Saturday, July 22, 2017

#OldPeopleProblems

As my sweetie and I were taking our evening walk yesterday, he told me that he had accidentally dialed our daughter on his phone. When she answered, it was evident that she could not hear him through his bluetooth headset (he was doing some yard work), although he could hear her. Later, when his hands were free, he texted something about how he didn't mean to call her, and he wasn't sure how the phone even dialed from his pocket. Without skipping a beat, she answered, "#oldpeopleproblems."

As he relayed the story to me, I laughed out loud! I mean, to her we are old. To us, we are still young and vibrant. Perhaps that is what these middle years are all about. Perhaps these late 40s and early 50s are for learning how to be old. If that is the case, I will sure be paying attention to the lessons all around me!

After all, I work in customer service for an insurance company. Do you know who calls their insurance company the most? Who calls if that 6-month premium increases by 72 cents? Who calls because they can't find the bill you should have sent 3 weeks ago? Who calls because they just want to check that the bill they have marked paid is actually paid? #oldpeopleproblems.

Besides my encounters at work, our parents are aging (some better than others), and we are noticing that they are not as sharp as they once were. We are noticing that these people, thirty years our senior, are having trouble doing the things they love to do. They have called for help because they have fallen, and they could not get up. They occasionally forget special occasions, and forget that they have forgotten them. We have seen (and heard) their frustration at these changes. #oldpeopleproblems.

So here is what I have learned about the kind of old person I hope to be:

When I am old, I hope that I will still love people. I hope that I will not yell at the gal answering the phone when things do not go my way. I plan to continue my habits of kindness and common decency, even though I am sure that some of my filters will not continue to filter my thoughts before I speak them in exactly the same way they do now. 

When I am old, I want to have joy. The joy of seeing those I love on a regular basis and of watching the children grow is life-giving, and I want to always find the joy! I have heard that it takes more muscles to frown than to smile, and so I hope that my wrinkles will reflect an easy grin, many lols and and a face filled with the joy that comes from loving and being loved.

When I am old, I would like to think that I would not feel privileged because of my age. I hope that I will recognize that I do not need special recognition on earth, because I am certain of my heavenly reward as it grows ever closer. I hope that bitterness will not overtake my thoughts and conversations, even if my mind fails me. 

I have heard some say, "When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple, with a red hat that doesn't go..." But I will wear purple today, and crazy print pants, and comfortable shoes. Today I will take better care of myself, not to hinder the aging process, but to add enjoyment to every day along the way. When I am old, I hope to not be a burden to anyone, although I am sure that I will need help here and there with my own old people problems. So today I will practice sharing words of encouragement for those around me, that they might still want to be around me when I am old.

Having old people problems is a privilege. #Oldpeopleproblems mean that you have lived a full life, and that you have opened your eyes to see another day. #Oldpeopleproblems follow seeing your children and grandchildren learn and grow and become people you are proud of. #Oldpeopleproblems are a crown, like the silver hair that has replaced the brown. #Oldpeopleproblemms are a badge of honor, marking the years as time marches on. I hope to wear my badge proudly, and to relish every day that I have the privilege of my #oldpeopleproblems.

I hope that you and I will both enjoy our "golden years," and that others will enjoy them with us. For today, let's wear purple and do what we love as we also love those around us, because we are secure in the knowledge that we are loved beyond measure, now and forever.*

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

*I know it sometimes sounds trite, but it is true...for God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not die, but have everlasting life...John 3:16.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

A Terrible Thought

Did you ever have a terrible thought? You know, you're just going along, everything seems great, then Bam! A terrible thought enters your headspace, and you realize that it only takes a moment for things to change drastically. 

What if that driver loses control and swerves into my lane?

What if I didn't lock the back door before I came to bed?

What if my friends really are laughing at me, and not with me?

What if I don't have all the answers?

What if I'm just not good enough?

No? You don't have those thoughts? It's just me then? Hmph. I don't believe you. I think we all have a terrible thought once in awhile. Maybe yours are more along the lines of things you think you could get away with, or things you'd like to do (if only these things were not illegal)

Terrible thoughts come in all shapes and sizes, and some of them unfortunately turn into terrible actions. If you are the victim of those actions, they seem to come out of nowhere, and can leave you battered and bruised in many ways. If you are the "actor," you still may bear self-inflicted wounds as a result. We have likely all done things, or said things, that we regret in response to a terrible thought. 

So, what do you do with that? What do you do when you have been hurt? What do you do when you have hurt someone (including yourself)? How do you recover from the terrible thought?

First, acknowledge it, and allow yourself time to feel the feels. Too many times we rush ourselves past painful feelings, sweeping them under the rug, only to trip on them later. Give yourself a minute...an hour...a day...or longer...to feel it and figure out next steps.

When you are hurt by someone else, even if they have not apologized for the offense, forgive. Holding grudges only hurts the holder. Now, I am not necessarily suggesting that you declare, "I forgive you!," with a smiley face to that person. In fact, depending on the injury, you may never talk to him or her again. Still, you have the power to forgive, let go, and move on, as a wiser person. If you do this well, you will not likely be hurt in this way again, because you will have learned how to judge this kind of character.

