Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Yarn Along

Hooray!  After several weeks of crazy (the biggest event being the skating show for which I ended up being "den mom" - in charge of almost 100 young skaters waiting for costumes and skates to be tied - aaahhh!!!!), things are starting to settle down and I can see signs of routine coming back into our lives.  I can't express how happy I am that it's over an that life can be normal (or as "normal "as it gets in our house).   It's so nice to return to Ginny's Yarn Along!

My knitting has been coming along slowly.  I am still working on the feather and fan baby blanket and I finished another pair of legwarmers and have started a third pair.  The one pair I made were too small so they went to a friend of Pk.  It's fun to see my legwarmers skating past me on the ice!

On the book front, I continue to read as much as I can.  In the fiction department, I have finally gone back to a book I had bought ages ago.  I love Sarah Addison Allen when I am in the mood for her.  Her books are whimsical and sweet, and are stories in which dreams come true.  There is a hint of magic in them but they are not fantasy.  I love her when she is on - she makes me look a little bit differently at the world around me.  As I am reading "The Girl Who Chased the Moon", I desperately want to make cake!

In terms of non-fiction, I have two books on the go - Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans and Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott.  Both books are by authors who I find so easy to connect with but also who have fought some pain and some questions about faith and church that make me feel as if I am not the only one who struggles sometimes.  They are also books that allow me to graze - I read a bit here, a bit there and the chapters aren't too long so I can read a tiny bit at bedtime and still feel like my faith muscles have gotten a bit of a stretch.  That is exactly what I need right now.

I can't wait to see what you are reading and stitching!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Yarn Along

I don't get my blog written anywhere near as often as I would like but at least I have been able to keep up with my Yarn Along posts of late.  I love the Yarn Along, hosted by Ginny over at Small Things.  I love to read and I love to knit and I love to get new ideas!

I haven't had much time but I have been able to get a tiny bit done.  I finished the other books I was reading (if you haven't read Sarah Bessey's Out of Sorts, it's definitely worth it) and so I picked up again on a couple of books that I have been meaning to get to.  Simply Tuesday, by Emily Freeman, is a book from a theme of my reading that comes up every so often - trying to get out from under the frenzied pace of my life.  I haven't gotten very far but I am finding that I am enjoying this book so far.  In terms of fiction, I had a bit of trouble getting into Go Set a Watchman, which I have been meaning to read forever but that has definitely changed, as proven by the bags under my eyes at work today.  I can't put it down.  There is just something about Harper Lee's writing that speaks to me and I love her characters.

In terms of knitting, I'm working on several things, as well.  I finished the other pair of legwarmers and they ended up being too small, as I suspected (it helps to read the carefully enough to know the sizing BEFORE you have knit half of the project).  Now, I have started the larger size of these Gap-inspired Leg Warmers and I'm really enjoying knitting these.  The pattern is easy, the cables look lovely and it's simple enough that I don't have to look at the pattern now.  I also have a baby blanket project that I'd like to get going (although I know it's probably a lofty goal) that I have started.  I'll share more later but there have been several babies born at church lately and I'd love to give each a blanket.

I can't wait to see what everyone else is working on!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Yarn Along

Welcome to another Yarn Along post.  For anyone who doesn't know, the Yarn Along is hosted by Ginny over at Small Things.  It gives us a chance to share what we are stitching and what we are reading.  My only problem with it is that my list of patterns I want to make is getting very long and my goodreads want-to-read list is endless!  It's so much fun.

This week, I've been frantically trying to knit and to read.  Once a month, my Wednesday evening moms prayer/reading group meets on a Saturday to craft.  It's an eclectic group (the best way to describe us in so many ways - we couldn't be more different) but we also manage to have found this sense of community that I have rarely experienced in my life (but that's another post).  I got a full afternoon to knit on Pk's second pair of legwarmers.  They seemed ... short, so I extended them.  I gave the pattern a closer look and I discovered my mistake - they were a pattern to make a toddler pair (with a larger size pattern down below).  I think they have enough stretch that they will work so I decided to keep going (I have a very low tolerance for frogging and I couldn't stand the idea of starting from scratch).  If they don't work, they can go to a friend's little girl.  Over the weekend, I got one done and another half way there.  I'm also working on a dishcloth (since I've been so inspired around here!)

In terms of reading, I have finally moved onto two new books.  My friend lent my Sarah Bessey's new book, Out of Sorts.  I.LOVE.THIS.BOOK!!!!!  I liked Jesus Feminist but it didn't do it for me the way her blog has over the years.  This book, on the other hand, it fantastic.  I'd love to read it all in one sitting but I don't want to miss the chance to reflect on each chapter before I move on.  I definitely need to buy this book for my collection!

