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 knit...like 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 smile...it 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!

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Church Secretary at Heart

As the month of June began, I found myself on Ravelry (think Facebook for knitters and crocheters, but better...if you yarn, check it out!), explaining to a group I used to post very regularly in the busy that has kept me from posting much in the last few months. I typed the following, and it dawned on me that I have not yet shared with the blog my latest job change...oops! (Below is only the job stuff...if you have been playing along at home, you know there was much more going on...at the same time.)

"So, in March 2016, I quit my job as church secretary at a church I loved from the bottom of my heart, about 9 months after my beloved minister passed away and the resulting staff-and-everything-else changes about did me in. I took a “dream job” (great salary/benefits/people are always trying to get into this company) for about 6 weeks, where my manager basically insinuated that I was too stupid to learn to enter data, and told me flat out that she was “embarrassed for me” because people referred to me as “that lady who knits.” Sooo, not a good fit.
"Then a friend gave me a job in insurance, so I got licensed to sell insurance, and he retired. I was hired by another agent, and stuck with him for about 16 months, and it was ok. But, I did not love it, so I started checking my options.
"On Indeed.com, I typed “church secretary” on a whim one day, and found an ad for a United Methodist Church that was hiring an office manager. I applied. What did I have to lose?
"I started at the UMC on April 2, and “shadowed” the current office manager for a month before she retired. There were a lot of “issues” to address, from files to processes to just about everything that applied to the job, and with no background in the Methodist denomination, I have had lots to learn. The GREAT thing is that I LOVE THIS JOB!!!, and I think they love me. The other great thing, is that I finally feel like I have my head above water most days, which means I get to breathe (and log onto Ravelry) from time to time!
"So, my summer plans include loving my job and going to Disney World (with son and family) later this month! Also, my sweet daughter is cooking a bun in the oven, the timer should go off around Thanksgiving! So watch for baby knits, and princess poses from me this summer! I hope you are all well and that you are finding some Joy this June!"
As my friends replied to that post, they encouraged me that "that lady who knits" is a great lady to know, and I can look back on my last two years as a time of adjusting to change on so many levels, searching for my best fit. Thank you friends! I knew almost immediately after starting at the UMC that the fit was a good one! I am thankful for what I can only assume was the prompting of the Holy Spirit to search a job-site category that barely exists, and I am so grateful to the church leadership for taking a chance on me, a lady who knits. 

As with any new job, there are always "issues" to deal with. Most are as simple as learning to live with Windows 10 (ugh!) on your work computer, or figuring out what each of the committees is responsible for (who gets this again???). Some are more delicate (forging relationships with an entire church!), but the bottom line is that I am taking it slow, and learning as I go. It takes time to wiggle into that empty space left by the gal who sat at my desk for the past 6 years, but I think I am getting there. There are still some gaps in my knowledge, but I am filling them in a little each day. Regardless of the gaps, I once again look forward to getting to work, so I can get to work, every day!

By the way, mums the word kinda on Disney...Pop Pop and I are surprising the grandkids with our arrival at the park (which is why the upcoming trip has not been all over social media, even though we have our magic bands and luggage tags, and we are ready to go! Squeee!). And yes, a bun in the oven for Face and Dollface, also mums during the early weeks, but now Facebook official! Again, squeee! Baby knits!

So there it is, for all the world to see. Once a church secretary (office admin, whatever the title du jour may be), always a church secretary at heart...for me anyway. And just like that, Pam the Church Secretary is back! (Hi Zach the Senior Minister!)

Where are you finding your joy this June? Wherever it is, I am glad that you clicked through to hear about mine.

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health! 

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Woolapalooza Wrap-Up 2018

Last Saturday my post was  kinda short, and my day was kinda long. This was a good thing, because last week was the annual trek to Woolapalooza for my knitting group! Are we happy to be here, Girls???

Yes, this is a weekend to be celebrated for sure! Yarn and fiber and animals...I am thankful, by the way, that I did not ride home with a lamb in my lap, because this was an option that was discussed...at length! But I digress...

Once we were out of the van, it was off to our favorite indie dyer, Destination Yarn! We had to get our hands on the Show Exclusive...Farmland Sunset!

Oh man! The purples! The pinks! The beauty of it all...we could barely control ourselves, and we dove right in!

I mean, just LOOK at it! (That's the mastermind behind all the color we love, right there she is. I am standing so close to a celebrity for this photo! Hi, Jeanne!)

While we were waiting in line, I did my best to capture a couple Saturday selphies with some of my favorite folks...



(I know that I am not as good at selphies as I am at others-ies, but at some point, you just gotta do it!) 

Anyhoo, as per usual, midway through the shopping, we stopped for lunch...

And (of course) knitting...

And (of course) some good, old-fashioned belly laughs! (They are clearly sheep, Lauren!)

And we wrapped up the shopping with one last stop to that favorite yarn booth, where the man behind the woman behind the yarn agreed to be the man behind the camera for our group photo! Extra kudos to Matt for knowing his stuff and taking 4 shots...I think all of our eyes are open in this one...I hope! (Thanks again, Matt!) 

Heading back to the parking grass, we decided to try our hands at some photos of the beauty of the day. Alice showed off a lace-and-beads shawl she had just finished for a friend, and Jenny agreed to model...beautiful barely covers it!

And Jenny took it upon herself to model how we all really feel about yarn, and knitting, and lace, and fiber, and spending the day shopping with friends...

I mean, look at the group haul we left with! Yarn and baskets and jewelry and soaps and YARNS...all the yarns!!!

We even managed to get ourselves out of the open fields and nearly home before the skies truly opened up and dumped the rain that we had watched all day. By the time we returned to our starting position in the local Wal-Mart parking lot, it was coming down pretty good, with lightning and thunder and everything!

Once I hit home and kicked off my shoes, I took a minute to survey my own personal stash enhancement. It is pretty impressive, and since I didn't set any over/under goals for myself, I neither overspent nor underbought! Go me!

Destination Yarns in a DK base in this year's show exclusive, last year's show exclusive (Roadside Wildflowers) and Electric Storm (the purple-est one!), handmade sock soaps from Tuft Woolens, a few cute buttons, a Behind the Pines hand-painted sock blank from Yarn Cravin', and a ClusterFluff Box ("an assortment of sizeable scraps") from 716yarns (aka KnitBuffalo)...all good stuff!  

Of course, this box o'scraps just tickles me to no end! And, with all the tiny toy knitting I tend towards, I think it was a pretty good buy. Besides, how can one even consider attending the local yarn festival without purchasing yarn from a truck?!? I love this ClusterFluff Box so very much! And the Destination Yarns! And the yarn that has funny sayings hand-painted onto it (even if some of the words are misspelled...lol!)!

So, to sum up the day, it was AWESOME! We can hardly wait for next year, and off I go now to decide what to knit next today! I hope your today is good, and that you have friends around you that spur you onto to bigger and better things, knitwise and otherwise, just like me.

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

Saturday, May 26, 2018

That Time of Year

Not quite summer (although it should be 85 and sunny today!).
Not back-to-school...
Not Christmas.

What time of year is it?

It's Woolapalooza time, Baby! And X marks the spot that I am spending my day, with all my yarny friends, at the Great Lakes Fiber Show!

If you are a yarn loving friend...Heck! If you like fair food and fun, you should check out that link and think about joining  us! There are live animals and lots of people watching...and, of course, YARN! If you like to knit, bring a chair and a project, and come sit in our sunny circle in the parking grass at lunchtime! I hope to see you there! Maybe we can even catch a selphie together...
You know, like we did in 2014!
Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!
On our way! 

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!