Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Yarn Along

Thanks to the arrival of our new puppy, an online course for work I have been taking and this week, a horrible cold (which is why I am home today and can do this, so I guess it isn't all bad), I haven't had any time to be around here on the blog.  I've missed it and you and it's lovely to get a chance to come back with some knitting and reading.  I'm always so grateful to Ginny for hosting the Yarn Along at Small things.  I've followed so many blogs in the last five years or so and my interests shift and change but Ginny's blog has been one that I still keep coming back to.  It's so nice to feel connected!

In terms of knitting, my needles need to be on fire with baby blankets - I have a friend due in May, a friend in June and two in September.  I don't know whether I will manage to have blankets done for everyone but it's my goal to try.  Unfortunately (at least for me), everyone seems to be opposed to finding out the gender so I'm working away using colours that I hope are sufficiently neutral and sadly, my LYS has not had much selection at the moment.  I ended up buying two different lots of grey.  The one above, which is for the first blanket, is a lovely dk in a grey with a blue hint and I'm being a bit lazy in the name of time and just doing a simple feather and fan.  I wanted something that would look pretty and like I had done something amazing but that didn't require hours of counting.  This one is fairly easy and I can take it along with me.  My only worry is that the dk means it won't work up all that quickly.  When I finish here, I plan to spend a good chunk of my sick day in front of the t.v. with my needles going.

In terms of reading, I am reading two TERRIFIC books at the moment.  I started Just Mercy by Brian Stevenson as part of the SheLoves book club a few weeks ago. I don't know why, I fell away from it for a bit but now, I'm back and reading it with a vengence.  If you are interested in the complex issues around justice in the U.S., especially the inequalities related to race and poverty (and the fact that the death penalty is just plain wrong), this is a very powerful read.  On the fiction side, I'm still trying to catch up with Anne Perry, one of my favourite mystery writers who is incredibly prolific and I somehow fell behind.  Blood on the Water is a Monk mystery with an interesting spin that I am really enjoying.

I can't wait to see what others are reading and knitting this week!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Yarn Along

I missed last week's Yarn Along post in the frenzy of Easter and a family night at school and honestly, not much knitting was done last week.  I'm trying to catch up on it this week.  As you can see, my Nimue wrap is coming nicely!  There are 25 repetitions of the pattern and I have done 18 so I am not far away now.

Unfortunately, I also realised that I have FOUR babies being born in our circle of friends in the next few months, May, June, August and September.  I know it's a tall order and I probably won't get a blanket done for everyone but I am going to try my best!  I spent some time of Ravelry searching out patterns and tried to find some that would do.  I'm going to start with the most basic - a version of a feather and fan.  I had trouble finding a good yarn but I ended up with this lovely grey-blue shade of DK.  I don't know whether this baby is a boy or a girl but given that my LYS didn't seem to have all that much of anything, I thought this combo was safer than anything else.  I started last night and it's beginning to show some progress but I wasn't paying enough attention earlier today when I tried to sneak in a few rows and I had to tear out - UGH!

In terms of reading, I finished Found by Micha Boyett (LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this book and will try to write a post on it later on this week) and I also finished The Handsome Man's De Luxe Cafe, finally (I didn't enjoy it as much as some of the other books by Alexander McCall Smith.  Now, I'm reading Blind Justice by Anne Perry (which I hope to finish tonight) and Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson.  Blind Justice started out slowly and I wasn't sure that I was going to enjoy it but, as so often happens with the Monk series, we are now embroiled in a tense court case and I'm hooked - I MUST find out how it gets resolved.  Just Mercy is a huge shift.  It's this month's featured book for the Red Couch book club at She Loves and it's the autobiographical exploration of the career of Bryan Stevenson, who works as a lawyer supporting death row inmates in Alabama.  I started the book during Easter and ended up sneaking off to read over and over again.  I have pretty strong feelings against the death penalty and this book is grabbing me, much the same way that Dead Man Walking grabbed me many years ago.  This is a thoughtful exploration of the humanity of even killers on death row and the fact that there are many factors that go into creating a killer and that it is wrong for the state to murder its citizens, no matter what they have done.  I can't recommend this highly enough!

