Saturday, November 18, 2017

Raining Cats and Dogs?

Today is keeping its promise to be a rainy day. You might even say that it has rained cats and dogs out there. Or you might not...but there are cats and a dog in my house, much to the dismay of the resident felines! You see, today the World's Okay-est Runner ran a half-marathon, and tomorrow her soon-to-be-husband will be running a full marathon (they are pretty impressive, no?)

so we have our grand-dog for the weekend! Isn't he a cutie?

Even the cats agree that he is cute! Well, in all honesty, that may be an exaggeration. There is one cat that we may not see again until the dog leaves. We know that she is still here, because we hear her constant growling and hissing from under the couch, under the beds and under the chair. She is not pleased. Not. Pleased. At. All. The older cat is a bit more tolerant. In fact, we had a moment of calm, cat-on-lap time this morning!

Then Alvin brought us his toy, and asked us to play...

She was not impressed...lol!

But she tolerated it...for a bit. I feel like that is just what I do, too. I tolerate it (whatever "it" happens to be in each moment) and do my best to get on with life. The real test of tolerance, however, is not how much I am able to tolerate before I run, hissing and spitting, to the ends of the earth. The real test is how I live my life right here, despite what is going on around me.

Do I set consistent boundaries with negative people, refusing to be pulled into their drama? Most of the time. Do I allow myself to be sucked into situations where I know I will be tempted to behave badly? Sometimes. Do I entertain the lies in my head...the ones telling me that I am not good enough, or smart enough, or happy enough? More times than I would like to admit.

Life seems to be always invading my space. Sometimes I dream of being able to do what I want, when I want, and with whom I want, forever. I remember thinking once that this would be one of the perks of being an adult. Life, however, counters with all the jobs that need to be done (paying gigs and other tasks), and people who need to be loved. How well do I tolerate that?

Most days I do pretty well. Other days, I need to remind myself that I am thankful...for everything. I am thankful that I have a warm home, clothes to wear and enough to eat. I am thankful to have a job, and a paycheck, and a sense of purpose. I am thankful to have friends, old and new, who love me and lift me up. I am thankful that I live in a place where my relationship with Jesus is legal and well-tolerated by others, even those who do not walk the same path (most of the time). Oh, and I am thankful for knitting, my meditative exercise of choice! (If only knitting burned more calories...!)

I think that I tolerate more, and I generally behave better, when I am thankful. Therefore I am constantly striving to make it my way of life. As Thanksgiving approaches, I am especially grateful that I also see thankfulness all around me. I just wish I could find a way to convey this to the cats!

If you are thankful for something, please share it in a comment below. I hope that your Thanksgiving celebrations, whatever they might be, find you counting more blessings than regrets this year.

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

I Am a Keeper

I am a keeper. I do not mean to say that I am so unique and special that I should be treasured (although I do believe that to be true as well), but rather that I like to keep things. To collect things. To amass collections that make my husband scratch his head in wonder. To  stash sometimes useless-looking items that make my kids sorry they will someday have to clean out my closets...and attic...and basement...and...well, you get the picture.

The upside to being a keeper is that I can usually come up with just the right item to finish a project, whether I am working on artsy-craftsy things, home improvements or special holiday decorations. Duct tape with Dorothy's slippers printed on it? I have that. 6 pair of scissors with different types of scalloped blades for scrapbooking? I have those. Googly eyes to glue on or sew on? I have both, in several sizes. Dowel rods, three kinds of glue, paper grocery bags to cut up for origami trees, polyfill stuffing for toys and pillows? I have all of this and more. This is without even considering the yarn...ohhhhh, the YARN!

Occasionally, I get a bee in my bonnet to clean and/or declutter an area, which actually happened a little earlier this week. I was getting ready to cast on a pair of socks, because I had a dentist appointment. (You all know by now that I cannot sit in a waiting room without knitting!) Well, my favorite sock-knitting bag had become a collection of odds and ends that made finding my yarn in there a little challenging, so I emptied it out next to me on the sofa. Among the dental floss, tiny balls of leftover sock yarn, stitch markers, row counters, chap stick, hand lotion, pens, coffee sleeves, paper clips and toothpaste (I had taken this bag to the dentist on many occasions), I found this:

Yes, it is a foot. This is my preferred method to "measure" people for sock knitting, and although this foot appears to be about my size, I noticed there was writing on it. The writing indicates that Randy wears a 10 1/2 shoe and Dean wears a 12. It also notes color preferences and that Randy would like "fuzzy bunny" slippers. I know that he was likely joking, but you know what I knit, right?

