Saturday, September 23, 2017

In the Margins

My hope for this week's post was to show you toys and socks and fingerless gloves, all on my needles because this should have been a light week in the mornings and evenings. There should have been a little more "margin" in our lives this week...you know, a little white space around the edges where we could take notes and just rest up a bit. However, on Monday night this was my view:

As it turns out, the bellyache that Sweetie had had all day, was not just a bad burrito. So, rather than sleeping peacefully and feeling much better on Tuesday, we took a trip to the ER. There they determined that this was the problem...

Yep, that's an appendix, and not a particularly healthy one. Turns out that surgery was the plan for Sweetie on Tuesday, so we spent that day in the hospital too. When he was out of surgery, he was eager to go home to recover...but first he had to keep down some "food" (or, you know, jello), which he did rather quickly, yay.

Much to our surprise, we then learned that an appendectomy means a 2-4 week recovery, even when done laparascopically! Take it very easy, no lifting anything over 10 pounds, heavy medication while the post-surgery pain persists. So our last few days have been spent medicating and finding comfortable positions for sleeping, sitting and stifling the pain. Extra pillows have been a plus, but boredom has reigned supreme for the poor guy! Apparently, one can only watch so much television...

Too bad he is not quite bored enough to learn to knit...I could have him work on some Christmas gifts for me while I am at work! Perhaps he will be bored enough for that next week...lol! At least I finished this cutie in time for her appearance at a birthday gathering before the appendix of doom made itself known!

All in all, even with the hiccup that a bad appendix has brought to our lives, we are still thankful that it was not anything worse. God is still good, and he got Sweetie in before the situation was dire, even though it has been very painful. We are thankful that the appendix did not burst, and that the surgery did not recover more days of hospital recovery. We are thankful that he was healthy enough for surgery, and that there were no complications. We praise God that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, and we are thankful to live in this age of modern medicine. 

Now, to get back to the knitting and napping that can make Saturday such a lovely day! I hope that you have some leisure, some margin, planned into your day and your weekend, and that your margin is not surgery induced!

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Not a Fan

Last night, the hubs and I went to the annual Apple Festival in our town. This is something we look forward to every fall, and we have gone often enough that we can now walk straight to our favorite food trucks, and fill up on apple goodies! My favorite are the apple fritters...(cue drooling)

One of the other things we enjoy about festivals and fairs and anywhere there are throngs of humans, is the people watching. So. Many. People! Just when you think you have seen it all, there is that one person...wearing fruit on her head, or dancing to the live music while doing handstands, or maybe a one-man-band street musician, performing some of your favorites and doing them justice! (I really wish I had noted that guy's name...he was fantastic!)

But last night, I had an experience that just left me shaking my head. There was a man with something that looked like business cards in his hands, and as he offered one to us, he said something about Jesus that I didn't quite catch...classic Bible tract tactics. As a Christian, I don't think this is the most effective way to share the Gospel, but I can appreciate what he is trying to do, so I smile and say, "No thanks! We're already fans!" 

I thought I was sending the message that we were already his brother and sister in Christ, so we get it. Instead, he replied flatly (and I think quite annoyed), "Don't be a fan, be a follower." Really? Dude! We are on your team!

Again, I am pro-Jesus, pro-Christian and pro-share-the-Good-News. However, I am not a fan of word-tracks, Bible-tracts and I-am-better-than-you-Christianity. I have done my studies, and I know that Jesus has asked us to be more than mere fans, and to follow him...to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength and to love our neighbors. I get it, and I am a follower. However, I am also a fan. Just like I am happy when the Cleveland Indians win a record-breaking 22 games in a row (side note: Go Tribe!!!), I am thrilled when there are victories because the love of God is winning.

It is unfortunate when Christians go into the world to share word-tracks without independent thought about the responses they may receive. It is worse when the response is a trite statement implying that the hearer is an idiot. It is devastating for the cause of Christ when Christians cannot even get along with one another in public. The root of this is usually pride, something we are warned against time and again in the Bible, and in the world. And really, who would you rather be around - "Look how good I am!" or "I love you, and I want to know you"?

Christians, if we are to further the cause of Christ, we should be fans and followers, and we must examine how we are sharing the Gospel. Are we just using words? Or are we using our lives by loving others (Christians and those who do not follow Jesus yet), and looking out for their best interests ahead of our own? Even if our worship services look different, if we are followers of Jesus, the world should be able to see that clearly by how we treat others...and how we treat each other. They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love!

