Friday, September 12, 2014

Unicorn Farts {oh my, how indelicate she is tonight!}


It was an indescribable blessing to get to spend time at the Oregon Coast with some of our dear friends.  Jesse and Danny (er, Pastor Dan - so weird to say) have been friends since high school and when he fell in love and married Amber, we were so excited for them, albeit a little envious since our own engagement was at the same time but a year longer since we were living long distance at that point.  We have visited Danny and Amber several times over the years and at different stages of family growth and every time I remember what a kindred spirit I find in Amber, all the more so as our children get older and I see the Kingdom mentality borne out in the way they are rearing their children too.  It was so fun and so encouraging to get to spend five days with them in their home in Pacific City where Danny is now the pastor at Pacific Coast Bible Church

In my life I don't often have much "girl time," (unless you count the 13 hours a day I spend with girls four and under).  My children are young, younger than any of the other moms I really know here and my life is still so dictated by their needs.  When we moved here, we moved away from the place that had always been my home where many of my oldest and closest friends and some new and incredible friends have settled down and I really miss them and the time spent just talking and laughing and doing goofy things together.  I know it takes time to develop those kinds of friendships and I am blessed with several incredible women who have befriended me here.  But when Amber and I were trolling pinterest together late one evening after the kids were all abed, and came across THIS hilarious idea, it was so nice to just collapse into giggles with her and then try our hand at it for the Kids Day Amber was planning for the next day.  Jesse and Danny talked about Serious Things in the other room while we mixed and poured and problem-solved how to proceed with this silly baking project.  So, if you're reading this, Amber, thank you for just being goofy with me.  I enjoyed our serious talks too, but Unicorn Farts and sack races and watching our kids put on a concert are some of my favorite memories now. 

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Yarn Along

While I only really missed on yarn along and then last week I was a day late, it still seem like a really long time since two weeks ago.  I suppose that's what happens when the days are full and vacation happens.  We spent a lovely five days in Seattle and another lovely five days visiting sweet friends in Oregon near the beach.  

Aren't the twisted knit stitches in the Shalom pretty?  I tried it on carefully last night to see how the yoke would look and I think it will be really a nice fit for me.   The second picture is a pretty close representation (at least on my computer screen) of the true color; the other pictures make it look more orange-y than it is.

(excuse me a moment while I go try to pat dry the head of my teething, sleeping baby, who is covered in drool... no wonder she is moaning in her sleep.  There, Orajel will hopefully give her some immediate relief.  Back to my knitting chatter...)

The yarn is just so weighty and I love how it feels in this pattern rather than the original sweater which had long bulky sleeves and big bulky collar and usually felt stifling, especially indoors.  I'm really in love with this knit and the modifications; since I eliminated the waist shaping it's just stockinette with a few rows of garter at the bottom now; quiet mindless knitting for the evenings after days full of children and canning and laundry. 

I have been reading Keep A Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliot for a long time now, just savoring a couple pages at a time, which is really how it is supposed to be read since it's excerpts from her newsletters.  It seems to speak immediately to my heart regardless of what I'm experiencing and feeling.  After reading her thoughts regarding a visit to Dohnavur as she was writing her biography of Amy Carmichael, it was clear to me that I have been a fool to let that biography sit on a shelf without reading it, so it is now on my nightstand waiting to be read - A Chance to Die.  I think it will likely end up being life changing.

I saw Gretchen post a few weeks back about The Egg and I and since it takes place on a chicken farm on the Washington Coast, how could I not look it up?  I suddenly remembered as I was searching for it on the library catalog why the author's name was so familiar - two words:  Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle!  Her writing for adults is just as clever and funny as for children but so very very different.   I'm not very far in (this week has been too busy for much reading) but the 20 or so pages I have read have had me literally laughing out loud.  I am also listening to North and South on Craftlit and because waiting for a new episode and chapter to be released each week is so difficult, I also started listening to The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, also on CraftLit.  It works out well to turn it on as I begin my canning in the afternoons once Rosie goes down for a nap.  I can usually get through one episode a day that way. 