I can't wait to see what everyone else is working on, bookwise and on the needles!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Holy Week - Sunday

Today was Palm Sunday and of course, at church, we had a parade with the palm branches in the church for the kids.  It was wonderful (this is one of my favourite church days of the year) other than that LB and his friend, J, decided, right at the front of the church in front of everyone, to start a light sabre battle with their palm fronds.  LB is good at giving everyone a laugh and with eyes on him, he plays it all up.

We also made pretzels today, which ended up being a lot of fun.  We talked about the reason we were making them and we worked together to shape them (it ended up being a whole family affair).  They ended up looking like dog poop but they tasted good and the kids had never made anything with yeast before so they were pretty excited.  It will give them some background understanding that we can use when we make matzoh later in the week. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Holy Week part 2

I'm sitting here feeling the tiniest bit guilty.  It's "Earth Hour" (I'm not sure how many places do this, whether it's a local thing, a national thing or bigger but for an hour, we are all supposed to not use electricity - I'm on my laptop using the battery so technically I'm not plugged in) and I'm online looking up ideas for celebrating Holy Week.  I hate the fact that in the busyness of life, I can't focus enough of Easter week.  I wish we had a week now so that I know we could really focus.  I have a bunch of ideas that I've decided I want to try to the next week but I hope they don't get lost in the shuffle.  I have an evening thing at work on Wednesday and my parents-in-law most likely coming to stay on Thursday so we may not have a whole lot of time for focus and contemplation.  Anyway, I want to try...
Here are my plans for this year:
Palm Sunday (tomorrow) - get up and read the story to the kids and possibly watch it on our Jesus video before we go to church to set the story, make pretzels and talk about the story of pretzels (great idea click here).  I'll send a pretzel in each of their lunches each day this week to remind them of what is coming (and, for that matter, maybe I'll make some Easter-themed lunchbox notes)
Holy Week - Clean (as per Jewish tradition before Passover) and make Matzoh with the kids.  We did this last year and they loved it.  We have a set of Resurrection Eggs and I might sit down with the kids with them each morning.  I've also got an Easter playlist I made up years ago and I think that will be our listening for the week.
Maundy Thursday - I'd like to go to church myself (our church doesn't do a service so I'm looking to see where I might go) but I'm not sure it will work.  I think we will do a Messianic Seder (there are lots of links for a Christian Seder online and we have done them for the last three years or so).
Good Friday - church.  I think we will do the rock idea from this blog - we can go for a walk on Good Friday to find our rocks to prepare and write our sins on them.  I think I might make it a t.v. free/screen free day for everyone, just to try and keep us a bit quieter and focused on the meaning of the day.  The kids and I will probably make hot cross buns - I love the homemade ones and the house smells so good.
Easter Saturday - this is really a waiting time.  I think we are going with friends to the town Easter Egg hunt (the kids go store to store in our tiny town and do crafts and activities), we have family coming for a meal and I suspect we will decorate eggs.  My one niece did resurrection rolls with us one year and LOVED them and I think we might do that again, too, which she's here.
Easter Sunday - I will definitely do the Easter basket idea from the blog referred to above with the rocks, we will decorate with all of our Easter decorations (I never put them up until Easter morning).  We will celebrate at church, watch The Easter Carol Veggietales (my daughter's favourite movie of all time) and go to the city to visit my parents.  I have seen lots of cool Easter egg hunt ideas and I'm thinking about doing the glow in the dark eggs with the glow stuff inside at my parents' house if we are there when it's dark - my brother is totally crazy about doing stuff like that.  It sounds like I have a plan!