I also had someone lend me Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee.  I loved To Kill a Mockingbird and I have resisted reading this because I couldn't imagine loving it as much as her other book.  Someone handed this to me and said I had to read it and I've been trying to, slowly.  I'm not very far in (I keep falling asleep) but I'm not sure whether that's a statement about the book or about my life, of late.  I'll let you know.

I can't wait to see what everyone else is reading and knitting!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Good Friday, Plan B

I had been looking forward, all week, to this weekend.  I love Easter weekend.  I love the services.  I love the family traditions.  I love the chance to be focused on what means most to me.  We were especially excited because I have been part of a women's prayer study since September and these women have become so special to me.  They go to a different church and it happened that our two churches were worshipping jointly for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.  It may sound silly but all of us being together with our families meant so much to me.  I had been rehearsing with the Worship team and was singing on Good Friday morning and singing songs I love and we had get togethers with Dh's family set for the weekend as well.  It sounded like exactly the kind of weekend I was hoping for.  I had so many plans.

Then, the weather hit.

Thursday night's service was cancelled due to freezing rain.  That was disappointing but at least we would be able to see everyone this morning.

Then, Dh's family cancelled.  That was o.k.  I had known the weekend was going to be crazy-busy and we have plans in the next several weeks.  This would just mean more time for naps and reading.

Then, the power very dramatically went out this morning at 5 a.m.  (Having the power fully go off and fully come on again repeatedly for about 10 minutes before going off fully is an alarming experience!)  That was when I started to feel really frustrated.  Didn't Mother Nature realise this weekend was Easter?  Come on...

Then, this morning's service was cancelled.  Seriously?  Good Friday with no service?  What photos would I have for the memory wall this year?  What would make this special for the kids?  I had all of these ideas for what Easter should be and life was not cooperating.   You would think that after how many years of things not going according to plan, I would be able to roll with it but I'm still terrible at it.

I took about an hour or so of feeling really let down and then, I decided it was time to get over it.  Given what we are honouring, do I truly have ANY right to complain?  How ridiculous.  I am so very lucky, I have no right to complain, even if it wasn't the way I wanted things to be.  I feel so shallow even writing this because I was being such a baby but truly, Easter means so much to me.  While I am trying to be more grown up, I was just so sad.

Anyway, I decided that it was time to make new memories this year and to turn this into the Easter plan B that ended up being one of our best.  I started by trying to take some photos to capture other memories.

 There was my wonderful Dh, who remembered that he had bought a little propane burner to make me my tea in just this kind of situation.  Never has a cup of tea tasted so good.
 There was the family effort at bailing the sump pump.  If you don't live somewhere that you need one, consider yourself lucky.  This area is damp and if you don't have a sump pump, in the spring, you will have a basement filled with water if you aren't careful.  We had to hand bail ours every 40 minutes and that involved taking 10 - 15 buckets of water to the bathroom to pour into the tub.  We had some giggles as we managed to spill water on our feet.

Then, there was the skating rink outside.  It was actually very pretty if you didn't feel the need to go anywhere.  We had to run out to the grocery store (we have other friends who aren't able to see family, either, so we are doing an "Orphans dinner" on Sunday and I had to get ingredients for our Jello eggs - yes, Jello eggs, you can laugh but my family has always had this weird attachment to Jello treats at holidays) and we discovered a skating rink outside.  We spent about 30 minutes chipping ice to avoid killing ourselves and the kids discovered the joys of slipping and sliding.  The neighbour kids from over the road saw us having fun and decided to join us.  It was totally unplanned and totally memorable.

 Little Man's means to help chip away the ice.

 Finally, just before bedtime, the sun came out and the evening light shining through the ice on the trees was much prettier than you can tell from this photo


It wasn't a day of worship in the way that we had planned but after a day of listening to Taize, Hillsong and Chris Tomlin (yes, we are eclectic in our tastes!), reading and cuddling at home and having fun in the magical world outside, I feel like at least I was present and not taking things for granted.  I can't say that it was the most worshipful day in the way I had planned but I was reminded, yet again, of how lucky I am.

Oh and hey, I have some photos that will immediately remind us of a special year...

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Yarn Along

Welcome to my weekly Yarn Along post.  I'm having so much fun with this and I find that these posts really help me to keep some forward momentum.  Thank you so much to Ginny who hosts the weekly Yarn Along over at her beautiful blog!