Free the Elves!!  The signs were a posted all the way down an alley between two shops in Puyallup when Jesse and I were hunting for antique shops to poke around in on our one-night getaway. I thought other book-addicts might enjoy them too! My parents graciously kept the girls overnight and it was our first time away from them besides quick dinner dates in two years. The signs made me smile and so did spending time alone with that handsome man. 

Joining in with all the yarn friends at Yarn Along with Ginny!

Monday, September 08, 2014

Last Week's Living

Where do you live?  On the Rez we talk about where people stay, because the answer to where you live is actually where you are most alive.  Where you live the most.  

I live on the Pacific Northwest coastline.  The salty air awakens my senses and my lungs open wide and I am home.  The rhythmic beating of waves, the screeching of seagulls, the unbridled joy of dogs and children dashing in and out of roaring water, the morning fog and afternoon sun - it is a part of who I am. The sand in the Red Vines, sand in the diapers, sand in the hair, sand coating the inside of the car, sand everywhere brings me back to being five years old and rolling down sand dunes and darting in and out of the tide.  It reminds me of waiting impatiently while Daddy untangled and connected line to kite and fearfully holding the line while the wind whipped and tried to tear it from my little fingers.  It reminds me of being a teenager and playing with little brothers in the sand, and strolling through shops meant for tourists like me. 

All those memories are tied up together with a longing to share the ocean with my own children.  So I spread towels on the dry sand and watch them splash in the waves like their mommy did.  We gasp excitedly as that cormorant dives yet again, this time coming up with a fish that it swallows whole, its neck bulging.  We watch the flock of 15 or more pelicans crossing the sky all afternoon, and make sand sculptures, and run squealing from the waves.  I drag water-crazy Millie back once more from the place where the waves will be just a little too strong and deposit her on a towel for another red licorice stick.  We go for a drive and get cocoa after the weather turns cold and look out our window at the forest, the beach houses, the bays.  We are on our way to making our own beach memories together now. 

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Late Yarn Along

I'm a day late on the Yarny posts but decided to go ahead anyway. I've been working steadily on my Shalom using repurposed yarn and I'm feeling pretty positive about how it will turn out at this point!  I missed a whole row in the yoke so I had to frog a good 8 rows or more on our vacation but as always I'm glad I did and also glad I didn't notice the mistake too much further on! Tonight I cast off the cap sleeves and now I think the body will zip through. It will be thick and warm for when the weather turns truly cold. I think repurposing the yarn makes me connect even more with this garment, maybe akin to how people feel when using homespun/home dyed yarns (though not as cool). I figured out how to deconstruct a store bought sweater from my youth and remake into something I will like more now. That's pretty cool.

I finished all the Little House books up to The First Four Years and when I picked it up last night, I had a sense of foreboding that I was going to be sorely disappointed.  After deliberation,  I have decided not to read it. I just feel that Laura didn't finish writing it for a reason and after devouring her beautiful polished writing, this draft-like posthumous work was so lacking. So I am unexpectedly finished with the series and feel like a good friend just moved away. What a beautiful trip those books were for me in my current stage of life.

I often forget to include what audiobooks I'm listening to via CraftLit. I'm still enjoying North and South so much and will probably write more on my thoughts in a few weeks. I also started listening to an archived book from CraftLit- The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, having no idea I was stepping into one of the earliest mystery novels.

Can I include a little watch list too? We have been enjoying the BBC show The Paradise and are eager for the third season to air in a few weeks. We also watched a really good movie called Short Term Twelve that was a pretty realistic portrayal of life working with "troubled" (for lack of a better word) youth.

We got back last night from a trip to visit friends on thd Oregon Coast. I can't wait to look through my pictures but haven't been able to upload them to my computer since I left the camera cord somewhere at my parents' house last week on our trip.  So far that's the only thing I've discovered we're missing which is pretty stellar for 10 days away with three small munchkins and all their trappings!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Yarn Along, travel edition

The twisted seed stitch pattern of my Shalom cardigan is very pretty but is time-consuming.  It takes me so long to do one row. I also hadn't figured on the fact that the stitch pattern in the yoke may take up a lot of yarn in comparison to the stockinette sweater I repurposed the yarn from, but considering the original sweater had a collar, sleeves, and pockets and this project is cap-sleeved and sweeps away from the midline, I think I should have plenty.

