Saturday, July 14, 2018

Pushing Buttons

One of the fun things I do as a knitter, is playing with buttons. This is a,, miniscule sampling of my button stash...

What sweater, after all, is not better after the addition of the perfect button(s)? Exaaactly. For instance, I am working on two little sweaters...and they kindof match, and I would like the buttons to kindof match as well... Bugs? No, those are too big. Frogs? No, too green. Flowers? No. These are little boy sweaters. Cars? Maybe...are there any that are not yellow? No? Ok, not cars. Wait! There they are! Trains! One tan and one blue, just like the sweaters!

But I only have one of each, and the sweaters need 6 buttons which of the plain buttons will go with the trains? Look at all these colors!!! (Reminds me of Tiddlywinks! Remember Tiddlywinks?)

Wait, no. I think I would like to go for a more subtle effect...what about these dark blue ones?

And these tan ones...yesssss!

That's the ticket! Now I just need the motivation to sew the things on, and boom! Baby sweaters, shower-ready!

I wish more decisions were as fun as choosing buttons. Unfortunately, most of my life decisions are more like choosing cat food: Wet or dry? Shreds or chunks? Frisky or frantic? Side note: Why are there so many choices for cat food? Ugh...

Still, as boring or difficult as the choices may be, I am glad that I am free to choose. I am thankful to live where I live, to have everything I need, and also that I have the time and resources to enjoy my favorite hobby. Above all, I am thankful that Jesus loves me, today and always, even if I choose the wrong buttons! (Lookout for the cats if I choose the wrong cat food, tho...whooooo, boy! Forgiveness is not in their wheelhouse!)

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Messy, Messy, Messy

A few years ago, Miranda Lambert had a song out called Mama's Broken Heart. When it came on, I cranked the volume and sang at the top of my lungs. I think that was my crazy showing, because I get it...I have had my heart broken more than a couple times. But even though I sang loudly and with reckless abandon, I didn't want anyone to see or know the crazy like it truly plays out in my head. 

In my head, the crazy is a string of run-on sentences...things that could (but probably will not) happen...things I want to do...things I have to do...things I have forgotten to do...things I do not want to forget to do... The thoughts come with vivid pictures, often in amazing technicolor. If I am using a sharp knife, my mind's eye sees it slicing through my finger, blood everywhere, and I mentally run through the list of what I would do if that actually happened...things like that. Things to be hidden, for sure.

Eventually I started to realize that I wasn't doing anyone any favors by "hiding my crazy," or trying to. What I was really doing was working on a nervous breakdown. When the breakdown came, I took a break from the blog (and just about everything) until I felt more like I could keep it together a little better, even when I was falling apart.

I shared a little of that crazy with you in my Pre-Vacation Jitters post a couple weeks back because I now see that it is really not good to hold that all inside. Besides the nervous breakdown, pretending to have it all together does nothing for the world around you. People look at a smiling face (phony or not) and think, "I wish I had my life together like she/he does. My life is a mess!" I think that too! But the truth is, if we are true and honest with ourselves and with each other, that we are all a mess.

We come from messy families, and messy friendships, and messy jobs, and even messy churches. Things often do not go according to plan, and the older I get, the more trouble I have adjusting to the sudden, sharp shifts in direction. When I am on my game, I recognize this, and I take a moment...have a snack or a nap, take a walk, or some other kind of small break from the crazy. I just need some time to wrap my head around the new plan and change gears. 

When I am off my game, the crazy hits like a ton of bricks! I cry, I claw and I come apart, shouting to the heavens, "Really? Why me again?!?" When I am off my game, I cannot even recognize that I need to eat or sleep...I just go off. It is embarrassing. I get why Miranda's mama wanted her to hide it.

But in the quiet moments, the ones where I quiet my brain to hear the voice of God and revel in his mighty creation, those are the moments that I am reminded that He is in control...and I am not. This is a good thing, even if God allows things I do not understand. If I (and my crazy) were in control, everything would be a mess, because I am a mess. I am so thankful that God is for me, and that I can trust his promises, even when I cannot see where the road leads. Every day I remember that "I sought the Lord, and He answered me. He delivered me from all my fears." (Ps 34:4) And every day He continues to deliver me, even when that deliverance involves a sharp turn in the road of my circumstances.

Today I am thankful for the quiet moments, and the calm that can be found all around me, if only I open my eyes. I am thankful for the simple pleasures of summer popsicles, and the astounding beauty of God's creation.

