
Row 22: ch 1, sc around in each stitch, join in turning chain, fasten off.

Thumb:
Join yarn anywhere on thumb opening and sc around which will be 10 stitches.
Chain 1, sc around, join to turning chain
Chain 1, sc around, fasten off.

Weave in all threads.


Please let me know if anything doesn't make sense, or match up. Sometimes my notes make sense to my brain but not to others. I love it when you help me find those times, and appreciate the assistance in making the pattern more understandable.

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November 20, 2014

Sharing a great idea!

I had been looking for a great link to share with y'all, because words are scarce but inspiration is at your fingertips on the web. I didn't know exactly what I wanted to share, but I had seen a few things which peaked my interest a bit. Then I crossed paths with this awesome idea this morning. It was shared on Facebook and I ADORE it! Why wait until December? Why not start right now!! But if you need a few ideas of some little things you can do which WILL make a difference, here's the link to get you started.



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November 17, 2014

Power and simplicity; Experience and truth.


1 John 1:1 
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our own eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched, this we proclaim concerning the Word of Life.



1 John 1:5 
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light, in him there is no darkness at all.


1john1

As I began my study of 1 John last week I have to admit to simply being curious as to how it would work. Or if it would work at all. And I know that for each of us it will be different, and for some it might not work, but I really enjoyed the process last week.

I found myself considering the verses, thinking about them, and then at the end of the week my mind would go over their words and imagine best how to put it out there. I'm not usually someone who draws a lot, so when this idea presented itself to me I balked a little. Maybe a zentangle would be better? But the little girl holding the flowers to her face would not leave me.

That first verse John wrote as he began this letter really struck a chord with me. First of all, he starts with Jesus. What better place to start, right? Secondly, he starts with what he factually knew about Jesus. What he had heard, seen looked at, and touched. His experiences. The statement ran through my head as if it was percussion. The statement was powerful, overwhelming, and made me feel strong. I started thinking about that and realized how often we let emotions control what we think and know. But here, here it was the facts which they knew which controlled my emotions. It was exciting, challenging, and true. It made me consider what it was that I knew factually about Jesus. What is it I have heard from him, seen with my own eyes, looked at and touched which I can proclaim? Definitely a thought worthy of being considered.

The fifth verse spoke to me because of it's absolute simplicity and beauty. That's the message they heard and still declare. God is light. He is divine illumination. He lights our path and our eyes. He imparts life on earth and through Christ. Nothing is hidden from Him. He reaches out to us all. Yes, simple truth beautifully spoken.

My little girl is experiencing the world around her. She is smelling the flowers grown in the ground, shaded by the tree which towers above her, and is standing firm in all she knows as the light of God shines down on and all around her. She makes me want to stay focused on what I am taking in, what I know, and where I am standing. I am so thankful for the knowledge God gives us about Himself, and that His light is ever shining on us.

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November 14, 2014

Crocheted Rosa

I saw the original knitted Rosa on Pinterest, which leads to the Ravelry pattern which is free. Honest, if you knit this would make a great Christmas present for someone! If you crochet I have made my own version of it I am sharing here. It's not exactly the same because the knit crochet stitch isn't reversible, and it needed to be reversible. I ended up using the Mixed Cluster Stitch, which I found on New Stitch a Day. Have you seen this site before? It's an awesome collection of knit and crochet stitches with video to show you the stitch as well.

009 Crocheted Rosa

MC (Mixed Cluster): yo, insert hook into first st as indicated, yo, draw loop through, yo, draw through 2 loops, skip 1 st, [yo, insert hook into next st, yo, draw loop through] twice all in the same st, yo, draw through all 6 loops on hook.

J hook
2 skeins Bernat Super Value (Winter Sky)
.5 skein Bernat Super Value (True Gray)
button of your choice

Measurements: 11.5in x 79.5in

NOTE: if the button can slide between the stitch pattern the button hole in row 145 does not need to be made.

