Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Yarn Along

I haven't been around here in a long time and honestly, I haven't really even had time to read blogs in a while.  I finally logged onto feedly and started reading and before I knew it, I was dying to get back to seeing what everyone is up to.  While I always knit, at times, I sometimes forget how much fun it can be to plan and buy yarn and browse patterns. Thank you, Ginny, for hosting the marvelous Yarn Along!

My needles are frantically trying to get ready for Christmas.  The peach is a wrap for the DECE who I share a classroom with.  You can't necessarily see but it's a hand-dyed yarn and it's very pretty.  I am the queen of cables and this seemed like a good pattern for working in the car and not having to pay close attention.  It's almost ready to be off the needles and blocked.  I'm hoping to get it finished this week.  The pattern is Grandma's Wrap and it's simple and is looking very pretty.  I'm making it longer than the pattern calls for.   The other knitting bit is for a pair of fingerless gloves for Pk's riding teacher.  Fingerless gloves are wonderful for the barn and can go overtop of riding gloves.  I want to make a pair for Pk but right now, I needed something lovely for her teacher for Christmas.  It's with sock yarn and a bit finicky but I love the way the yarn is stripping up.  Sock yarn is so much fun!
In terms of reading, as always, I have several books on the go.  I have recently discovered the Enneagram and it has really interested me.  I won't lie, at first I dismissed it as being some kind of new age something that didn't interest me at all but when several of my favourite Christian authors were very enthusiastic, I became interested.  The Rohr/Ebert book is the one most often reference so I decided to start with that.  It's interesting and it's challenging to try to see myself.  I think I might be a three with a two wing but I'm still trying to figure that out.  I adore Madeleine L'Engle and when my VERY VERY VERY favourite podcast in the world referred to something related to her that I haven't read, I had to get my hands on it.  If you are reader and you haven't listened to What Should I Read Next, you are missing a true pleasure.  It's by Anne Bogel, the woman behind the Modern Mrs. Darcy website and in each episode, she interviews someone with an interesting connection to books.  She asks for three books they love, one they hate and what they are currently reading and then makes three book suggestions.  It's marvelous but your want-to-read list will expand by leaps and bounds.  Finally, I am continuing to meander through the Miss Read Fairacre books.  They are the ultimate in comfort reading and I am currently reading Emily Davis.  If you love cozy villages, real life and a world in which nothing is perfect but people are usually decent and kind, you will love these.  Miss Read also wrote to series, Fairace and Thrush Green, and each series has a significant number of books.  They are lots of fun!

I can't wait to check out what everyone else is up to!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Advent Week 1 - Tuesday

I wish I had something really profound to report but today, I don't.  I have to admit, while I love the idea of quiet and contemplation, I am not good at it.  I read about it, I dream about it and I have great plans but they rarely come to fruition.  For me, it needs to be about baby steps.  I did manage that today.

I slept through my alarm (actually, I misjudged how many times I got to turn it off) and it meant that what had originally been intended to be a slower morning turned into a frenzy of getting all of the usual morning jobs done AND chopping veg and getting dinner into the slow cooker, since Tuesday is our really tight evening.  I am proud of myself though - as you can see from the photo above, I did manage a few minutes of quiet time with the candle lit.  It does make for a calmer way to start the day.  I also downloaded some Christmas music and listened in the car instead of a usual podcast.  My brain is not good at quiet.  I'm trying to change that.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Advent Week 1

Yesterday, it felt easy to feel connected to Advent.  There was church in the morning, the "Open House" to meet the Liberian pastor brought to Canada through the "Refugee Welcome" programme started by churches in the area (which was incredibly moving - once you have heard the experiences of someone whose life has been in jeopardy on numerous occasions and has literally lost his wife and six children fleeing from rebels, it truly helps you to connect to how blessed you are) and then, the town Tree Lighting caroling and adult choir at church.  I sang endless carols throughout the day, spent lots of time in community with people I love and kept my focus directly on the season.  It was lovely and I had so many hopes of staying focused.

Then, it was back to the real world today.  There was work, which is always insanely busy (kindergarten teachers really don't get to sit down, especially on knitting club days when I don't even get a break at recess) and then, there was taking Pk to skating and the endless minutiae of an evening at home - preparing LB's Beaver badge work, making dinner and lunches for the morning, trying to find a few surfaces in the house and bedtime stories.  Until the kids went to sleep, there was not a second for silence or for reflection.

I am trying to figure out ways to embrace the silence of the season.  Yesterday, I read a blog post (I wish I could remember whose so that I could credit it) in which the person writing set a goal of spending at least five minutes each day of Advent doing nothing at all.  It sounds easy enough.  In another blog post (again, I can't remember whose), someone set the goal of lighting a candle every day.  It sounds easy enough, too.  I'm all about easy right now (and not sure I can manage even that!) so those are my two aims for now.  I intend to enjoy the five minutes of silence when I finish here, after a half hour or so of knitting (Christmas gifts need to get made and an excellent book on Audible needs to be savoured) and I lit a candle during dinner.  I can do this, I know I can, at least this week. 

Working up until the 23rd this year, I'm not sure I can keep it up but I plan to try!

Advent 2016

Advent is one of the most beautiful times of year and also one of the most bleak.  I love light - long days with evenings that seem to last forever, early morning light that allows me to walk in the forest with my dogs before anyone is awake, afternoon sunshine streaming through a window as I take a leisurely nap.  These short days and the seemingly endless darkness cannot help but make me feel as though somehow, the sun has slipped away and we have been left abandoned, in a world that has died.  And yet...

When I think of Advent, I immediately thing of the light of a candle.  I did not grow up in a tradition that had night services and for this reason, Christmas Eve, with the blaze of five candles on the Advent wreath at the front of the church felt like magic.  The candles blazed and spread a light warmer than any sunshine.  My more prominent image of Advent is of a candle burning in the darkness, spreading a warm, golden light on everything.

I also tend to think of Advent as being a time of quiet, which is a bit ironic given that, with the mix of school and church concerts, tree lightings, tree cutting parties, skating shows and frantic shopping, the reality tends to be anything but.  This year, I want to try to capture a tiny bit of that quiet into each of my days.  One way that I plan to do that is to make sure that I light a candle at least once each day and I slow down for a few minutes of reflection.  Another, and this is a lofty goal for me, given my past history, is to try to write a blog post daily capturing a moment of waiting, of quiet and/or of joy that came to me in the quiet.   I need to give myself the grace, here and now, of admitting that it probably won't happen every day but the intent is often the first step for me.  If I can maintain some momentum, there just might be some hope that I might survive the Advent season, feeling some peace in the midst of the frenzy and some gratitude because I have had time to actually ponder how blessed I actually am.