And the plan for me personally?  I think I will work my way through Holy Week from Common Prayer - I adore this more than I can say and it will help me to keep my focus.

How will you honour Holy Week?

Friday, March 27, 2015

Holy Week

For the last week or so, I've started thinking about Easter.  I've thought about what food we are going to serve my inlaws who are coming to visit.  I've thought about getting a few basket treats for the kids.  I've thought about how we are going to manage time.  I've thought a bit about maybe trying to find a Maundy Thursday service (I LOVE my church but they don't do Maundy Thursday and it's the one time that I miss the worship of my childhood - a few favourite hymns, a quiet evening communion service and preparing myself for the weekend to come). 

Sadly, I haven't really thought about Easter itself.  I haven't done anything to prepare to get my heart and mind ready.

I was at women's group at church tonight (it's a monthly thing and every month, I decide that I'm too tired to go but I'll plod off since I have agreed to go with a friend and every month, I come home so grateful I was there).  This month, among other things, we had a wonderful devotion at the end.  In it, Rebecca, someone I really admire, talked about the fact that for many Christians, while we believe in the amazing gift of Easter, we've gotten so used to it that we just accept it as fact but that we don't really treasure it anymore.  She spoke about the fact that we, as women, work so hard to try to please God and to earn our way into being good enough but that truly, the cross is a symbol that God considered us worthy of dying for, as we are, and that we need to try to recapture the awesomeness of that.  We need to live like the treasure of God that we are and we need to really reflect on the awe of that fact. 

It's really made me aware of a need to plan the next week.  I had meant to make Lent more significant but in the busyness of life, that hasn't happened.  I think I am going to spend some time working tomorrow to make the last week of Easter much more special.  If anyone has any hints or suggestions, I'd love to hear what you are doing.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Yarn Along

I don't have anything new to report this week, just a bit of progress on my Nimue wrap.  It is going to need some blocking to make it look more wrap than scarf but I LOVE the cables.  It's a pattern that I have to watch pretty closely since it would be so easy to make an inattentive mistake but so far, I have only had one disaster and that was early on.  I LOVE cables and this rust colour will be a lovely thing to wear next fall.

I'm still reading The Handsome Man's De Luxe Cafe by Alexander McCall Smith (from the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series) and Found by Micha Boyett.  The Handsome Man's is o.k. - I love this series and this author but I'm tired enough that I don't get many pages in before I doze off.  I LOVE Found and feel a bit like I have finally found someone who feels the things that I do and it is so refreshing.  I haven't made much progress in it this week, though - I'm doing an online course right now and I am up to my eyeballs in teacher-related reading.  It's interesting but not really fun!

I'm liking up to Ginny over at Small Things and can't wait to see what everyone else has been up to this week!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Little Joys

Wow, I'm exhausted!  On the other hand, for once in my life, I actually feel as if I am somewhat on top of things.  I know, it won't last but for now, it feels really good!  I'm trying to drink lots more water and be firm with myself about the fact that my light must be off by 10 p.m. and I must have the kids in bed by 8.  We haven't quite made the 8 p.m. but we've been much closer and we are also doing better for the increase in sleep.

I am reading Found by Micha Boyett and I am LOVING it!  Often, books connected to faith, while good for me, are somewhat hard going.  I wouldn't say this book is easy exactly but it speaks so much to me where I am at that I just have a hard time putting it down.  One of the practices she engages in to try and recapture the art of prayer is to read the psalms at set times each day.  While she aimed for 5, that's too many for me each day, so I am trying to begin and to end my day with a psalm.  On Monday morning, I read psalm one and it spoke to me in such a profound way.  I don't know exactly why it connected so much but I spent time, in the most intense times in my day, thinking of the image of the three thriving by the streams of water and it brought me such a sense of peace.  I adore it when I find a book about faith that means something so personally to me!

Psalm 1

Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers.
Not so the wicked!
    They are like chaff
    that the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
    nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
    but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.