Right! And he would tell me, almost every time he talked to me after Christmas that year, that they were the softest, coziest slippers he had ever had. He even asked for another pair a few years later, because these had worn out from so much use. It was a nice memory, to be sure, but I really don't need to keep this "pattern" or the notes about the sizes of these brothers' feet anymore, so I did something that is starting to become more common for me. I took a picture, so I could share the story without feeling obligated to keep all of the things. 

As I was listening to my daily dose of audio-Bible this morning, I thought again about how this is just what God has done for us. The Bible is the divinely inspired recounting of the memories of what God has done for his people (that would be you and me), from the beginning of time. And no matter what kind of clutter there is in your life, there is something in the book for you. The words that I come back to again and again in my life are these: "I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears." (Ps 34:4) There are many others, but this one usually comes to the front of my brain first, and it comforts me. It is my own personal truth. He has already delivered me from so many fears, and although I know that I will have new fears (daily, sometimes hourly), I completely trust his promise to continue to deliver me. Even though I walk through the shadows of my cluttered life, I will fear no evil, for God is with me! (Ps 23, VERY loose paraphrase)

Mork and Dollface, when I am gone, there should be at least one tiny knitting bag that you will not need to sort through and clean out. I know you are thrilled about that! In the meantime, we can all hope that the next bee in my bonnet leads to the decluttering of a closet...or the attic...or the basement! Now, friends, on to the knitting!

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Three Black and Whites

When I get ready to blog each week, I first have a decision to make. Will I start with photos, or with a general idea? Usually I have an idea, and I always have a multitude of pictures and words to work with. Regarding those words, I am often convicted by a certain Bible verse which states, "Where words are many, sin is not absent." (Proverbs 10:19). I have many, many, many words, and I often struggle to not use them all in one sitting. But I know that there is likely no one out there prepared for that many words at the same time. Besides that, the more I talk, the more likely it is that I will say something silly...or sinful.

This past week has been no exception. There have been so many events and emotions that I could go on and on about how the world has wronged me. I could talk about the people who have offended me (intentionally or not), or I could lament the many opportunities I have missed. If I did that, however, I would most certainly sin by spreading gossip (intentionally or not), speaking harshly or saying something that would offend a friend or acquaintance. 

Therefore, I am choosing the photos today. No conflict...just coffee.

No catastrophe...just cat.

No yelling or yammering...just yarn.

And a sunrise reminder that God's mercies are new every morning because of his great faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

Thank you to all of you doing the 7 black and white photos, no people, no explanations on social media. Even though I have only done 3 today (and one in color), your simple yet striking photos have inspired me to calm down, to be eager to listen and slow to speak (James 1:19). This is a good thing for all of us to do!

Today I am taking the high road with my words. I am also asking God's forgiveness (again) for the times this week that I have used those words in ways that were neither constructive nor encouraging. I know that I have complained about situations and people, despite knowing that I've really got it pretty good overall. Thank you, Jesus, for the sacrifice you made that covers my sin. (John 3:16) I am made perfect only in you, in your timing, and not in this lifetime. While I am here, among the very people you love most, please keep watch over my mouth (and my blog) to keep me from sinning with my words. Amen!

I hope your words are encouraging this week, and that you also receive words of encouragement in return. Words are just one of many opportunities to love one another well (or not), so I will pray that we will all use them carefully.

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Joy and Grief

It has been a busy week. There has not been much knitting. There has been a bit, mostly brightly colored foot covers for little toes, and this is good. 

I have also had the chance to hang out with some friends that I have not seen in awhile. Some from the church I used to attend, a knitter who knows my heart, some new friends and an evening with my daughter (who has become a great friend!). There has been much joy in these relationships, and lots of opportunity to talk about what God is doing in my life...which is bringing back the joy.

One friend said to me, at dinner on Thursday, "Won't you be glad when 2017 is over?" You see, she knows my deepest woes, and I know some of hers. We have freely shared our struggles and joys, and we have openly spoken from the depths of our hearts. It is so good to have friends like this, with whom you can talk through the events of everyday life and also the big, hairy things - good or bad - that are happening in your world. These friends have mastered the art of laughing when you laugh, and mourning when you mourn, and sometimes just being still together. This is so good. 

I answered her question quickly, "No...I thought I would be glad when 2016 was over, and I thought I would be glad when 2015 was over, but at this point, I am just accepting that this life will be full of trouble." As I recall the evening, I realize that it probably goes back even a little further than that, and several of the big, hairy things have really knocked me down through these past few years. 

The thing is, as I struggled to just keep going through the hard stuff, I often beat myself up for not having pure joy when difficulties presented themselves. (James 1:2) I chastised myself, I have been chastising myself for experiencing grief. The losses of friendships, jobs, important people and family members have all occurred in the last couple years, along with some things so deep and personal that I will not blog them. There has been so much loss, and I have denied myself the grieving process, thinking that I should just get over it all and be joyful already. 

