Saturday, May 27, 2017

Could you repeat that?

One of my favorite things about the kids' current visit has been watching the two-year old take hold of her words. She is learning how to talk, and some of her "sentences" were unintelligible (to Pop Pop and me, anyway) at the beginning of their visit. As we have spent time with her, it has become easier to hear what she is saying. It is so cute how every name currently has repeating syllables...she is DeeDee, her sister is LaLa (remember when Peanut called herself Lala?), one dog is ShoSho and the other is TooToo! I have become GiGi (with a "hard" G-sound), and there is also the ever-popular PopPop, not to mention the cats ZoZo and CoCo. Of course there are also MaMa and DaDa, but they are not super exciting when you are staying with PopPop and GiGi...and the cats!

In the photo below she has just said, "GiGi take cheese me!" Ironically, we had just come from a photo session which should yield new photos of the whole family for my blog page. During the session, this child who loves to "Cheese!" refused to smile or even look at the camera for much of the hour...lol! I told Mama and Dada not to worry, because at this age the photos are more about personality than perfection, and everyone relaxed a little. I am sure that we got some great shots! Where she really wanted to shine was not in a grassy field or under a beautiful willow tree...she wanted to say "Cheese!" while sliding down the arm of the sofa! Silly Sweet Pea!

All in all, this visit has been more about getting in all the snuggles and playtime we can with these little ones. When they leave here, it will likely be several months before we will see them again. This makes GiGi sad, so we won't dwell on it. Instead, let's take a look at some of the fun we have had with them this week!
Feeding duckies and fishies!

Picnic at Great Grammy and Great Grandpa's house!

Taco Bell after photo session!
So. Much. Fun! The only thing that could come close to rivaling that fun is that Woolapalooza is TODAY!!! If you're planning to be in Wooster for the Great Lakes Fiber Show today, look for me! If you see me at Woolapalooza, ask me for a card, and you may be the winner of a secret prize!

Even if I do not see you, I hope that you are having a great day! Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

A Curly Outlook

Last Saturday, while you were reading my blog, I had nearly arrived at my darling granddaughters' house! Sweetie and I were beyond excited to see them again, especially since they will soon move to a state far, far away. The drive time for our Saturday trip was approximately 8.5 hours, and when we got there, we were greeted by only the dogs...the house was empty, in preparation for their upcoming move, and the poor dogs had only the floor (and their bed) to sleep on!

All the furniture and household goods had been packed and shipped, and our future visits will likely be by plane. But I was not going to worry about that just yet, because they all came home before long, and we ran and played and had Wendy's for dinner before everyone went to their sleeping bag for the night.

On Sunday, they loaded up the van with most of the remaining "stuff," as well as two girls (with all of their paraphernalia) and two grandparents for the drive back to Ohio.

The drive went well, and the parents (and dogs) followed on Monday evening. Since then, we have been climbing

running

playing and laughing

playing with yarn

building

swimming

and having a great time!

Knitting time has been limited, so there is not much to show you this week, besides  these socks I started on the drive to and from Virginia...

The socks are still coming right along, and I plan to start a couple hats for the girls soon, because their new home will be in a place that can get pretty cold. The new place will also be a 20-hour drive, which means that our visits will be fewer and far-betweener...(sad face here) But I am thankful that we live in such a time as this, with video chats and airplanes, and we will see them much more than past military families would have been able to. On top of that, cold climates mean I will knit new hats, sweaters, mittens and socks for them, and they will be wrapped in my love from head to toe on those very cold days!

For the rest of today, I am going to run and play and laugh with two amazing girls (and their amazing parents), and I will forget about that move. I will carpe diem, and relish the sound of their giggles as their curls bounce along and my heart swells with the love I have for them.