Right after taking this picture,  I read the last two chapters of Little House on the Prairie. Every time Almanzo made an appearance my heart went pitter pat in such a silly way! Today was our eighth wedding anniversary,  and reading about sweet young beginnings of love at this time made me remember so clearly the first days and months of our love. 
In a similar yet unrelated vein,  every time a shawl or wrap was mentioned in the book, my knitter's imagination ran zigzagging away from me wondering about the style, color, and origin of their garments. As a living history reeanctor in my younger years, I have a love affair with understanding civilian lifestyles,  woman's daily fashions, etc, of times past. Aw, knitting. You provide such a fulfilling link from my present mind to the women who have come before.

Next up, These Happy Golden Years! I am joining up with Ginny but typing on my phone since we are out of town right now, so providing an actual link may or may not happen.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Good Yes

He fell onto the couch Monday night, nine o'clock, the kids finally all quiet in their beds, looked at her with a smile and said, "So where you want to go tomorrow?"  
The look on her face betrayed her confusion.  "You mean camping?  I thought we agreed last week that we weren't going to try to go."  
"We should go.  Can we go?"
She hemmed and hawed, intimidated by the sheer amount of work it would take to pack and load five people, three of whom were under age five, into a car with food and gear, and to a campsite by the next day.

She couldn't outright refuse, in fact, the look in his eyes told her she was going to say yes because she hates to snuff that hope and excitement, the boyish joy of outdoors still living in him. 
So she said yes. 

Sometimes the hard Yes is the best choice you can make.  She keeps seeing all over other women who are working hard to say "No," but her heart is being pulled toward more "Yes." Yes, yes, yes.  This Yes, she knew, would mean a flurry of stress and unexpected work but she knew she wouldn't regret it.

They were in the car right after lunch next day, packed to the brim with food, stove, tent, clothes.  She was determined to pack as light as she could but to bring the things that would make this Yes a good one.  That camp kitchen, the one that pops up in under five minutes and provides a counter-space and a place for the stove... that is a worthwhile space-taker.  Those extra outfits she longed to bring for clean clothes changes?  Left behind.  She determined to believe that really, God really did make dirt and dirt don't hurt. 

The baby wore dirt the whole three days and the grease in her hair built up until she thought maybe she should just rub the griddle on her own head before cooking up those pancakes.  She focused her thoughts on helping him devise a pancake flipper instead and the dirt and the grease faded as they smiled at each other and remembered again what made them friends in the first place.

She turned to see the early morning sun glint off that little girl's golden hair, nearly gasping at the beauty of the simple smile meeting hers. At the quail muttering in the empty campsite nearby, the rabbits bounding through the brush only feet away. Him showing his children the tracks of a raccoon come to water. The woodpecker clicking into the tree overhead.  No profound thoughts, no insights.  Just a quiet watching.  This, she thought, this maybe, is what it means to "treasure up all these things and ponder them in her heart."

His mercies are new every morning.  Stumbling out of the tent when the clock read three in the morning, to find a bush with a small child - that requires mercy.  Asking forgiveness when her sharp tongue lashes, overwhelmed by the dirt or the need - another mercy required. Hearing the racket of no less than six raccoons scrabbling around our campsite looking for food scraps, seeing the wonder in the eyes of a child at their charming faces - that is mercy.  The coo of the mourning dove in the soft glow of morning light; the flop of bass jumping clean out of the water; reading "Goodnight Moon" on a camp chair in the quiet evening - new mercies.  Roasting marshmallows over the campstove since a burn ban is on and seeing the chocolate smeared on sticky smiles.  His creative tales whispered quiet in the tent to eager ears and that little girl's excited contributions when daddy asks for help with ideas for how to solve the conflict - a full heart. 

This Yes was a good yes.