As I return you to your regularly scheduled knitting blog, may I ask: What is your life saying about you?

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Lost Naps Found

Sooo, last week I lamented about lost naps. I think I have found them. Here are two examples, right off the top:


As they were napping, I decided to take advantage of the cooler weather, and I did some baking.  With Shaun Cassidy Radio blaring on Pandora, I mixed up some Peanut Butter Banana Muffins 

and Oatmeal Scotchies, and boy! 

Our house smells wonderful! I was eager to grab my kindle and tell you about it, but the nappers were guarding it...lol! 

Now that I have wrestled my electronics away from the cats and blogged, it's time to sit and knit a bit! What a beautiful day!

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit (and Bake) in Good Health this fall!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

I Need A Nap

My granddaughters are 6 years old and 2 years old. God bless their mommy and daddy! The six-year-old has not taken a regular nap for some time, but she will still occasionally succumb to the siren song of a midday snooze on a particularly busy day. The two-year-old still needs a daily nap, but she often stubbornly refuses. I am sure she does not get this from her Gramma...

This grandmother has found that a daily, afternoon nap, even if only for a few minutes, is most welcome! In fact, there was a time that I was napping at will, at my desk, at home, at anywhere. Very recently, however, the naps and the nighttime sleeps, are eluding me. =^/ I am getting a LOT of reading done, but the bags under my eyes are growing, and it is increasingly difficult to focus on my knitting. I need a nap!

Alas, as long as I cannot nap, let the gift knitting begin! Of course, I cannot show you any of it until it is gifted, but rest assured that the Christmas knitting has begun! Maybe this year I will actually be ready for the holidays when they arrive. I have many great ideas for those girlies, whether they are regularly napping or not!

For now, I leave you with this sock. It does not yet have a mate, or even a toe, but it will. Someday soon it will even have a foot to belong to! Until then, let us just marvel that I was able to knit a bleary-eyed sock, without a nap.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope that you get a nap today, and that you will Knit in Good Health!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Young Love, First Love

When I was little, I loved to read. Wait. No. I lived to read! I wasn't a particularly athletic child, and the house I grew up in was not part of a neighborhood with lots of other children to play with, but we had lots of books! I was reading before I went to school, and I drank in the praise of adults who were impressed with my mad skills...it was the beginning of my over-achieving.

As I grew, I found that the books I really loved were how-to books and self-improvement books...all the non-fiction. I also read novels and some historical stuff, but what I really craved was information on how life is done. To give you some perspective on how much I loved books, I used to go to the public library for fun. I would just sit there, reading book after book from the shelves, sometimes not even bothering to check them out or take them home.

In the eighth grade, I met a boy at the library. He also liked to read, and he was the first boy I kissed. He was not a particularly good kisser, but he sure knew lots of stuff and read a lot of books! As these things go in middle school, the relationship soon fizzled, but my library was still there for me, and so I kept reading.

When I first met my husband in the tenth grade, I devoured books about love and dating. I rarely brought these books home, but I stored up knowledge about relationships, and we eventually married. When I was pregnant with my first child, I turned to books and magazines about child development and parenting, and stacked them high on the coffee table for easy access.

Somewhere between the birth of that first child and the business of a young family, my reading dwindled until I was just reading 1 or two magazines a week (along with a LOT of Dr. Seuss!). I found that I didn't really mind, and I took great joy in watching my children grow into readers of everything they could get their hands on, too!

When I worked at the church, I marvelled at Tim's collection of books. Sometimes, when he was out of the office, I would just walk among his books and run my fingers along the spines on the shelves, occasionally taking one down to open it and smell the ink and old paper inside. Sometimes I would even borrow a book, and I would try to find time to read it. Inevitably, as a working mom, I rarely finished a book.

Now that our children are grown, and my life has gone through so many changes, I find myself once again curiously drawn to this first love. Without time to spend in the library on a regular basis, I have turned to my kindle, and I have three books open right now! I still prefer non-fiction, and most of the books on my shelf fall into that category. A new category of both print and digital books that I currently own falls into the knitting realm, and what joy it is to read and knit "at the same time!"

I guess you could say that I have come full circle. Welcome back, reading! I've missed you...where will you take me today?

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

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Sometimes Life is Like That

Sometimes life is like that.