I hope that you have some sunshine in your life, and in your day today! I should be back again next week, with more photos and funtimes. Maybe there will even be some more knitting? Until then, thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Knitting in My Sleep

I knit. I knit a LOT. Some might even suggest that I knit in my sleep. I don't know about that, but I do know that I have fallen asleep while I am knitting, and I have done this on a regular basis. In fact, I am currently having trouble staying awake all day long...and if napping were a marathon event, I would win! I figured that the sleepiness might have something to do with one of my new prescriptions, so I asked my doc about it at the last checkup. "I dunno if it's normal," I said, "but I can sleep 12 hours at night, then take an afternoon nap for 3-4 hours, and sleep another 10-12 again the next night."

Hmmm... Perhaps it has happened, and I have finally turned into a cat?

Doc looked a little concerned, and replied that my current medications should not be having that effect. In fact, as the depression is controlled, the opposite should be true. I should have renewed energy! Hmmm... We decided to check my thyroid, and guess what? It is a slacker! I have hypothyroidism, which means that my thyroid needs a swift kick in the pants (or a new prescription) to encourage production of thyroxine (the thyroid hormone). Since the thyroid lives near my throat, I opted to not have it kicked, and I have started a new medication.

Fun fact about the new medication: It doesn't play nice with my multivitamin and calcium supplements, so I have to take those at night now, while I take the thyroid pill in the morning. You know what that means? Yes, I have arrived. On Wednesday I bought my first AM/PM pill minder. o_0 Time marches on, and I am not getting any younger...it was inevitable, I suppose.

::So, Pretty...can you really knit in your sleep???::

Well, not yet...but if this medication doesn't kick in soon, I may have to knit in my sleep OR start my Christmas knitting today! This past week, I have not knit much, but I have napped well. I think I am trying to store up sleep so I can be awake for the visit of some very cute granddaughters. They will be coming on Monday, and I have the house pretty much ready...we are so excited to see these faces in person again!

They will visit until early June, and then they move too far away for weekend trips. I will have to start a savings plan for airline tickets! Please forgive me if I end up taking a short blog break. I am sure to be back with plenty of photos before too long. For now, I think I am going to take a nap.

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Pair-ing Down the Stash

One of my favorite knitting acronyms is SABLE, otherwise known as Stash Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy...or more yarn in my stash than I would reasonably be able to knit before I die. Since none of us can know the hour or the day of our death, I suppose I may have reached SABLE...I especially think this might be true when I take a walk down to the basement, where the majority of my yarn lives! (Don't worry, it is in plastic bins and bags, well protected from moisture, cats and husbands who may wish to de-clutter.) If I live to 100, and I can still knit, I may not have acquired SABLE...yet. Still, there is a LOT of yarn down there, and I've been working to use up some of it, two-by-two. For instance, there was a recent finish of a pair of rabbits that just flew off my needles!

There are also fingerless mitts, pair 1

pair 2

and pair 3.

Two by two, I am pair-ing down the stash! It might be a good idea to clean and de-clutter the basement while I'm at it, but the truth is that I probably will not...lol! After all, if my stash-busting is to be successful, I will surely need to sacrifice other things (like cleaning and organizing) to meet my goals...right?!? Right!!!

Another thing that I tend to stash is regret. I know that I am forgiven by the sacrifice that Christ made, and that I will be white as snow when this life is over. I am so grateful for that! But I still beat myself up sometimes for the mistakes I have made. I look back and wonder how such a good, good Father could forgive my really big sins...but He has. Because He sent Jesus, who took on all our sins and spilled his own blood to pay our debt, we are free forever to live life to the fullest!

Life is so much better when we let go of our regrets, de-stashing the guilt and sadness we feel, and live a life filled with love and kindness. After all, Jesus did not die for just Pretty, he died for all of humanity! If you are stashing regrets, I hope you will take a moment to really consider that. Jesus was God's only Son, and he died so that you and I could be free of blame and regret.

If I were a betting woman, I would wager that we all live with some regrets. The sad truth is that each one we hold onto represents a step backwards. Whether you believe that Jesus was the son of God or not, I hope you can see that stashing the guilt of past sins keeps you from moving forward. The next time you are held back by feelings of guilt over something that happened before today, please take just a moment to clench your fists as tight as you can, and then slowly relax and open your hands. As you release the tension from your fingers and hands, mentally let go of whatever is holding you back with regret, and take a step toward forgiving yourself for being human. Wiggle those free fingers, forgive yourself and thank God for His abundant mercy!