Lastly, if you are hurting yourself, stop. Whether your thoughts are leading you to negative self-talk, or thoughts of physically harming yourself (or someone else), just stop. As a thinker of terrible thoughts, especially about myself, I know that this advice seems trite and impossible. I know that you may not know how to stop, and in this case you must get help. I won't dwell here, for I have talked about this in other posts, but you must not hurt yourself verbally or otherwise. Email me at PrettyKnittyJewelry [at] yahoo [dot] com if you have nowhere to go for help. I will help you find the care you need to stop hurting yourself.

Why all this terrible thought talk? This is normally such a Pretty blog...

It is a yarn thing. Ever since I learned how to make yarn (side bar - I MAKE YARN!!!), I am called by the siren song of fiber waiting to be spun into beautiful yarn! My latest fiber acquisition is named "A Terrible Thought," but the yarn I have made is anything but terrible. 

A luscious two-ply in happy pinks, corals and orange, with a thread of dark brown and gray (the terrible thought) running through it. I have been spinning this for the last two blog posts, and I have often let my mind wander during the spin time...how many terrible thoughts have I let get away from me? Plenty. But spinning this yarn has led me to let go of some of those thoughts and share with you. Oh, and the yarn has turned out so pretty, even despite the terrible thought running through it!

Our lives can and should be beautiful, because we are God's masterpieces! He has created us to live out loud, to experience joy, and to share our lives with other masterpieces! If you are not treasuring yourself and others, you are missing out. So, join me in being kind to one another, and to yourself. It is what you were made to do!

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Still Touring!

This morning, I was spinning, and spinning, and spinning outside. It is a lovely day, and I hope to be through my third ounce of fiber by day's end and on to the fourth! It's totally possible, I tell you.

The cats are not happy about this Tour de Fleece. There is little lap time when I am spinning. This morning, a cat tried to get on my lap while I was...ummm...in the bathroom! They are feeling very neglected, and cordially invite you (and me) to sit down and make a lap already!!!

And I will. There is knitting to be done, as I am working on a complicated, lace shawl as well...

This is the shawl that was started and ripped out three times, so far. Then, when I thought I was on a roll, I had to turn around and rip out 10 rows to fix a complex mistake with my yarn overs and decreases. This is probably the most difficult knit I've done, and it's just a rectangle!

As with all  things, and as my mother used to be fond of saying, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Sooo, I am still working on it. What else can I do? I'm using stash yarn, so I really want it to work out. I know that it will, but the end is nowhere in sight for this project. I am hardly past the beginning, even.

My life is like that, too. It just seems like there is no end in sight when troubles come my way. But I hold fast to the promise that if I keep my eyes on the prize, I will get there. Also, let's be honest...this is not a race I want to win by getting there first. The closer I get to the end, the more I realize that there is still so much I want to do! Watch the grandkids grow. See my daughter happily married. Encourage friends. Make yarn and knit!

What are you looking forward to? 

What is holding you back? 

Live this life with as much gusto as you can! Limit the negative people, and their influence in your life, as much as you can. Do your best to love who you are...that is the key to loving others for who they are, and freeing yourself from your own negativity, too! Above all, know that you are loved!

Thanks for stopping by, friends, and Knit in Good Health!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Tour de What?

This past week, I went on my first bike ride of the summer. I couldn't help but think, as I white-knuckled my wobbling handlebars for dear life, that many people enjoy riding a bicycle. Many people grew up running and playing and riding bikes. I grew up reading. Yes, I was THAT kid...with hand raised, "Excuse me. Mrs. Teacher! You forgot to give us homework, and it's almost time for the bell to ring...!" After all, if you don't run and play and ride bikes, you do need something to fill the time until The Cosby Show comes on. Did I mention that I was not popular in school? Nevermind. At this point, you've already figured that out.

Anyway, when I ride a bike these days, there is no thought in my head that even comes close to resembling "This is so much fun!" or "I should ride my bike to work this summer...it is great exercise!" My bike riding thoughts are more along the lines of "Don't tip over! Don't tip over!" and "Don't think about your sore butt." and "Pretend you are having fun. Everyone else is having fun!" Apparently all reading and no fun makes Pretty a dull girl. Still, riding a bike is good exercise, even if the anxiety makes me break out in hives. As a matter of fact, I bet I get twice the cardio workout from all the heart palpitations that accompany my fear of tipping over!

"So, then, why are you writing about the Tour de France, Pretty? We've heard that you break out in hives even looking at a bicycle."

Correct you are! However, there is another event that starts today, and it runs concurrently with the Tour de France. Bicycles are not involved, but wheels often are. And spindles, which is how I plan to participate. Sooo, without further adieu, bring on the Tour de Fleece!

Yep. It is a thing. Click the link if you don't believe me...I will wait. (Cue the waiting music...)