Sometimes life is sunshine and rainbows, and all your knitting works out exactly as you have planned. You don't have to think too hard, and there is lots of time for doing what you love! You decide to knit fingerless gloves, and they come out better than you had imagined they would!

Sometimes life is sunshine and wind. There is nothing in particular standing in the way of your knitting or living, but it still feels like a slog. You cast on multiple times, or multiple projects, but you just cannot seem to find any forward progress.

Sometimes life is cloudy, with a chance of meatballs. A new discovery is not what you had hoped. A new knit stitch or technique, one that looked really cool on all the You Tube videos, just does not work out as planned. The ensuing mess is like meat sauce that will never wash out.

Sometimes life is stormy. Worse than a new thing not working out, sometimes even the tried and true threaten to take you down. Knit 2, purl 2, knit 2, purl 2, knit 3, purl 2, knit 2...wait, what?!? You lose time trying to find out where you went so wrong...

Sometimes life is good, and sometimes it is bad. There are ups, and there are downs, and knitting is much the same. Through it all, the vehicle is steady. Yarn is still yarn, and it is abundant. God is still God, and he is always there, seeking an abundant life for you and for me.

When the storms of life hit, I try to remember that these are the days that give me perspective. The good days are great, to be sure, but how would I know that without the muck and the mire occasionally? Not that I look forward to bad times, but I know that they will come.

When my children were small, and I would walk them to school, they would often complain about the cold days, the wet days, the days that were less than perfect. I usually had the same answer to those complaints, "These are the days that let you know you are alive!"

I have a tendency to feel very little on a perfect day, and I take those days for granted. Those are the days that I forget that I have a purpose, and I just want to loaf. But when the wind, rain and snow are pelting me right in the face, I cannot deny that I am very much alive...and I that canot change the weather. 

Even when life is hard, keep going. Because sometimes life is like that.

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Knit or Cut Bait...

"Fish or cut bait is a common English language colloquial expression, dating back to the 19th-century United States, that refers to division of complementary tasks. The use of this expression has expanded over time, sometimes including the ideas of swift decision-making (to act or not to act), and cautions against procrastination and/or indecisiveness."   -Wikipedia

This week, I had to cut bait. I had been "fishing" on a gorgeous bit of lace knitting that was kicking my knitting butt! Here it is, in its splendor, not even 1/3 finished:

I ripped and restarted this scarf 3 times. That makes 4 starts from scratch, for those who are counting. Each time I got a little farther before I made a fatal mistake that required ripping out rows and rows of lace-weight, lace knitting. It was heartbreaking every time, but I kept putting the bait back on that hook...err needles...and trying again.

When I discovered the most recent error, I estimated 2 things:
  1. It would mean ripping out another 10 rows of lace and reknitting them, probably after 1 or 2 failed attempts at just dropping down the affected stitches...again; and
  2. As it turns out, I would most likely not have enough of this yarn to actually finish the project anyway. (I should have measured that dwindling ball of yarn sooner and saved myself a heartache or twelve!)
It was at this point that I could barely look at my knitting. I would take it out, open it up and just sit there. Occasionally, I did not even open the project bag. I just sat there, cradling it gently. Sweetie would say, "Aren't you knitting?," or, "You're not knitting?," because it is odd indeed for me to have still hands in the presence of yarn. I simply could not decide whether to go on or go back, as I had so much time already invested in this project. I would sit there and sigh the sighs of the indecisive knitter. Should I keep going? Should I start something else? Should I give up knitting altogether?

::egad!::

::No!::

I knew it was doomed, and yet I held on...treasuring those stitches. I had two balls of yarn, but I would have needed three (at the least) to finish. I had tried to bring the thing to knit-night one time too many, and always had mistakes afterward...and after knitting in front of the TV...and after knitting in the presence of curious kitty cats...and after knitting in complete silence with no distractions whatsoever. Still I held out hope...knit two together here, yarn over there...just dangling that line in a sea of lace, waiting to finally catch the elusive, enormous-and-light-as-air scarf I was dreaming of.

In the end, I ripped back all 40 grams that I had knit (some of it several times) into the airiest, most beautiful, multi-directional lace I have ever run my fingers through...now, just yarn again.

Fear not, knitters and yarn lubbers. Even though I did cut bait, no lace-weight yarn was harmed in the process. I know better than to create unnecessary knots in yarn so fine! But I did admit defeat, pulling out hundreds of yarn-overs and decreases and double decreases. It was a sad day.