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

Saturday, April 29, 2017

E-Check

I live in Ohio, where we have to have an emissions test (E-check) on our cars every other year. Yesterday, I took the party car for her required test, and it got me to thinking...

What if we had e-checks for people? Before you get too far into that thought, I should clarify. I am not proposing a biennial test of vapor emissions from anyone, especially not husbands! Rather, a human e-test would be a personal and regular evaluation of our emotional responses, and how those responses color our world and affect those around us. 

Even if this is only the second post you've read in this blog, you will likely recognize that Pretty was created as a very emotional person. If this is the first post you've read, I hope you'll take a few minutes to look around the blog and see what I mean. I am very, very emotional. The truth is that we all are. We may differ in how we react and respond, but we are all created emotional beings.

Some time ago, while working with a group of 5th and 6th graders at church, I shared this idea with them, and they were not instant believers. But when I said, "Girls cry and boys yell, that's just what happens," even those pre-teens agreed that maybe I had a point. While there are exceptions to this rule, it does carry on into adulthood, and it is a good thing to keep in mind when dealing with people (and their emotions)! The best advice, whether you want to laugh or cry or yell, is to just let yourself feel it, and be careful to not direct your feelings at someone who has nothing to do with them.

Just this morning, Sweetie was working on a job in the living room, and when he realized that the job might not go smoothly, that there might be yelling involved, he chose how to react and respond. Well, he chose to take his reactions and responses out to the garage, so that his outbursts (if there were any) wouldn't affect his very emotional wife. He was also protecting me from the smelly stuff he would be spraying, and I am thankful that he shielded me from flying emotions and chemicals! (For the record, when he came back in, he reported that there was no cursing or throwing things. The job went much better than expected...yay!)

I tend to manage my emotions with deep breathing, prayer and knitting. Sometimes I also cry and even yell...and that's ok. I do my best not to let my emotional reactions spill over onto others, but sometimes I just need a good cry. At other times, I need a good laugh, and it seems to me that the laughter and tears balance each other out pretty well. Everything is a process, and when it comes to emotions, it is still best to just let myself feel it.

Often my knitting reminds me that there is a process to everything. You cast on, follow the pattern, and then bind off. Sometimes there are seams to sew, and there are always ends to weave in. In the end, you have a completed project and maybe even a gift for a dear friend!

Sometimes my knitting goes late into the night. Those are the times that I can embrace the stillness and listen for God's leading through an emotional time, and share my heart with a cuddle-y friend.

And sometimes I even put the knitting down, in favor of complete stillness. Usually the clicking of the needles is like a balm for my heart, as His Word is a balm for my soul, and I alternate between knitting and just holding the stitches in my hands. In these times, I opt for the simplest projects, and I pray through each stitch, remembering God's promise to never leave me or forsake me. 

I am thankful that I was created to be this me, knit together in my mother's womb. I am one of God's masterpieces, and I am loved. I am so very loved, and you are too. If you're not feeling loved today, remember John 3:16 - For God so loved you and me that he gave his one and only Son, that you and I, when we believe in Him, will not die but have eternal life. (My paraphrase, His idea.)

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Joyful

It is difficult to not be joyful when knitting toys.
It can start with a bunny for a baby...

...continue with a puppy and a kitty for the daughters of dear friends!

Finally, a white rabbit, suitable for even Alice!

Even when life doesn't go as I have planned, there is joy. Even when I am unhappy, there is joy. Even when I feel overwhelmed by my circumstances and underwhelmed by my endurance, there is always joy. Joy in the skills gifted especially to me by my heavenly Father, when He created me in his own image. Joy in the acceptance of Jesus as my Savior, whose gift of life I will never deserve. Joy in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, who calms my soul with a peace that passes understanding.