And I am thankful that you have stopped by, even (especially) in the middle of your mess. I am glad that you have taken a moment to quiet your soul, and reassure yourself that you are not alone. I am right there with you, and if misery loves company, lets get messy together. Maybe we can help each other out along the way.

Now, take another moment to breathe, and Knit in Good Health!

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Picture Perfect?

As you may know, we returned from a big, Disney Vacation on Thursday! Having just been to Disney World for our anniversary in 2017, we felt less confused and had more fun this time, especially with our son and his family along for the ride! Now that we are recovered from the travel, the heat of Florida in summer and the average of 14,500 steps each day, I feel like this is the perfect time to show some pictures! 
Animal Kingdom - checking out the Tree of Life
Please take note: that was your warning. I am going to show vacation photos. You were not there, and you may not care, but you are not trapped at a 1960s dinner party...if you don't want to stay, I promise that I will not be offended, and I hope that you will have a lovely afternoon!
After the Finding Nemo ride in Epcot, at Bruce's House!
Still here? Great! Because I took about 200 photos on this trip! I promise they are not all in this blog post, but I did get some pretty good shots! 
Drumming in Harambe at Animal Kingdom,
our first park together!
I also got some of the bored, waiting-in-line photos...
Waiting in line to see Minnie, Mickey and Goofy!
Just got on the ride, where-will-it-take-us? photos...
Toy Story Mania - we rode 3 times at Hollywood Studios!
Fuzzy, moving-ride photos...
Mad Tea Party at Magic Kingdom! She rode twice!
And, of course, badly-lit-and-staged selphies with 3D glasses!

As for the rest, I am so glad that Disney is on their photo game! Disney tip: If you are going to Disney World with kids, get the Memory Maker for unlimited downloads of every character meeting...


and chance happening along the way! 

The photographers are great at what they do, and DO need the photo on Main Street with the castle (and Tinkerbelle!!!)!

But remember that even professional Disney photographers run into bad lighting, or a grumpy, really-needs-a-nap 3-year-old from time to time!

Of course, they also set you up for picture perfect Princess photos!

Parents and grandparents, I found that I was most thankful for the professional Princess photos, so that I was paying attention when Anna asked, "Are you two sisters, too?,"
Anna and Elsa in Norway at Epcot!
and the 3-year-old answered, "Yes, and Lolly never lets me look at the iPad!," with a bit of a boo-boo-lip.

I think Anna, a little sister herself, understood the frustration,

and Elsa seemed to connect with big sister, probably for the same reasons!

I did take some photos of my own with characters and princesses as well, they were necessary at some of the character meals...and they were less than perfect...
Seasonal Character Meal at Hollywood and Dine, Hollywood Studios.
But the looks on the girls' faces as those princesses became people right in front of them? Priceless!
Princess Lunch in Norway (Akershus Royal Banquet Hall) at Epcot Center.
All in all, it was a great vacation, and I would do it again, even with sometimes grumpy granddaughters and other relatives! (Did I mention how HOT and humid it was??? And it rained 3 of the 4 days we were there...)
On the third day, it rained HARD!
Today, my feet and I are glad to be home. I missed the girls almost immediately when we left, and I always wish they lived closer...but I am so thankful for the memories we made and for technology that lets me document those memories. We video chatted with them again just last night, and I think they are glad to be home, too. Though I will miss these views...
Waiting in line for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Magic Kingdom.
Now that you have seen the photos, I have to go back and choose which ones will become 8x10 on the wall and 5x7 on my desk at work! There is also some post-vacation laundry to finish, and the cats are in serious need of extra cuddles, but I am glad to have had this time to catch up with you! I hope your summer is full of knitting and vacationing, and doing the things you love!

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Pre-Vacation Jitters

I am going on vacation. Disney World. With my grandkids. This is going to be fun, right?!? It is going to be fun!

However, I am not to the fun part yet. I am a nervous Nellie with travel and fun, so today is reserved for packing and panicking. Not to air all my dirty, emotional laundry...because all of my laundry is clean today, I promise...

...but I am a mess. Am I the only one who freaks out while planning a stay at the happiest place on earth? I mean, here is where I am:

Pack 4-5 pair of underwear and 4-5 pair of socks. Check. How long will it take us to get to the restaurant where we have our first dinner reservation? 

Three of my capri pants, 1 pair of shorts and 4 tops. Can I bring my knitting needles on the plane?

Do not forget the sunscreen, and pack a small container in the carry-on. How much can I really fit into the carry on?

