Saturday, February 27, 2016

White Shoes in February?

I don't usually buy white shoes. I am messy, and getting my shoes dirty makes me cry. Pete is far cooler than Pretty!

But shhhhhh! Pete is also a birthday surprise!

Unfortunately, there is not pattern, and there are few notes. Pete is an off-the-cuff knit, but I am very pleased with how he turned out! Perhaps I'll knit another, but it's likely I won't. In any case, I hope she loves him. :)

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

All the Feels

It seems that Wednesday is the day for all the feels in the Pretty Knitty Blog, at least lately. In light of everything going on in my extended family, I think I'll keep it going today. Having said that, if you are done with the feels, feel free to move on...but it's my party, and I'll cry if I want to, cry if I want to, cry if I want to...or maybe I will laugh inappropriately. Who can tell?

As I have blogged the feels of recently losing loved ones these past few weeks, I have often been reminded of some advice I dole out freely. I believe it to be true, and I am doing my best to apply it myself, but some days are harder than others. My favorite advice to give is this: There are no wrong feelings. You just feel what you feel. You cannot control what you will feel, or when you will feel it, so just let yourself feel it. It is ok to feel what you feel.

Happiness and joy are emotions that we are all encouraged to feel. Who doesn't love to be around someone who is genuinely joyful? I know I do! Even at a funeral, laughter often pops up as we remember loved ones and their silly habits, or the way we reacted to them. It often feels wrong to be happy in times of great loss, but those happy moments are what get us through. Even at this difficult time of loss for our family, I have encouraged family members and friends to remember the good, the joyful, the silly. We need to feel happy. We need to express joy through laughter and smiles, especially as we grieve lives ended before we are ready to say goodbye. It is ok to be happy.

Sadness is expected. My husband lost a sister and brother, and even though they were not close as adults, there is still a loss. His whole family has suffered this loss, and the family dynamic will forever be has to be. There are people missing, and when they are not here to "play their parts" in the drama of this family's life, everything changes. Sweetie's parents and my sister-in-law's adult children are devastated, as they should be, and we should all cry. There is no understanding, no making it right. It just happened. We need to feel sad, and we need to express that through tears and wailing. It is ok to be sad.

Then there is anger. I am angry at the criminal who ripped this family apart. I am angry at myself for not taking more time to get to know my brother- and sister-in-law better while they were alive. I am angry that I was powerless to stop what happened on February 5th. Finally, I am angry at God. I don't understand how he could let this happen. I know that God knew it was happening...and even though I don't understand why he let it happen, he did. Could he have stopped it? He could. But he didn't, and the truth is that I will probably never know why. That makes me angry, too. I want answers that I just cannot have. We need to feel angry. We need to express that by yelling and shaking our fists. It is ok to be angry.

But I have to be careful. We have to be careful when we grieve. If we wallow in the sadness, or if we let the anger control us, we can spiral into depression. If we ignore the sadness and anger, and we pretend to be happy, we can spiral into depression.* All the feels have to be worked through. All of them. There may be similar stages to our grief, but it will look different for each of us. What works for me, may not work for you. Still we have to work through all the feels. It helps when we do that together, when we laugh and cry and yell and shake our fists together. It helps to know that I am not alone in my grief. It helps to know that I can reach out with a text, or a helps when you reach out to me, too.

The biggest truth I have found in all of this is that I am not alone. Even if no one wants to laugh or cry or yell with me right now, I am not alone. Even in the tragedy, even in my sadness, anger and occasionally inappropriate laughter, I see that God is here, and that he is in control. I see him bringing together family and friends, growing their love for one another through shared grief. I see God working in my life, molding me...even in this, God is growing me and helping me to share the love in my heart with hurting people. Grief is not good, but when we grieve properly, we grow. Feel it. Grieve. It is ok to grieve, and there are no wrong feelings.

Eventually, this blog will get back to the happy-go-lucky knitting nonsense, I promise. Thank you for bearing with me through this time, and for expressing your comfort in hugs and blog comments. You know, blog comments are the same as virtual hugs in my book, so feel free to comment away!

Thanks for stopping by.

*Whatever your circumstances, whatever your grief, find someone to talk to. Let yourself feel all the feels, and talk to your doctor if you start to get stuck in that pit of despair. Grieving is a normal process we all go through at some point, you are not alone. Find your way back. Your life will never be the same, but you can learn to live again. 

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Three Blue Hats

Not mice, and nobody with a carving knife, but...won't you sing with me?

Three blue hats! Three blue hats!
Knit this week! Knit this week!
I've knit a blue hat for each nephew of mine!
They knit up so quick, and the hats, they are fine!
I can't wait to see three heads, all in a line, wearing
Three blue hats! Three blue hats!

Yep...there ya have it. Nephew knitting finished for this fine Saturday. Now it's time for a little #catonlap while I figure out what to knit next!