My life is not perfect. I am not perfect, though I would like to be. And still, I find joy in the love of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I find joy in the love of family and friends, and I find joy in being but a small part of this creation. I even find joy in my shortcomings and failures, in the times I must lean heavily on the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There is great joy in leaning back into those loving arms, relying fully on them to hold me up, when I cannot hold myself together.

Happiness is fleeting, but joy is ever present if you know where to look. I hope that you are finding joy in your life, even in the midst of your struggles. If you are not, maybe it's time to look in a new direction. Open your eyes, and your heart, and the joy will come.

Thanks for stopping by on this joyful day, and Knit in Good Health!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

No Peter Cottontail here...

Just Penelope Cottontail...

Happy Easter to all of my peeps!

Thanks for stopping by, and knit in good health!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Life Without Parole

As of April 3rd, life without parole (plus 6 years) is my brother-in-law’s final sentence. It is good to finally have some closure. There was no funeral, no memorial service, no family gathering for the burial of their ashes…no closure. I blogged, and I did some other things that I thought might help, and they did, but nothing really brought the closure I craved.

This is where I remind you that a funeral is not about one person who died, or one survivor. Memorial services, funerals and celebrations of life are designed to help people absorb the reality and finality of death. Sure, they are full of emotion...tears, and sometimes laughter, as friends and family gather to remember the good times and comfort one another...and the emotion can be overwhelming. But please don’t tell your family that you don’t want a funeral, either for yourself or for a loved one. Skipping the service can deprive loved ones of much needed closure.

Sweetie and I tried to find some closure as we sat vigil with his mom and dad, and the whole family, when it first happened, last February. We did not talk about them much, and we did not talk about him much…but we did grieve together in those first days and weeks. It helped, but it is difficult to find closure without words.

I knit covers for the containers of ashes, at my mother-in-law’s request, and had planned to see them again before they were buried. I still have some silk flowers and ribbons that were supposed to adorn them whenever we finally gathered to say our final good-bye to Randy and Cindy. While that gathering never materialized, although the unadorned ashes were buried, it helped me to knit the covers in remembrance of my brother-in-law and sister-in-law.

I made ornaments from bottle caps and photos to hang from rear-view mirrors, and I gave them to family and friends. Every time I get in my car, I see their faces and remember that they are forever gone, and far too soon. The teardrop crystal on each one sends sunlight dancing through the car while their memories are free to dance in our minds.

I prayed, and I cried. I cried out to God because it was such a cruel fate that it did not seem real. How could this be real? Some of my prayers and tears were silent, and some were definitely not. I cried out to the Lord to show me why, but he did not. Perhaps there is some good to come from this. I cannot know…I can only guess, and I have tried, but I will likely never know for sure. Still, it helps to talk it through and try to figure out what comes next.

What comes next for my brother-in-law is a life behind bars. He decided that killing his sister and brother was the answer to his “lifelong of headache” and heartache, and those two shots have cost him dearly. Life for those left behind is also forever changed, and we have spent the last thirteen months wondering what comes next for us and for him. On April 3, 2017 his sentence was handed down by the judge, and I finally felt  some closure. I left the courtroom with Sweetie, with her sons and husband, with assorted family and friends, and I felt a huge sigh of relief. We embraced, but did not cry or celebrate. Still, in the judge’s words, there was closure. We know what comes next, and justice has been served.

What comes next for Pretty? More knitting, more praying and probably more crying. Grief is a funny thing, yet it is not funny at all. Memories make me laugh, and make me cry. Remembering what happened makes me angry and confused. Grief is, at times, all consuming. At other times it seems that I have come through to the other side, usually just before a memory hits, and then the process starts anew. There is no time limit on grief. This grief will always be a part of me, of us, of everyone left behind. We will make new memories, and we will find joy where we can, but the grief is now a part of who we are.

If you have lost a loved one, please allow yourself to feel the grief, and give yourself time to find out what comes next. If you are not sure about what comes next for YOU when you leave this world, shoot me an email. I'd love to talk to you about an eternity in heaven!

And as long as we are still here, thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

No Foolin'!

They say it's my birthday! Happy birthday to me! 