Chain 36
Row 1 Skip 2 ch (count as 1 sc), sc across in each stitch, turn
Row 2 2 ch (count as hdc), 1 MC inserting hook into 1st and 3rd stitches, 1 ch, * 1MC inserting hook into second stitch of prior MC first, 1ch, rep from * ending last MC in last stitch (not turning chain), chain 1 then hdc in last stitch as well, turn
Row 3 1 ch, skip 1 st, sc across in each stitch including top of tch, turn
Repeat Rows 2 and 3 52 times
Repeat Row 2
Change colors
Row 108 join new yarn in hdc with a sc, sk st, sc across, turn
Repeat Row 2 and 3 18 times
Repeat Row 2
Row 145 1 ch, skip 1st stitch, sc in next 4 stitches, ch 3 (or # stitches just smaller than the button you have chosen), skip the same number of stitches, sc across, turn
Repeat Row 2 and 3 twice (work in the chain stitch of Row 145 as if they were normal stitches)

Finish off, weave in ends.

Sew the button on the opposite side and corner as the button hole was placed, approximately 3 inches in from the edge.

For more pictures check out my Ravelry page for this project. If you have any questions or find any of this pattern confusing please let me know so that I can clarify for you and others. Thanks so much! And thank you Anne for the amazing inspiration!

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November 13, 2014

The magic of fairy godmothers

I just finished a book which may have simply been a collection of short stories connected in the very best way. It centered around a cooking class, one I would love to attend. The book? "The School of Essential Ingredients" by Erica Bauermeister.

Lillian had a fairy godmother who saw her potential and helped her find her path when she was a very young girl. Do all stories have such a character, I wonder? Abuelita helped Lillian realize what she was good at, and it wasn't following recipes. It was cooking. Magical, experimental, feeling it out cooking.

gifts

The mystery and wisdom in each spice, each mix, each blend helped those in the class see things clearly, move on, step out. Lillian became a fairy godmother to those who attended her class, in small unnoticed ways at times.

What good is the teacher when the class is done? She asked herself this question, and I understood the asking. And the answer was in connection.

Can you look back in your life and see someone who has been like a fairy godmother to you? Have they helped you on your path by either pointing it out, or showing you the next step? See them. See who they are. Sometimes the teacher is the one left aside when all the connections are made and the class is over. She connected with everyone, but everyone moved on.

Go back, turn around, grab a hand, connect with them. As a student, remember what Lillian did. She brought Abuelita back and stayed connected to her. Such wisdom, which never really ends. It just changes. No longer instructor/student, now equal/friend. Embrace that relationship, and acknowledge what they have done for you. Then move forward with them. And grab the hands of others. Bring them along as well. In small unnoticed ways, maybe, be a fairy godmother to someone else.

The magic that swirls around certain characters can be a strange thing. No wands or enchantments. Just seeing and knowing. Oh, I would love to be a Lillian. But the wisdom and knowledge need to come first.

The biggest thing I learned from these cooking classes? The importance in slowing down, enjoying, and experiencing. The importance in not rushing through, taking for granted, and turning aside. The importance in individuality, release of expectations, and embracing what truly is.The acknowledgement that essential ingredients are different for each recipe, each person, each time it's made.


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November 12, 2014

Three months in the freezer

three months in the freezer

I cook large meals. The 9x10 casserole dish was my best friend. I didn't seem to know how to cook for just 4 some days, and now I cook for only 2. Those pots of chili and soup and casseroles for large gatherings don't work so much for only 2 people.

I also had a freezer. A freezer that I wanted to use, loved full, but wasn't sure what to do. How do I store food for lots of people, when {again} there are only 2 of us eating at the table together now.

And then I found my solution, and I wanted to share it with you. Maybe, just maybe, there are other empty nesters out there trying to figure out how to use the kitchen, large recipes, and freezers as I was.

I reorganized my freezer as you see above. Each wipe on board is for a different shelf. Each shelf is for a different month. When I put something in I write it down. When I take something out I wipe it off. There is a pen that is also magnetized next to the boards so that I always have one available.

Then I went and bought some smaller 3 cup casserole dishes. Enough for me, him, and a left over or two. I still make larger ones as well, but the majority of my dishes are smaller. I make the casserole as the recipe calls for the larger dish, but then divide it up into the smaller dishes. Then the different dishes go on different shelves, and I now have meals for three months: the one I'm in, and the next two coming up.

This seems so simplistic, doesn't it? Maybe it is. Maybe you're reading this questioning why I had to "come up" with this plan. But I did. And I'm sharing it. Because maybe someone else is looking for how to fill their freezer for three months, and use those recipes for the large families which aren't so large anymore.