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

In the Blink of an Eye

So, I've been a bit vague. You know that something is going on, yet you don't know just what, and that was intentional on my part. You all know that I process with words, but when I wrote of my grief, I also wanted to be respectful of my extended family...and of their grief. To protect them, I didn't give you the details. Today, I'll share a bit more. 

My husband lost two siblings on February 5th. They were victims of a violent crime. They were my age. His sister leaves behind three boys in their 20s, and her husband. His brother was neither married nor a father, but my Sweetie's parents (and the whole family) are just devastated, as you might imagine. It is a terrible situation, and I know that many of my in-real-life friends have more details, but I choose not to go into more than that here in the least not right now. 

As I sort out my emotions, and the changes wrought in our extended family, I can't help but marvel at the number of friends who have offered condolences, sent cards, brought food, and held us up in prayer. Thank you all so much.

I continue to work through harsh and sometimes confusing feelings with close friends, and in the midst of that, an online pal offered the following. It was most helpful:
"Prayer is the answer, for sure. Also please accept a large supply of {{poor baby}}s. A BIG supply. A BIG ENDLESS supply. I order them from Amazon Prime. They come in a huge carton. You can also get the ‘carry along’ version - just the right size for tucking into your purse or backpack."
Who knew that you could get those in bulk? lol! But seriously, that's what I need to get through. I don't need anyone to say just the right thing, because there is NO right thing to say. I don't need more food, because I can still cook, and because I've eaten so many "comfort foods" in the last two weeks that my pants are getting tight. I probably should not eat again until sometime next month. lol! As I said in the Grief and...Grief post, I am in need of no material thing, but a well-placed "poor baby" is most welcome. 

What I do need right now is to know that you are praying. To know that you will sit with me, or hug me, or cry with me, when I need to. To know that you will not be horrified if I make a joke about the tragedy (or something else) while I am "supposed to be sad." Trust me, I am sad. But if I focus on only the sad, I fear that I will not get through this grief to the other side.

You know what else would be great? If you knew my brother-in-law or sister-in-law, I would love to hear what you loved about them...and what made you a little nuts! I want to laugh about their sometimes crazy ideas and antics, and I want to know that they were well-loved while they were here. I want to remember the best parts of who they were, and forget the rest. 

One more thing... 
If you have brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, parents or other family members...even if they make you absolutely batty at times...I challenge you to find something endearing and/or funny to remember about them someday. I know that I will never forget what a great baker my sister-in-law was. I won't forget the way she moved at lightning speed, always doing something, and trying to stay out of the photos I was constantly snapping. I will never forget how devoted she was to her family, and how much back-breaking work she did to care for the extended family. I will never forget her smile, because I will see it in the sparkle of her boys' eyes when they laugh. 

I will never forget my brother-in-law's laugh. I will never forget how much he loved puzzles, even doing them upside-down sometimes, because it just wasn't challenging enough if you could look at the picture. I will not forget that he was sometimes stubborn and frustrating, but that he also asked me to make him slippers for Christmas a few years ago. And I will never forget that he wore pink, fuzzy, hand-knit bunny slippers until the bottoms wore out. 
Photo Credit: L. Gail
We are only here for the blink of an eye. Make the most of your time with family, and do that NOW. Ask the questions. Tell the stories. Give and receive hugs. Eat and laugh and create things together. You never know when your last "see ya later!" will be. 

Love well, my friends. 
Photo Credit: L.Gail

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Snuggle Saturday

It's a cold day in my neck of the woods, and it has been a long week. Today is for snuggles...or a new snuggle doll...

and perhaps a puzzle ball, too. 

Happy Saturday to you, Blogland! Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Grief and...Grief

The past year has brought a lot of feelings to the blog. I wrote a post about grief and rejoicing while I came to terms with the fact that a good friend was not going to win his battle with cancer, at least not on this side of heaven. That post was quickly followed by emotional posts saying goodbye to Tim, and then so long to his wife as she moved to be closer to their children and grandchildren. The grief was strong, but I rested on the blessed assurance that I will someday see them again, if not in this world, then when we all get to heaven. There is so much comfort in that thought. 

This week, there has been a new kind of grief. Our family has suffered a great loss, and while the Pretty Players you've come to know in the blog are all ok, our extended family is not. There are many extenuating circumstances and details that I will not go into, but we are all grieving. We are holding onto one another, grieving as a unit, even though each of us processes our grief very differently. We have taken turns speculating about how circumstances could, should be different, and we have done our best to wish lost souls back to us. But in the end we have had to accept the cold, hard, sad reality that they are gone. 

