Saturday, May 19, 2018

Happily Ever After

I did not get up at any special hour to watch the royal wedding today. I had an invitation to a "watch party" of sorts, and I did consider it for a minute. But ultimately I decided to just sleep until I woke up....which I did at 5:00am, which is pretty customary for me these days...and then I watched the wedding...lol! Not all of the wedding, mind you, I didn't actually turn on the television until around 6:30...but then I watched from there. By the way, it was a lovely wedding. 

I hear that it was much different than other royal weddings, and I believe that, even though the last royal wedding I actively followed was Diana and Charles...in 1981. There was more pomp and circumstance around Meghan and Harry than I have ever seen in person at an American wedding, although the Catholic weddings I've been to give it a good run! But I was happy to see that this wedding was also fun and free, including an energetic sermon about love that makes me feel like I have had my church for the week! (I'm still going to church tomorrow, though...lol! I love church!) 

It was a simple message: Love God, Love your Neighbor, Love Yourself. Three good things that naturally branch from one another and, as I have said before, make the world a nicer place when freely practiced. But you have to keep them in order...Love God first, because God is love and God loves us. He loves us so much that He sent His Son, He came as a man, to die for the sin that makes us unlovely. My dad once gave me a birthday card that read, "I love you for 2 very good reasons: 1. I'm your dad and 2. You love me back." That kind of love comes natural. We should love God back simply because of his sacrificial love for us.

Out of our love for God comes a love for what (and who) He loves, our Neighbors...the people all around us...even the ones that are unlovely. I often remind myself, especially when dealing with difficult people, that "People are people, wherever you go." They are, and people are flawed, and hurting, and occasionally prone to angry outbursts. Some people can be quite unlovely, quite hard to love, much of the time. Still, we are to love who God loves, in the best way we can. After all, aren't we all unlovely, at least some of the time? 

We are, and that brings us to the third love...the love for ourselves. We are People, and people are people wherever you go, and I know my own flaws (and you know yours) better than any other human on the planet. So how can you love yourself, knowing how unlovely you are? Circle back to that first point...God is love and God loves us! While we were still sinners (today, yesterday, tomorrow...we are all still sinners) He died for us. If he loves me, values me, cherishes me enough to die for me, how could I not love me, too? I do not always like me, I do not always like the things I say and do, but I always have a reason to love me. Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. If Jesus loves me, I can love me, too. 

I cried a little on the couch while I watched Harry and Meghan say "I do"...I tend to tear up at weddings, especially as I remember when Sweetie and I said our vows, many moons ago. I hope that everyone at today's big wedding, and everyone watching around the world, heard that message about love and that it will make a difference in the way we all live our lives from this day forward.

I hope that Meghan and Harry do experience marriage "until death do us part," and that they have times of sanctuary from the watching world as they learn to live and love together. Rough days will come, that's what "worse" and "poorer" and "sickness" represent in the vows...not an if, but a when...and I hope they remember this day and that sermon. I hope they choose love over and over, even if happily ever after isn't the fairy tale they hoped it would be, and I hope that their family and friends provide love and encouragement through the process.

I hope you and I are learning to love better with every passing day, week, month and year. As we get to know ourselves and our own flaws better, I hope we are able to practice grace and love more and more. And even though I know that "happily ever after" is not as common as "just doing our best to get through today," I hope that there is some happily ever after thrown in for good measure.

Thanks for stopping by. May you Knit your own Happily Ever After by loving well and in Good Health!

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Dogpile

I've been working a pattern
I've been stacking them down;
I've been stacking them up!

I have stitched them together
In blue, yellow, red-
Black noses and smiles,
Square bodies and heads.

They are cute, they are fun,
They are soon on their way-
To find a new home,
With new friends to play!

This morning, I thought to myself, "I'm going to call this post, 'Dogpile!' That will be fun, and it applies...but I think it means something." So I looked it up...