During the Tour de France, which runs from today through July 23, I will be spinning this lovely 4 ounces of fluff into yarn! 

I'm not sure I can get it all done in 23 days, but I am going to give it my best shot, to be sure. I will try to challenge myself to more spinning while the bicyclists climb their challenge hills, and I plan to rest on their rest days...maybe I will go for a bike ride rather than spinning on those days, in an ironic twist of events! (Yeah. You're probably right. I will just knit more...)

In preparation for the TdF, and my first participation as a spinner, I have split my fiber in half, and then in approximate fourths. I will spin half the fiber from pink to red, and the other half from red to pink before plying them together. My spindles are all ready to go, and I am chomping at the bit to start the spinning...so off I go to do just that! 

Tell me, are you one of the bicycle people? Do you love biking so much that you even head for a spin class when the weather is lousy? I promise not to judge, one way or the other, if you will extend to me the same courtesy!

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit (and Spin) in Good Health!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Looking for Love

Why am I here? It's a common question, I think. A question that takes on extra meaning as we age. Babies don't ask this question, because they instinctively know that they are here to be loved. I suppose that I cannot assert this as as absolute truth, as I don't think anyone has ever polled infants on the matter...but I do know that I have never seen a baby in an existential crisis. Sure, they cry to be held, fed and changed...and then contentedness washes over them as they are loved through basic care and cuddle-y conversation. They are content to be loved, as they deserve, just because they are here.

Little children, especially those in the "Why?" phase of their vocabulary, will start to ask the question, but it is a little different for them than it is for us. "Why do I have a Mommy?" "Why do we live in Ohio?" "Why do I have to eat peas?" As they grow and explore, there are so many questions that kids ask, usually with the requisite "Why?" or "But, why?" thrown in for good measure. As parents, we struggle to answer without giving too much away too soon. I remember when my 5-year-old son asked me, "But how does the baby get into the mommy???," after many conversations about the mommy and daddy who loved each other very much. So I finally told him the rest of the story, on his terms. His only question after that was an astonished, "Does Dad know about this?!?" 

School aged kids, ready for more detail to the complicated questions of life, really get into learning everything they can. Maybe they are not so engaged in the classroom, but they learn through play, in an extension of their younger days. They learn through family relationships and friendships. They learn by watching, then they learn to connect all of the information they have taken in. They start to come to conclusions about why they are here in school, in this town, this house, this world. Kids from 4-12 are sponges, and we have a great opportunity to fill them with living water and teach them that they are here to be loved and to love.

Teenagers are really examining the whys and wherefores of life. Unfortunately, many of them have not had childhoods like the ones I have described, and they may not know that they are loved. This is tragic, to be sure. I just finished watching the Netflix series "13 Reasons Why,"* and although it romanticizes the idea of suicide (I am not a fan of this), the underlying message for Hannah Baker is the same "Why am I here?" that we all ask ourselves from time to time. Hannah comes from a good family, so it is difficult to see her going through this crisis, and although she gives 13 reasons, I am still not sure she knows why she did what she did. Somewhere in this world of tolerance, we have lost the keys to basic human kindness. We are not passing onto our children the gifts of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control...and in this age of social media, some kids (and many adults) are out of control. Lost in this mix are souls, created to be loved but looking in all the wrong places.

Adults, as you know, do the same thing. Looking for love in all the wrong places is a result of defining love incorrectly. Romantic love is what we hope for, and we may experience it in our first love relationships. However, it is mature love that fills us and gives us purpose, and too many of us miss out. Mature love is patient and kind; it does not envy, boast or dishonor others; it is not easily angered or proud, and it keeps no record of wrongs; it always protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres, and it is more rare that I would like it to be. Mature love is what we are designed to experience, but too few of us find it, and this lack of love is part of what causes us to question our very existence.

Recently, my father-in-law spent some time in the hospital, and he is now in a nursing home. One of the questions he had for my Sweetie was, "Why am I here?" He is in a facility to help him create more healthy habits, so he might eventually go home. He is in this facility because it had a free bed. He is here because he did not take very good care of himself at home, and everything needs to be regulated for a time before he can be released. Or is he asking about his very existence? Is he asking why he is alive? Why he was born? Why he has not died yet? I just don't know what  he is really asking, because he has not expounded. But I do know that even a crusty, cranky 77-year-old who has not always made good choices is here to be loved. So, even though he is difficult to love at times, we will do our best to love him anyway.

Do you know why you are here? I do. You are here to love and to be loved, and if you have not yet found mature love, maybe you should look in some different places. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not die but have eternal life. 

No knitting today, friends, but remember that you were knitted together in your mother's womb, and you are God's masterpiece, designed to be loved. 

Thanks for stopping by. Knit and Love in Good Health!

*If your kids/teens insist on watching this, watch with them, Parents. If they have already watched, watch it alone, and talk to them about it. Please know what they are watching and who they are hanging out with. 

(John 4:14; Galatians 5:22; 1 Corinthians  13:4-8; John 3:16; Psalm 139:13; Ephesians 2:10)