No foolin', it IS my birthday. It is not a milestone year, but it is the celebration of another year, and I have much to be thankful for. For instance, when I asked Sweetie if there were any plans for Saturday, his answer was, "Well, I was going to take you yarn shopping..." What a guy! It has been a rough year, or two, or three...and there were a couple of times that I doubted him...and us. But here we are, and it is good. I am so thankful that we stuck it out...again. (PS - Maybe I should rethink the yarn shopping? Nope...there is no such thing as too much yarn, right?)

I am also thankful to have a lovely group of ladies I can let my hair down with. Some are knitters, some are church friends, and some go all the way back to my school days! I am a firm believer in the power of community, and the friends that surround me are the best kind of community...reserving judgement and offering sympathetic ears at just the right time. They celebrate and commiserate with me, and they are not afraid to get a little silly every so often...or more often than not!

I am thankful to live in an age of technology that lets me keep in touch with family and friends in real time, with and without video! Facebook, Ravelry, Facetime and Skype keep me connected in ways I never could have imagined 30 years ago. I can actually see where Peanut lost that tooth...I can see and hear the meltdown when Sweet Pea shouts "My talk!" and grabs the phone...I can say happy birthday to someone far away, and share a photo of cake...I can sympathize with one friend and celebrate with another...I can keep in touch with my cousins, my first childhood friends...I can even pray "in person" with a good friend without either of us leaving the house! 

Knitting is something I am more thankful for every time I have to take a significant break from it...like if I break a bone (or three) in my hand! The fidgets get to me when I cannot knit, and playing with yarn keeps me centered. It is so much more than making...knitting time is prayer time for the person I am making for; working stitches helps me work through difficult decisions; stitching things together pairs well with deep thought, contemplation and even meditation. Yes, knitting centers me. Knitting is a priority, because I spend my knitting time prioritizing so many other things.

My highest priority, and the one thing I am most thankful for, is my relationship with God through Jesus. He is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6), and knowing Him has changed my life. I still have trouble and struggle daily with all kinds of things. But I do not question this: Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, and he is my Lord and Savior. I am thankful that he came as a baby, grew into a Teacher, and finally gave His own life for mine.

I am thankful that I will not get what I deserve at the end of this lifetime, because Jesus died, was buried, and on the third day rose again (1 Cor 15:4). Because he died that death, I will not get what I deserve. My own sinful nature dictates that I deserve an eternity separated from God. But along with Jesus, my sin also died on the cross, so that I may look forward to an eternity with God. That's a pretty sweet deal, and I am excited to celebrate Easter again this year, just a couple of weeks after my birthday!

For me, Easter is more than bunnies and eggs (although I also celebrate with both of those...and candy).

I am thankful that I can celebrate another year of my life, and another Easter. You'll likely find me shopping for yarn and knitting today, and maybe heading out with Sweetie for a celebratory meal. How will you spend April Fools' Day? I hope you will find something to be thankful for today, and every day!

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Freedom Fingers

Guys! Guys! Look at this!

My fingers are free! My fingers are free! Well, not totally free, I am still supposed to wear my brace "as much as possible," according to the doc, but I can use the hand! I'm not supposed to lift anything heavier than a coffee cup, but I think most of my knitting is lighter than a coffee cup...so I am raising my white (and green and yellow) flag of dishcloth knitting 

in favor of some toy knitting!

Let me tell you that free fingers feel fantastic! But the hand is still a little sore, so I  am wearing the brace quite a bit. Some things are easier than others with one hand bound...for instance, putting on pants is fairly difficult. But I've adapted to others pretty well with just the one hand, such as typing...it is much slower, but it can be done! (FYI, I'm typing this with both hands, but I'll put that brace on for a good rest as soon as I am done here.)