Last Saturday, with my knitting friend (and some new friends I met for the first time that day), I finally gave myself permission to keep the grief. The speaker at the ladies retreat we attended was enlisted to speak about Unlocking the Power of Friendship, and she was very good. Even though the theme was friendship, she gave a good insight on grief, and the fact that we all walk around with some grief every day. She gave us permission, and I felt like she specifically gave ME permission to accept that grief as a part of me. Not to dwell on the grief, but to accept that it may never go away, and to acknowledge that others will also come from a place of some grief in their lives. That grief will color our joy, but it will not prevent us from receiving great and pure joy, praise God!

The father of lies (John 8:44) has been telling me that I am not good enough. If I were, I would be getting rid of the grief, and I would have nothing but joy in my troubles. But then I look at Job, who lamented loud and long. He never did "curse God and die," as his wife suggested (Job 2:9), but he did cry out. And although he was again blessed with sons and daughters and livestock and wealth, his life was forever changed by the grief. I am sure that he did not just forget all that he had lost, but he let himself mourn, and then he allowed joy to grow while his grief diminished. 

Psalm 30:5 reminds us that "...weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning." I think weeping can last a lot longer than through the night, and day, and weeks, and months...but if we are looking for it, joy will come in the morning. It may take counseling, medication and fierce determination, but joy comes to those who seek it through their relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Weeping may come back from time to time, and grief will always be a part of who you are moving forward, but joy brings life...not just life at its bare minimum, but the full and abundant life that Jesus came and died to give us! (John 10:10)

On Friday night, Dollface and I went to see Waitress in downtown Cleveland, and it was a joy-filled evening! Dinner and a show was just the ticket to embracing joy yesterday, and I look forward to many more joy-filled moments and days, even though I still have grief in my life. 

I wish you great joy in your life, and I hope that you have some dear ones in your life to help you find that joy, even through your grief. 

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Heatlh!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

I Do Not Have a Problem

Somewhere along the knitting line, I got sucked into the stripey madness of Knit Picks Felici yarns. So, when I realized that there would be quite a bit of travel knitting time on our recent trip to see the kids, I hurried up and got myself some of the Punch Bug colorway to knit socks for the girls:

Mind you, I did not need new yarn. But this stuff is so soft, it is like the fur of the softest, stripey-est kittens when it is knit up, and the socks are tough and hold up very well to washing and wearing. Perfect for items that might end up in the dryer, or on little people... I started with this pair of socks for Peanut...

...and finished up with these little, shorty socks for a girl who sometimes fights mommy when it is time to put on socks and shoes!

Little socks are so much fun! Of course, big socks are fun too...and so are hats and scarves and sweaters and toys and...hmmm. My name is Pretty, and I knit. I knit quite a bit. In fact, every time I sit I knit! I was starting to wonder if if I have a problem, but I asked my knittahs, and they assured me that my knitting habit is completely fine. Whew! (Sweetie, on the other hand, thinks I have too much yarn... =^/)

If you also have a knitting habit, I would be happy to reassure you that you have everything under control...unless you truly do have a problem. If I should find that your yarn habit has become excessive, I will gladly take some of that stash off your hands...you know, just to help you. No, seriously, I want to help you...

Give Me Your Yarn! lol!

Thanks for stopping by, and for your support of my knitting habit. Knit in Good Health, and please drop off some pretty yarn at my house!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Altitude

It has been a busy week for the Pretties! Sweetie has continued to heal, and even though we had a couple of "speed bumps" during his recovery (post-surgery infection related), overall we are calling the last week a big win! You see, while the cats were blogging last Saturday, we were here:

Well, we may not have been right there at that moment, but my dear Mork has moved his family (or, rather, the US Army has moved his family) to the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains. At first blush, this made me sad, as the visits now involve airline travel and more miles than ever before. I believe this is as far as these cuties have ever lived from us...boo!

On the other hand, our visits will be longer, and there is so much to see while we are there! I mean, there is a MOUNTAIN in their back yard!

Actually, this whole place is just awe-inspiring! There are mountains everywhere you look, you cannot go outside without being struck nearly dumb at the majesty of creation...even coming out of the grocery store, or walking in Manitou Springs!

And then, one day you go and actually visit one (or more) of the mountains in person...our first mountain visit was to Garden of the Gods.

Not only is there a great view from the visitor center, but you can get up close and personal with the rocks here! Although Sweet Pea slept, and Mommy ended up staying in the car with her for much of our visit there, eventually we were all able to walk right up to (and climb on) some of those red rocks, it was amazing!