I cheered myself up by casting on a Color Affection shawl in soothing, mindless garter stitch, with just a few increases here and there. Purple is the theme here, with nary a yarn over in sight!
So now I will just keep swimming...err fishing...err knitting along.

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health (unless it's time to cut bait)!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Sandwiches

It is a new kind of sandwich for me. I mean, I know that everyone hits this point, and I knew I would get a taste eventually. I even remember worrying that it would happen while the kids were still at home. I wondered how we would care for our kids and our parents, possibly under the same roof, but I don't think I ever really considered what this would look like with everyone under different roofs.

Yes, I am talking about being smack in the middle of the current "sandwich generation," pulled in different directions by our independent, adult children and our increasingly more dependent parents. It has really hit me hard this last year-and-a-half, with all that has hit Sweetie's family. Then, a couple of weeks ago, my mom fell at home. I am grateful to Mom's close neighbors, who she called first. These great folks got her to the ER, and watched over her until I could get there.

Luckily, Mom's injuries consist only of a sprained knee, and she is steadily getting more and more mobile again. I am down to visiting mostly on the weekends now, or if she has an appointment with one of her doctors. Again, I am truly grateful to her neighbors, because I live 45 minutes away...and they can certainly get to her faster than I can. Thank you especially to Paula and Jessica for all your help!

At the same time that this was happening with my mom, Dollface and her main squeeze got the keys to a house they have bought, and I felt badly that I couldn't get super excited and run right out there that minute. I mean, I am super excited for them, and I did eventually get the "grand tour" of the new digs. (By the way, it is a great house, and yes, they are engaged!) I was a little bummed that I could not drop everything and go right away, but I am sure that Mom was glad that she did not end up on the floor again! Choosing between my parent and my kid is a relatively new experience for me...and sometimes I feel like the cheese is sliding right out of my ham sandwich!

How many of you are in this sandwich generation with me? Here in the middle, we want to support both our parents and our kids. I just did not imagine that it would be so difficult at this stage. But with both of us working full-time, and trying to keep up with our kids' lives, there are days that I am just pooped! Enter the lack of knitting...and I apologize to my knitting friends for that! I know that this is just a season, and so we continue to put one foot in front of the other, endeavoring to honor our parents (Ex. 20:12; Deut. 5:16) and not embitter our children (Col. 3:22). Sandwiches R Us!!!

I feel like I should somehow knit a sandwich to represent this time in our lives. I would bet my eye teeth that there is a pattern for that!

Thanks for taking time out of your sandwich to stop by, and Knit in Good Health!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Matchy Matchy

Now that our little loves are in a mountain state of mind, my knitting has taken a turn. I recently acquired a couple of skeins of a snowy, stripey mix, and hats just flew off the needles!

These stripes are in a colorway called Stone Harbor (KP Felici yarn), but I see Elsa when I knit them. I see blue sky, sunshine and clouds, and snow caps in these lovely hues...and in my mind's eye, I immediately saw fingering weight, slouchy hats and hand warmers that would accompany them on a mountain hike! I am still working on the fingerless gloves, a pair for each of them, with cuffs and tops that can be folded or not, depending on the warmth needed for each part of the hike.

In a perfect world, I would have thought to get extra to make a matching set for their mommy, and I still may. But even if that is not in the cards this time, I will keep knitting. Speaking of matching, I can't wait to visit them this fall, so we can all wear our matching leggings together. This LuLaRoe has really stolen my heart, and matching Disney leggings are things of my dreams...when you wish upon a star, and all that jazz. (Jazz hands!)

I guess that's about it for today. Some knitting, and some matching, and life goes on. I hope that today has found you with some time on your hands, and that you are using that time to do something you love!