Being in a cast and brace (again) has also reinforced some basic life lessons for me. In this lifetime, I often take freedom for granted. The freedom to do pretty much what I want, when I want to do it is a given for me in so many ways, but the one that matters most is my freedom in Christ. As we count down to Easter, when Christians around the world remember Jesus's sacrifice and celebrate His resurrection, I am reminded that "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free." (Galatians 5:1)

Freedom. I am so glad that I am free! Free to follow Jesus. Free to take a walk outside. Free to express myself verbally and in writing. Free to befriend the best group of knitters. Free to let them "decorate" my cast the day before it came off." Finally free to knit and shower and type with two hands. Freedom feels fine!

Do you feel free? If not, why not? What are you a slave to? Freedom in Christ is available to you, too...and if you have not found it yet, I would be happy to talk with you more about where to look. I have LOTS of words, just ask my husband! Drop me a line via email, or comment below, and I will get back to you.

In the meantime, thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Still Knitting One-Handed

But still knitting! More next week!

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Bracing Myself

Sooooo, if you've seen me on Facebook lately, you will know that I am typing one-handed today, and will be for the foreseeable future. I wasn't even running, I promise, but I did manage to fall over again. I also broke my left hand again. Now it looks like this:

I did this after writing the blog for last Saturday, which was fortunate. I was with my daughter, also fortunate for me! She picked me up and ferried me to the ER, where I learned that I have a broken bone on the outside of my hand. This type of fracture is often referenced as a "boxer's fracture," which sounds way cooler than, "I was just walking, and I fell down."

"You should tell people you got that in a fight with Minnie Mouse last week!"

"Were you chewing bubble gum while you were walking?"

"Well, if Sweetie is going to push you over, you should start fighting back..."

No. No. And no. Seriously, I went out to walk with Dollface and her sweet dog,

and somewhere around the 5th step, I put my foot down in a funny way. I did not recover well from the stumble, but at least I did not break the fall with my face.

Two weeks in a cast, typing with one hand, then I'll get back to a brace I can remove for showering (and knitting...shhh!).

Until then, look for shorter blog posts and less knitting than usual. It's just two weeks, so I'm sure I won't go crazy...bwaaahahahahahaha!

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!
(And don't fall down. Seriously. Don't. lol!)

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Magical is One Word

Magical. What does that one word make you think of? Very recently, this word took my mind to Disney World! This was a good thing, since Sweetie and I actually went to Disney World last week, in celebration of our 30th wedding anniversary! Magical is one word for Disney World, and it is a good one!

Another word for Disney is wait. A large amusement park (or group of parks) known around the world is going to bring lots of fun, and lots of waiting. This is a good reminder, whoever you are. The waiting started at the airport, 

and continued at the hotel, 

then on into the parks. We even waited to fill our water bottles, 

and then waited at this sign! (One of our faves, throughout the day!)

But the waiting is just part of the game. The waiting builds anticipation for the fun! After all, we were at Disney World for 4-and-a-half days! Since we stayed at a Disney resort, it was all-Disney, all the time, and that part was magical!

Another word for Disney is crowded. This is almost synonymous with the waiting, but it's a little different...the crowds are not all Disney all the time. The crowds are made up of moms and dads and kids, old and young, who are not getting enough sleep in their hotels. They are outside their normal routines, and grumpy often ensues. Everyone without a Disney uniform or character costume is just a little unsure of where they are, and how to get to where they want to be. It takes a little extra grace and patience to be a part of the crowds at Disney!

Yet another word for Disney is YUMMY! Boy oh boy, did we eat good on this trip! Here are just a few shots of the yummy, yummy-ness we experienced:



Words cannot even begin to capture the tastes and smells of Epcot and all the parks!

Finally, my last word for Disney is FUN! Despite the crowds and the waiting and being out of our own element, we had so much fun! I can prove it with all the selphies we took. See?



We are smiling in nearly every one!

Even though one of us finally had his fill of the photos,

It was a trip we will not soon forget!

Happy anniversary again, Sweetie! I love you!

Thanks for checking in to see how the trip went! If you are planning a trip anytime soon, I hope you find all you're looking for. I also hope that you and your crowd will not be grumpy and sleep deprived during your time in the parks. It really can be the most magical place on earth!

Until next time, knit in good health!