From the Free Dictionary

dog·pile

 or dog pile (dôg′pīl′, dŏg′-)Slang
n.
1. heap or cluster of people pressed closely together or piled on top of each other, as in celebration or assault.
2. In football, a heap of players that have leapt or fallen on top of a tackled ball carrier or loose football.
3. An outpouring of like-minded criticisms or retorts in response to something: the latest critic to join the dogpile condemning the new TV season.
4. deposit of dog excrement.

It is also a search engine, go figure. There were other definitions, but I am not sure I put stock in them. After all, they were not in the Free Dictionary! 

Of course, none of these definitions apply to this stack of stuffed toys that slighty resembles the idea of puppies playfully piling on top of one another! Two lessons here today friends:
  1. Check into a word you have heard before you use it freely. There may be a definition you don't know, and you could be stepping in a dogpile if you use that word in the wrong company! (I speak from experience, having used new words without checking before today...) And
  2. The Internet can be a very funny place, but don't believe everything you read there!
It has been gray here lately, but Summer is coming! I am glad that I have these bright friends around to perk me up until the sun comes back!

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

PS - Tomorrow is Mother's Day. If she is still around, call your Mom. She loves you, and  none of us is guaranteed next year. 

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Good Choices

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. That is science...and it is life. For each dollar earned, there is an expense incurred. For every choice there is a consequence. For every head there are tails...same coin, opposite sides.

As I have worked on my latest project, a double-knit afghan, I am reminded again and again of the truth that my choices matter. Good or bad? High or low? Light or darkness? Sometimes there are shades of gray, like good vs. better or bad vs. worse...but most of the time, there are clear paths to right and wrong.

I turn my afghan after every row, and I see the lighter side approximately half the time. I like the lighter side better, and I think of it as the "right" side, even though the blanket will be completely reversible when finished. I just prefer the brightness, and it is much the same in most of my life. 

When I was younger, I dabbled on the darker side from time to time, and I usually got caught. I was not very clever or cunning, and therefore have been a rule follower pretty much from birth. I wish I had had purer motives for following the rules, but it pretty much came down to getting tired of getting caught!

The older I get, the more I see that the easier choice is almost always the right choice. It may not be easier in the moment, doing the right thing is often a struggle, at least temporarily. In the long run, however, the better choice leaves me with less explanation, fewer frustrations and a clearer conscience. No need to cover my tracks if my choices are legal, morally sound and in the best interest of myself, my family and society. I sleep better when I make good choices.

I have a friend who has two dogs. One is older, a calm soul, content to sit at her feet and get a good belly rub once in awhile. The other is a little rebel! Younger and super energetic, bouncing from person to person, this wild one wants all the attention all the time. I have often heard Jes say to her ping-pong pooch, "Sadie, make good choices!," and now that she is a mom of three, I am sure her kids hear it from time to time as well! This is the recording in my head when I am facing down a third chocolate donut, or a yellow light on the brink of red, or an easy way out that might not be the best choice: "Pretty, make good choices!" (For what it's worth, I am glad that Jes is not standing in front of me with a water bottle when I hear that recording...although the threat of a cold squirt would probably also help me to make good choices!)

These days, good choices are clearer to me, and I am thankful for that. There will always be some hairs to split on good, better and best choices, and I still eat the donut sometimes (as well as making other poor choices along the way). I am far from perfect, but making good choices is easier for me than it is for Sadie, even without the water bottle!

I am also thankful that life does come with an instruction manual...the Bible. I know that some will balk at that, because they don't believe in God or that Jesus is the Messiah, and I respect that we all have our own free will and opinions. However, I would also challenge the atheist, the agnostic, the apathetic to take a look again at the greatest commandment - Love. Love is clearly the basis of the whole Bible, and if we all worked at loving well, poor choices would diminish. Living our lives with love and respect for our fellow man and for God naturally leads to better choices, and better choices make for a kinder, better world.

Thanks for joining me on the brighter side this afternoon. May we all make good choices, and Knit in Good Health today!

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Short and Squat

Sometimes I knit with a pattern.
Sometimes I go it alone.
Every so often
I feel like adventure...
And I make a pattern my own!

This time there was a pattern.
A blanket chart, double-knit.
I started out strong,
but it didn't last long...
Then I re-wrote the charts just a bit!