As a side note, I think I have enough dishes on the November shelf that I don't have to cook at all. This is not a good thing. I might need to revamp and tweak this plan a bit as well!

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November 11, 2014

Put your words down

Let me just begin this by saying I am a slacker. No, really. There was a wedding in these here parts last May. Last May. I got the pictures from the photographer a few months later. This is not her fault, at all. All mine. I told everyone, "I'll send you the pictures! Which ones do you want?"

Such promise. Such hope. Such utter failure.

Then I thought, I'll take them with me when we go in October. I set them aside with every intention of taking them and handing them to the people they belonged to. Every good intention.

What is it they say about intentions?

Yes, I forgot them. Left them right where they were. Drove off without even thinking about them until an hour or so into the trip.

I should have made a list and checked it off. Twice.

*

Through the months of September and October I wrote a letter nearly every day to my son. He wasn't able to write back often, and eventually stopped completely. I understood because he was going through a time in which he needed to use his time in the best manner possible. I understood that meant he might not write back, so when the letters stopped I mourned occasionally, but worked to continue writing letters to him.

Some days it was hard. Some days I struggled with what to say. But each letter went out full of love and taught me the importance of those words written out to those I loved.

*

share words 

I'm making up for my utter failure. I'm sending off those pictures, or by the time this posts they will have already been sent. I'm also going to be active in sending out love in the form of words on a regular basis.

The pictures from the wedding will go out with these cards filled with words. Words of gratefulness, thankfulness, and love. Words that may not make up for the utter failure from before, but will start a new beginning. Because any day is a good day for a new beginning.

*

Who can you share words with this month to pass on love and encouragement?

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November 10, 2014

You're the expert in choosing how to love right.

We are called to love others in this lifetime. Whether it be family, friends, or enemies we are to love them. Sometimes we get this confused, sometimes we intentionally ignore it, and sometimes we don’t even think about it. 


November 8, 2014

Last week...no, the one before.

This reality that I am moving into is hard some days. Some days this house seems so quiet, regardless of how much I have to do. Some days I miss the sound of laughter, teasing, and come backs. Sometimes my heart is a little lonely, and this house seems much more spacious than it is.

But last week I received the gift of my family being together for three beautiful days.

I feel the disclaimer goes here, so bear with me. I know that some are farther away from their family. I know that if this was ten years ago I wouldn't have Skype or Facebook which keeps me in contact with my loved ones both near and far. I get that this life could be much much harder, and I'm actually quite content where I am right now, even if I'm still figuring it out. But my heart... it was full to overflowing for three beautiful days.

full heart2

I have pictures of people together, laughter which rings in my ears, and time which practically stood still. Was it perfect? Nothing is, and thankfully I let go of the expectations of perfection. But I stood in a group with Capt, two boys, and a girl and followed them wherever they wanted to go.

This weekend I will see one boy again, and next weekend I am sure I will Skype the other two. They are all doing as they should, living their lives and being amazing people. Learning much on many fronts, and stepping into their own present. And I couldn't be more thrilled for or more proud of any of them.

Those three days were glorious, but it's nothing compared to what is coming. Remembering this helps me on the harder days so that I can move forward myself. It helps me enjoy where I am and truly be content. Knowing that God watches over those three and never leaves them brings my heart a sense of peace and calm I otherwise would not have. And then I can get on with the business of my own present, and enjoying where Capt and I are right now.

Yes, my house is emptier but my heart has never been so full.

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November 7, 2014

Bundling up for Babies

002Do you remember when I shared about the Bundle Up Club and how they were collecting homemade scarves, hats, and blankets for the homeless? I am so excited to share that they were able to collect over 100 of each item! They took over half of the bags to the charity they had committed, which was all they could get in their car! The rest they will be distributing in their local area. But they aren't done yet!

The Bundle Up Club has already begun their next collection ministry which will be hats and blankets for babies to 3 year olds and donating them to a local ministry. PLEASE! Go check out their new opportunity and consider helping them out in some way. I promise you, even the littlest you can do will help in a large way!

If you crochet, feel free to use my hat pattern from yesterday! And this is an easy ripple pattern to use for the blankets. And from Project Linus, here are excellent guidelines for what size the blankets should be. Both patterns can be seen in the picture.

They are only collecting until December 15th, so please make sure you get the items/help/funds to them before this. Thank you for whatever you can do.

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