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!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Two Things

Just two things for the blog this week.
Number 1: This sweater is FINISHED!
(And the crowd goes wild!)

Number 2: I am going to Disney World for my anniversary!
(And the crowd goes wild!)

Yes, I have my magic bands and luggage tags, my travel companion and knitting for the plane,

so I am all set! I cannot wait to be in the Magical Land of Walt Disney World, and I promise to tell you all about it when I return!

Until then, thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Enough

I was so worried about running out of the blue yarn on this sweater, but I had enough to make it through the hem, with a little help from my friends!

I ended up combining ideas, and I "stretched" that blue with some of the grey, but I was careful to end with 12 rounds of blue on the very bottom. It looks great, and the fit is PERFECT!!! I am now working on the sleeves, and I hope to be able to wear this one in the next couple weeks...yippee!

In non-knitting-knews, my brother-in-law had his hearing this week. He changed his plea from not guilty to guilty of two counts of aggravated murder with gun specifications. His sentencing won't happen until April, but he will have a minimum of 26 years in jail and a maximum of life without parole.

Also, someone turfed the lawn at the house where the crime happened. Coincidence? Probably, it's a rural-ish area, and kids are kids wherever you go. Still, it adds one more level of "what's going on?" to an already stressful time, to be sure.

I'd like to say that I've had enough already. I'd like to say that I don't want to see my family's name(s) in the news, or in court, anymore. I'd like to say that I just cannot take any more of it. Of course, that is not my decision to make. God will let me know when I have had enough. Even though I feel run down and weak, He reminds me that His strength is made perfect in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9), and I remember that He is good, all the time. 

To relieve some of the stress of the winter blahs and family issues that are well beyond my control, I believe that I will knit. I will knit like the wind! I will finish my sleeves and block my sweater so that I can be super cute in it, with some really soft leggings. That sounds like a good plan to me! Since the weather will be super nice today, I will likely go for a walk as well. A little fresh air and exercise can work wonders on stress and help to lower my shoulders a bit. :)

I hope that you also have a chance to get in a little knitting and a bit of exercise today. It is always good to see you, and to share a little of this life with you!

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Running Out

So, I am still working on this sweater...

...although I did take a little break to work on a couple hats, including this one:

Pretty cute, huh? Same cat, different hat! (Still the only cat "willing" to model for me...lol!) But back to the sweater. I am now nearly halfway through the blue yarn, and I have 6 more inches to knit before I do the final ribbing. I am pretty sure I will run out of the blue, so now what? I have another skein of the grey variegated in my stash, and I am toying with starting some blue and grey stripes, then ending with the grey variegated (which also appears in the top of the sweater). What do you think?

I have had dilemmas like this before, and things generally work out pretty well. This time, though, I am worried about adding the light color to the bottom of the sweater. I really liked the idea of the weighty blue finishing the hem. Perhaps I could rip back a few rows (egad!), start a section of grey/blue stripes, then finish off with the blue...oh, I just don't know! Seriously now, any thoughts?

Worst case, I will likely call up my friends at Knit Picks and get myself some more of that blue. lol!

In other news, please pray for my Sweetie and his family this week. Things are starting to move with my brother-in-law, and we are not sure what the next steps hold exactly. Even so, we look forward to the day that he receives his sentence and there is some closure for the family.

I think that brings us full-circle from last week. A second hat, a sweater update, and all I know (which is very little) about what happens next in our family drama. I pray that your family is not experiencing the level of drama that ours is, and that you are doing all you can to stay healthy this winter.

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

One Year

One year ago tomorrow, our family received devastating news. I won't re-hash it all here and now, but here's a link, if you don't know the story. This past year has been a year of ups and downs, ins and outs, and many dips in the road, as you might imagine. A roller coaster ride.

On the hilltops, there were visits with grandkids, new clothes and a new job that I love.

In the valleys were death, depression and a job that I did not succeed at.

Through it all, God has been my rock and my salvation. God and knitting...

The 23rd psalm, the one that you hear at funerals, has comforted me. Indeed, even though I walk through the valley (not around the valley, or over the valley, or under the valley), the valley of the shadow of death, the Lord is with me. He has been my comfort and has granted my tormented soul much needed rest at just the right times.

Knitting for my granddaughters, and for myself, has brought joy back into my life. Some of my most fun knits have come from this last year, including some dolls,

A sweater or two, this one still in progress...

And even a chemo hat, finished just last night, for a friend's mom. By the way, the cat was even less content than she looks at the thought of modeling this knit! lol!

Finally, the truth of the verse that you see on signs at big games, John 3:16 has been reinforced into my life as I have grown through this most difficult year. "For God so loved the world that he sent his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" with Him, in Heaven, eventually.

Waiting for the eventual is hard, especially in an imperfect world. However, I am learning, day by day, that I am up for that challenge. With daily prayer, study (and knitting), I'm gonna make it after all...just like Mary Tyler Moore did in the newsroom. I wonder if Mary knew Jesus? I wonder if you do? If you do not, I would love to introduce you. I want my friends and family to find lasting joy, even in difficult times, and He is the only way. Besides that, even though it may be selfish, I would like to see you in Heaven someday...it would be grand to praise God forevermore by your side!

A little preachy today? Maybe. But after the year that I have survived, I felt a strong pull to offer hope to anyone out there who may also be struggling. Take it or leave it, you were born with a free will. "But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord, (Joshua 24:15)" and we will find our joy in Him.

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Yikes! Stripes!

Stripes! Stripes! And more STRIPES!

We used to have a cat named Stripe. Her belly was white, her back was covered with grey and black stripes, and there was a single, white stripe that ran perpendicular to all the rest. She is the only cat we didn't have trouble naming. From the day we brought her home, with that white stripe on her back, she was our little stripey-kitty, and we loved her!

To this day, I still love stripes, as you can clearly see when you look at my Zig-to-the-Zag Striped Tunic on Ravelry:

When it is finished, it will hang nearly to my knees, and there will be a total of 5 colors knit into the prettiest stripes you ever did see (save for the cat), with a zig here and a zag there on the front. I am really enjoying this knit, and lately I have spent every spare moment with my needles a-clickin' and yarn running rampantly through my fingers! This knit is nearly as satisfying as petting a purr-machine while sitting under layers of knit fabric, felines and fleece blankets...sigh!

Black Cat: Really???

Oh, ok. I guess petting the cat is a little more satisfying.

(Don't tell the cats, but I really like the knitting better...it never poops! snicker!)

White Cat: I heard that.

What can I say? Whether it's self-striping socks, sweaters striped in similar skeins, or even solids...the knitting satisfies my crafty soul! I do love my cats, striped or not, but I loveLoveLOVE the knitting!

What do you loveLoveLOVE? Leave me a comment and let me know!

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