This week, I finally finished my leg warmers for my daughter.  I'm really excited!  I think they turned out pretty well.  I still need to anchor ends and do some blocking but overall, Pk is happy with them so that is what matters.

Now, I want to turn my attention to making some dishcloths.   Looking at everyone else's posts has made me want to take a bit of time to make some more myself so I am back to my favourite pattern, Open Star.  I add a garter stitch border at the top, bottom and sides but I like the finished look.  I bought one of the large balls cotton and I'll be curious to see how many cloths it makes.

Nothing very exciting on the book front.  I am almost finished both malestrom and Suite Francaise and I have books waiting.  A friend gave me a copy of Go Set a Watchman and I can't wait to read it.  I know it's not To Kill a Mockingbird but I loved that book so much, I'd love another chance to read Harper Lee.  I also like to try to read books that I have been loaned quickly - my family has a bad habit of doing things to borrowed books (the last time, a dog threw up on the book, which has never happened before or since!)

I can't wait to see what everyone else is working on!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Holy Week

I'm feeling very frustrated right now.  Today was Palm Sunday, as many of you will know.  For those of you who don't know, it's a BIG deal.  It's the start of the week often referred to as Holy Week or Passion week.  It's the week that starts with glory, ends with glory and has a whole lot of darkness in the middle.  As a Christian, this is the biggest week in the year, the time when we are pondering the biggest mysteries of our faith and celebrating Jesus and who He was and is.  Why doesn't it seem like anyone is paying attention?

I get frustrated every year.  I'm not Catholic and I'm from a background that teaches me not to celebrate too soon - the pain has to come before the joy.  Most Protestant churches don't do Holy Week to the same extend that Catholic ones do (our former church in Toronto did a Thursday night service but neither the church we used to worship at or our current church even have a Maundy Thursday service and while there are mentions of Holy Week, we aren't given much guidance as to how to honour it).  Here I am, in the midst of what is supposed to be so important and yet I can't seem to find a way to make the world slow down or to make the world around me notice.  I'm just as busy and in fact, probably busier as I try to get Easter treats purchased and made, attend Worship Team rehearsals and clean my house to host family when really, I'd like to go to a retreat and hide away.  It seems so strange to be at work on Thursday and dealing with all that busyness and yet also try to be read for church (both practically and in my head) that evening.  It's even worse on the years that Passover corresponds with Maundy Thursday - Dh and I try to do a Messianic Seder and trying cooking lamb and doing a lingering meal in that madness. 

I don't know what the secret is and I can honestly say after spending some time online and browsing Pinterest, nobody else seems to have the answer.  I guess it can be said that there is a lesson here in terms of focusing on Jesus and the Story while I am in the midst of a very insanely busy life but it's a lesson I'm having trouble learning and I'm finding it very frustrating.

Friday, March 18, 2016


One of the benefits of having a daughter who is 8 turning 9 is that we have the chance to read all kinds of wonderful books together.  It has also led me to rediscover the books of my childhood (and I was a big reader and lover of books who had the most wonderful librarian mother, so we read some wonderful things).  I'm always on the lookout for old pleasures and since doing used book sales seems to be very "in" at schools right now, it gives me many chances to scrounge old books.  I found an old favourite a few weeks ago.

In the last ten or so years, list making, especially gratitude list making has become a really popular thing to do.  I think I first head about it when Oprah embraced Sarah Ban Breathnach's book Simple Abundance and everyone was supposed to write down three gratitudes each evening.  As someone who loves nothing more than a blank notebook, of course, I jumped on that train.  Then, along came Ann Voskamp and One Thousand Gifts, again, embracing the idea of recording gratitudes.  This was another book that I loved and I started yet another notebook.  At our last booksale, I realized that my list making goes back much further than either of these two authors.

When I was around ten (I can't remember exactly), I stumbled across the book Anastasia Krupnik by Lois Lowry.

 I don't remember much about the book other than that she was a list maker and she always had lists going of things that she liked and hated.  That was when my list making habit was born and I loved those books.  I found one on the table at the book sale and I had to grab it!  It's not a classic by any means, unlike many of the others that Pk and I share (that's another post) but given that Pk already seems to share my love of notebooks and jotting down ideas and thoughts, I hope that she will love Anastasia the way that I did.  Going back and browsing my lists can be so much fun - reminding me of the little pleasures that so often get left behind in the frenzy of daily life, especially those connected to the changing seasons.  Part of being present is watching for those little pleasures and keeping these lists goes a long way to help me to keep my eyes open!

Are you a list keeper?  Do you try to keep gratitude or other lists?