Then, as if the 6000 ft they live at were not impressive enough, we ended up driving up Pike's Peak another day. Stopping along the way to admire the view,

climb some more rocks,

and sometimes just catch our breath from those hairpin turns! 

The peak of this beauty is over 14,000 ft, which makes for some thin air, and a little bit of dizzy for the Ohioans...

But wow! What a view! God is sure good, and there is such perspective on his creation here. 

I will never read the old testament references to mountains in the same way after this trip! The whole earth, including the mountains, was covered with a flood. Moses went up the mountain to retrieve God's commandments...twice! I went up the mountain only once, by car, and I cannot imagine the journey on foot! Side note: when you reach 14,115 ft, sometimes the snacks you have packed for the ride just open themselves! lol!

All in all, we had a lovely trip! I got to wear my matching "Ninnie pants" with the girls, 

and there was knitting (Mindy, Peanut and I even talked the boys into stopping at a local yarn store for some souvenir yarns!!!).

Although they are no longer a simple car ride visit away, I am glad that my boy and his family have been called to this place for the next few years. I cannot wait to see more of the adventures they embark upon, and Sweetie and I are super excited for our next trip.

God is good, and there is no doubt in my mind about that, especially after seeing his creation up close and personal in the mountains! How has God been good to you this week?

As always, thanks for stopping by friends, and Knit in Good Health!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

People and Cats

Sooo, it's been awhile, and the cats have been begging me to let them blog again. I never really know how this is going to go, hence this disclaimer...

The following are not necessarily the opinions of the blogger, but those of her feline companions. If you disagree, please do not leave rude comments. Rather, remember that these are cats, and cats are...well, cats! In any case, if you have opposable thumbs, please thank your lucky stars and be kind. Thank you.

Black Cat: Are you insinuating that we are rude?

White Cat: Insinuating? C'mon...she just pretty much said it outright...

Black Cat: We are not that bad...

White Cat: No, we are not. People are stupid.

Black Cat: No! No! People pet us! They are good!

White Cat: Stupid, stupid, stupid! Haven't you seen the news? Stupid stupid-heads!

Black Cat: Ummmm, I do not really watch news? I mean, that stupid-box is always saying something, but it's not like that's "news," right?!?

White Cat (smacks forehead with front paw): Mroowwww! You, my feline friend, are a meow-ron. You might as well be a people!

Black Cat: Thanks. Why are they so stupid?

White Cat: Nobody knows, but they are. They are only good for filling the food bowl and scooping our poop. Hahahahaha!!! They clean up our poop! Stupids!

Black Cat: They are good for petting us, too. Remember what the pretty one did yesterday? She petted my head so gentle...it made me purrrrrrrrr!

White Cat: Well, they are good for that...

Black Cat: They are. And the yarns! I loves the yarns!

White Cat: The yarns are not ours. She yells when we play with the yarns.

Black Cat: Yes, but they are still fun! We would not have fun yarns without the Pretty!

White Cat: Word.

Black Cat: Are they still stupid?

White Cat: Yes. But if they have yarn, I guess we can keep them.

Black Cat (sighs contentedly): I am glad we can keep our peoples.

White Cat: Yes, but when these peoples are "gone," we will not get another people...deal?

Black Cat: Word.

Well, that was...ummmm...interesting. I guess they have a point. Looking around, people do some stupid and senseless things. From this day forward, will you join with me in doing our best to make this world a kinder, gentler place?  It is true that one person cannot change the whole world, but if you can make the world better for one person today, you will have accomplished a great thing. Please be kind and love one another.

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Howling at the Moon

Last week, I blogged about a rogue appendix. Since then, we have taken another trip to the ER to address a post-op infection, and we have spent the past week waiting for himself to feel just a little bit better at least. I think, as of yesterday, he has finally turned that corner! I am happy to report that his fever is gone, and his pain management is down to OTC medications. Of course, he is not quite howling at the moon yet!

To celebrate, I have started knitting in color. First a baby sweater, with a sweet rose pattern at the hem, knit in a cotton/linen blend. It has not been blocked or buttoned yet, but here's a picture anyway. I really like how it turned out!

Next up was double the fun...I started a double-knit scarf for Peanut, in her school colors. (Shhhh! It's a surpise!) The school mascot is a wolf, so I found a pattern for a colorwork wolf howling at the moon, and took off with it! As Peanut says, "You mess with the wolf, you get the howl!" 

Today is going to be a good day, I can feel it! I hope that your day is good too, and that you get in a good howl at the moon before October hits tomorrow!

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

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!