Already pre-registered for the resort hotel on the app. Did I remember to get more Tylenol for the trip?

Yarn wound for a pair of socks, to keep me busy during the layovers. What if the yarn wants to be something else?

I already think it might want to be hat...should I bring it and knit a hat? Or should I find some sock yarn? Should I bring both?

I have q-tips, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant...all my toiletries and essentials. Should I leave a list of important info for my daughter in case the plane crashes?

Jammies. I need decent jammies for the case the hotel catches fire during the night, and I am left with nothing else.

Chargers. I have to remember the chargers. And the battery back-up pack. What if the internet crashes around the world while I am on vacation? 

Swimsuit. Check. It is in the bag already. What if my swimsuit rips and I have to go swimsuit shopping? ugh!

I want everyone to have fun. What if any of us does not have fun? 

We are checked into the flights, boarding passes saved to my phone. Is our suitcase going to come in under 50lbs?

I am hungry. I need to eat well today, and not worry about that on vacation. Wait. What does our meal plan cover again?

What if TSA takes away my favorite knitting needles?
What if we miss a connecting flight?
What if the airline loses my luggage?
What if all (or any) of my pre-vacation nightmares from the past couple of weeks actually come true?

Hopefully I will be better by the time the landing gear touches down in Orlando tomorrow, but I will likely not fully recover until I hug a granddaughter or two! 

By the way, I am looking forward to my vacation. But I am stressed. Please pray for me, friends. Not just for safety and travel mercies, but that I can pry my fingers from the control panel of this vacation and simply have fun. It is a goal of mine to have more fun, and to worry less,* even when I am not on vacation!

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health. I hear it eases anxiety. ;o)

*Luke 12:22-26
“Do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Go Ask Alice

This post is a little sad and a little fun. Let's start with the fun. 

You may or may not know that I knit. Hahaha! OK, we all know that I a maniac...a little bit obsessively perhaps? Be that as it may, and even though yarn is to me what vodka is to the alcoholic, knitting has brought me so many good things! For instance, had I never knitted, I may never have known how much I like photography! See the hand-knits on my porch?

Nice composition, perfect lighting (no filters), and joy in the stitches! I really do like to take pictures, that has never been a secret...but there is something about capturing the yarn in this way, in the cool of the day, with the morning sun not yet glaring down but just coming up...sigh!

Yarn is never self-conscious. Yarn never says, "Wait. You want me to do what? So you can take a picture?" Yarn never has a bad hair day, or a goofy just poses and waits patiently for the photographer to snap the shot!

Yarn is like Jenny.

Speaking of Jenny, had I never knitted, I may never have met many of the members of my Thursday night knitting group, CKW (Cleveland Knits West)

One cannot capture in a photograph how much fun these ladies are, or how varied their personalities. Of course, one can try...and Alice will always oblige!

I take a lot of photos at knitting on Thursdays. Most of them you do not see on Facebook, or even the blog, though we often share them phone-to-phone, with open-mouthed guffaws (I refer you again to the photo of Alice, above). And sometimes, days after taking a grainy photo of a friend, and still finding a way to use it for fun, I find other things in the picture. I mean, if I zoom out, you can see that Alice and Michelle were at first oblivious to the photos, but not Diana. Diana is tuned in...

...and then someone says something silly, and everyone laughs!

Finally, Alice sees me...and poses...and that picture above is forever captured for the world wide web. But Diana clearly disapproves! lol!

It's like that time in 2010, at Woolapalooza, when Ali noticed Michelle going a little crazy with the brown sheep...bwaaahahaha!

So, yeah. We have a lot of fun, and now I will get to the little bit sad part. Alice has been a member of our little band of banshees for the last 3 years, while her hubby has been stationed in Cleveland for his Coast Guard job. Alice has been a great friend to me, through thick and through thin...through better and worse, whether there are knots in my yarn, or stitches slip smoothly over the needles. Sometimes I just want to go ask Alice, and I have, and I am a better person and friend for knowing her.

Today, Alice and her hubby and the kidlets are on a new adventure. The next duty station is only a few hours away, but too far for weekly Thursday meet-ups (sad face here) but she plans to be back for the semi-annual retreats at Lakeside and (of course) Woolapalooza each May! Alice, we are gonna miss you, but we wish you all the best of everything!

If you have an Alice in your circle, someone who can be serious and silly, as needed and pretty much on demand, treasure her! And though I can no longer just go ask Alice in person, I thank God for technology! Marco...!

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good health!