In truth, I re-wrote the charts a LOT. I have now started this blanket a total of three times: twice before the re-write! I love the look of picture knits, and I love that this will be reversible, but I did not love how the first row of pictures turned out...very short and squat.

When I first looked at the pattern (which is really just the chart), I saw that it was a bit too square looking. After all, knit stitches are short and squat...to get a  square you might need 10 stitches and 15 rows, or 12 stitches and 16 rows, or some other ratio. The smart thing to do, knowing this, would be to make a small swatch to test the ratio. Yes, that would be the smart thing to do.

What I did instead was to just cast on 139 stitches (times two, for double-knitting), and start knitting. Oops! A mistake! That's ok...I can rip back to fix it. Oops! I didn't rip back far enough? Ok, let's just rip it all out and start over. On a roll now, I am almost ready for the next set of picture charts...wait just a cotton pickin' minute! This is NOT a square! None of them are! 7 inches wide and only 5.5 inches tall? Ugh! 

And then I re-charted the whole thing. In Excel. 139 stitches by 184 rows, one square at a time. 

So, as I headed into this weekend, I had 3 rows of a new blankey on my needles...and high hopes! I would show you new photos, but I am at a knitters' retreat, and that is a little like Vegas...it stays here, people! Also, the Wi-Fi is sketchy, so I have blogged ahead. But I can tell you that I am having fun, knitting much and laughing with friends! There is no shortage of words (or food or drinks) here at the retreat, but the blog (unlike attempt 3 at the blanket, I hope) is a little short and squat this week!

Thanks for stopping by anyway, and Knit in Good Health yourself!

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Prehistoric Pop of Color!

When one lives in northeast Ohio, one learns to tolerate the dull and dreary for months on end...even if one is a cat!

But then one day, in April or May, one just cannot take it any longer! The other day, while contemplating April snow...again...

I reached out for some color. (Side note: If you have a container of Tic Tacs Fruit Adventure, this is a perfect pour! Very inspiring!)

Anyhoo, as I popped those bad boys into my mouth, I started thinking about the yarn again. Remember the yarn? So. Much. Yarn. What color should I knit next? I know! I will knit ALL THE COLORS...muahahahahaha! And so I did...

I started a Stegosaurus in stripes, with the brightest of green plates running down his (her?) back...  

Even when the knitters made fun of my acrylic yarn (which may or may not have come from a dear, departed knitter's stash, gifted to our group by a loving relative...we quite affectionately refer to this as "dead people yarn"), I pressed on until it was time to add the personality.

"I'm stuffed!," shouted Steggie, after many minutes of manipulating fiber fill into the body cavity...

Then the legs. The bright green legs. The legs that will help her (him?) hold that head high! Well, not high. Technically (according to Wikipedia anyway), a stegosaurus holds its tail high, but its short forelegs bring the head closer to the ground, so it can munch on all the natural salad it can find. I know, I know. I am a geek, so I had to look it up. 

Before I looked it up, I agonized at the way that the head always pointed down when I stood Steggie up. I even removed and repositioned the hind legs to make the thing sit a bit straighter, but as it turns out, I should have left it alone. This dinosaur should look like it is taking a nose dive, and Steggie was apparently frustrated with my efforts. In any case, he (she?) was finished with the photo shoot, so I stopped stressing.

Now I am left with only one question: What does one knit following a striped stegosaurus? Well, after just a few minutes contemplation, the cat mentioned a T-Rex...so I have obliged. It does not yet have legs, but she (he?) seems to like the cat already... Black Cat, on the other hand, is not quite sure that she should have chimed in. She did not realize that her suggestion would require participation in the knitting event. She has heaved many a heavy sigh since I started this one! lol! 

So now you now, this is what happens when Springtime in Cleveland lags, which it does pretty much every year. The weather people tell me that the sun should shine today, and it has, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that warm will soon follow! Well, I have uncrossed them to knit...but you get the idea. 

How are you surviving the extended winter of 2018? Are you knitting?

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!