However, even in this, Mr. Pretty and I have found great comfort in the same place we can always find God, in our family and in our Christian brothers and sisters. I have read the 23rd psalm. I have quoted it. I have parts of it memorized, and these words have offered me some measure of comfort through the years. However this week, Psalm 23 has come to life for me in a new way. These verses are carrying me through this deep valley, often in very concrete and tangible ways. 

"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want."
I'll start by saying that I want for nothing right now. God has, through family, friends, neighbors and online buddies, provided for every need. There is an abundance of food, offers for help of any kind, and love. Even though there is a great void in my life, my heart and my pantry are full, and I want for no material thing. 

"He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters."
Sleep has been difficult at best. There have been feelings to feel and sort through, details to keep track of, comfort to give and receive, and the process we are going through has caused frustration at times. Yet peace has come for me. Peace that passes understanding has overwhelmed me, even as the snow has blanketed the ground, covering all of its imperfections. Even though we don't have all the answers, and may never have the answers, I am finding peace.

"He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness."
Mr. Pretty and I have been so overwhelmed by grief, and also by prayers and comfort. Thank you to each of you that has reached out...with a note, a meal, a hug, a listening ear, and most of all your prayers. Talking about it (or not) in the presence of friends has restored our souls, and we know that this is God working through you to restore us. We are restored day by day, sometimes hour by hour, so that we can continue in this journey through grief without losing our faith (or our minds).

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me."
This is the valley. This is the deepest valley I have ever walked through, and I have to go is the only way. If I try to go around, I will only have to turn back and go through later. So I keep putting one foot in front of the other, and I keep breathing...even though I don't know what the next hurdle will be. One day at a time. One hour at a time. One moment at a time. I know that God is with me. The prayers of his people remind me that we are counted in the flock, and we can lean on his promises even now. His rod and his staff, they comfort me. 

"You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows."
I have already talked some about the food. There is no doubt that God is taking care of our family by feeding us physically. He is also filling us spiritually. We face the enemies of uncertainty, fear, doubt and unbelief, yet he soothes our minds and souls. God knows what has happened. God knows where we are lacking, and he continues to provide for our physical, emotional and spiritual needs in such abundant ways. My cup overflows with God's love for me. I'm doing my best to pour that love over my family and all God's children. I continue to pray that even through this, those who do not know Jesus (including my "enemies," perhaps especially my enemies) would come to know Him, when the time is right. I am comforted that the time is never wrong. 

"Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,"
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Against these things there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23). All of these have followed me, and I continue to reach for the fruit of the spirit in my life, especially now. I pray that I will love well, find joy and peace, have patience to be kind, faithful, gentle and self controlled, even in my grief. And just as He has promised, when I am faithful, these things DO follow me. 

"And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
This last sentence always gives me pause when I read it...because I want to end it with an exclamation point. There is no thought more exciting to me than an eternity in heaven! No pain! No tears! No sorrow! No death! (Revelation 21) We will take our place at the feast in the kingdom of God. (Luke 13) We will appear with him in glory (Colossians 3), and we will worship together for an eternity...Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty! Amen! (Revelation 4)

The Lord is indeed my shepherd, and I am so very honored to be a part of His flock.

Thank you friends, for holding us up in prayer. Thank you for listening, for comforting, for being there. This world is not my forever home, and sometimes I wish I didn't have to stay...Jesus? Are you coming? Any time soon? Yes. I know the answer. He will come when the time is perfect, because his timing is perfect, because HE is perfect. Until then, I'm glad that I have you in my life to help ease the pain of living in this imperfect world. 

If you are the praying kind, please keep our family in prayer. Send good thoughts. Whatever works for you. And if you are stuck somewhere in your own valley, let me know. I'd love to be there to pray for you, too. 

Rest in peace, dear brother and sister. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

My Two Groovy Buttons

Because this is an experimental sweater, why not try some new things? How about some buttons that are sure to match, because THEY ARE MADE OF THE SAME YARN!?! After all, the yarn in this sweater, and the way it is working up, are very distinctive...

Shouldn't the buttons also be distinctive? And entirely matchy-matchy? Well, of course they should! Enter the Dorset Button. If you have never heard of a Dorset Button, check out this tutorial for all the how-tos, in a very simple format. If you like, google the You Tube videos, the history, and whatever else tickles your fancy, too...there is a LOT of information out there! As for me, I just wanted to try a couple of buttons. So I got some 3/4" rings (I wanted 1" rings, and I may still get some...still deciding),

and I made 2 buttons in that size.

Pretty cool, huh? Yeah they are! I've only made 2 because, as I said above (in parentheses), I think I want bigger buttons. I'll have to stop by a better craft store on the way home...I'd love to finish this sweater and wear it to knitting on Thursday! Then I could show you some photos...super yay!

In the meantime, it's just another Wacky Wednesday around here, so Hi-ho! Hi-ho! It's off to work I go! (Well technically, I've been at work for an hour now...which means that, technically, I should be there I go!)

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