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

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)

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Daydream Believer

I can knit for miles and miles! At least that's what it feels like while I am knitting my Destination Ohio Cowl! As I knit each color, I think of the place that it represents, and I wonder at the fun it might be to wear the cowl to each of them and snap a photo! I don't think that will realistically happen, but a knitter can still dream...
Luscious pile of cowl on my desk...
So far, I've knit about 34 inches of the tube, and the finished cowl will be around 40 inches long when it is finished, and I cannot wait for it to be finished. I mean, I can wait. It was 93 degrees yesterday, and there is more of that forecast for today, so I can totally wait to wear the thing...but I want it to be finished so that I can take it on a walk into nature, and photograph it among the trees and streams and flowers and butterflies! Because, of course, all my photos are perfect like that...NOT! Well, a knitter can still dream...
The shot was set up perfect, then
he walked right into it...lol!
My favorite of the 8 Ohio-inspired colors is Roller Coast, and I am toying with asking Jeanne (of Destination Yarn) to dye me up a sweater's worth! With bright-sky-blues and bits of deep-lake-blue, accompanied by pops of red, green and yellow steel coaster tracks, this colorway is inspired by my favorite amusement park, Cedar Point, a destination in Ohio, for sure! The color captures the spirit of the park, and its many rides, so well that it makes me think of playing hooky from work this coming week. Hmmm, a knitter can still dream...
Honestly could not love these colors more!
Yes, today is a good day to dream, and I plan to enjoy every moment of it! I hope that your dreams are good, and that at least one or two of them come true!

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!


Saturday, June 10, 2017

Gramma Brags

My grandmothers bragged on me all the time. It does not matter that I never heard either of them brag, I know they did because I am now a Gramma! If you have been paying attention, you know that my granddaughters were recently in town, so now is my time to brag on how bright and beautiful they are!

How daring...

How quick!

How smart as a whip!

These girls have stolen our hearts...Sweetie and I are always bragging on them! Oh, and ask us about photos...we have a few, you know!

They have recently moved about 1300 miles away from our house, and this makes us sad. However, I know the 6-year-old can read and write very well, so I know there will be letters...

photos...

and even Face-Times in our long-distance future. It is not the same as face-to-face time, but it is totally better than not seeing them at all!

Best wishes to my son and his family as they embark on their newest adventure in a very beautiful place! Son, please set up a closet for us to sleep in when we eventually come to visit, because you know that we will. :) Much love and virtual hugs to all of you!

Tell me, blog peeps...Do you have anyone to brag on? If not, you can brag on my lovely granddaughters too!

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Almost Heaven...Woolapalooza!

Woolapalooza was, as usual, GREAT! We stuffed seven, obsessed-with-yarn-and-fiber, adult women into a van,

and we drove into the country, where we descended like locusts on the Destination Yarn booth for our first stop! (Some of us even skipped the potty break to head right there!)

Yes, within moments of getting out of the van and sloshing across the muddy parking-lawn at the fairgrounds, we were finding other fiber friends and buying yarn...So. Much. Pretty! Destination Yarn is a local favorite, and Jeanne's fame is growing outside the state as well! After we'd all blown at least part of our wads of cash at her booth, we tried to make a plan...

...but that was a little like herding cats! Fun cats...high on catnip and yarn fumes!

In the end, we broke into groups of 2-3, and off we went until lunchtime. After filling our tummies on fair food (that I neglected to photograph this year), we all met back at the van to share lunches, fiber purchases and notes about our finds...

We sat in the sun, knitting and comparing until some of us just had to go back inside to see if we had missed anything. Alice and I headed back to the grandstand where we petted some fibers to spin, and she picked out one that looks like mint-chocolate-chip ice cream!

It was so lovely, and she also grabbed a Turtle-Made, turkish spindle (my favorite spindles!)...to make the yarn of dreams! We all took some time with our knitting and spinning, laughing out loud while Lauren listed things she has lost!

Before long, someone noticed the time, and we decided that we had better get back to reality before our chariot turned into a pumpkin! We said our goodbyes to the passengers of other vans, who had also made the trip from our neck of the woods, and packed up the van for the trip home. Back on my own front porch, I took stock...

Not bad. One yarn purchase from Destination Yarn (Ohio mini skeins and the Show-Exclusive colorway), and one fiber purchase. If you don't count sales tax and lunch, I even stayed in my budget quite prettily! Of course, there is still not much knitting or spinning in my house, as the family stayed with us through the week, but we did get lots of time with these super-cuties...


...so there is no complaining from me! What a fun Saturday we had last week! We have had a great time with the kids and their kids for this visit. As usual, it ends too soon and leaves me counting down until my first flight to their new military home. 

It has been a busy three weeks for the Pretties, and I hope to share some more of the pretty with you in the coming weeks. I hope that your summer has started strong and healthy! What are you counting down to? Whatever it is, may it come to you at just the right time!

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!