Thursday, July 21, 2016

Help...


I am terrible at asking for help. Alright, I was all for calling a rooting service this morning when our main line backed up (again), but that's something I have zero experience or expertise in. But last night when, on the way to church, I spotted a beautiful log on the side of road that was begging to be brought home and made into a seat (the tree was a casualty from a recent storm), I cheerfully told the man who stopped and offered assistance that I "had it." (Retrospectively, after struggling to get it into the front seat of my car - I think it weighs as much as I do - and being spotted by at least one person from church, I regretted not taking him up on his offer, but I did manage it finally).

Even worse is asking for help with an emotional problem. I keep it together for as long as I can, slowly devolving into a greater curmudgeon than usual, all the while wondering why no one is offering me a hug. I mean, can't they tell what's wrong?!

But one day last week I was dragged on a hormone-driven roller coaster through the five stages of grief (with extra long loops of Anger and Depression) and no amount of logic or attempted compartmentalizing would make it go away. I gritted my teeth through what turned out to be a long and exhausting day, checking every initial response and replacing it with a more reasonable one, and apologizing a lot.

So I texted Adam before he got home, trying to prepare him for what might meet him at the door, and requested extra grace and perhaps chocolate. He turned up with a smile and an armful of thoughtful gifts (including chocolate), and I realized something: maybe no one actually knows that something is wrong if I don't tell them. Maybe people are more willing to help than I think they are, they're just waiting to be told what they can do. Sometimes my problems can be solved with a cup of chocolate sorbet (with rainbow sprinkles!) from our favorite soda fountain - and sometimes, I get by with a little help from my friends.*

*This is the conclusion I draw when I listen to the Beatles while writing
It's Five Minute Friday! Each week a flashmob of bloggers, internet wide, gather to write for five minutes (no stopping, no editing) on a prompt provided by sweet Kate, then link up and share a little comment love. For more info, more posts, and/or to join in, head here!

Green and Growing


I'll be honest: I don't really like dirt. Plants and growing-things is cool, but once sweat, pesky bugs, weeds, and hoeing start happening, I lose interest. I tried to circumvent this once by creating a hydroponic ecosystem, but it was less than successful (note: a kiddie pool is shallow enough for roving raccoons to easily catch any fish you may have in it. Rest in peace, Hans, Mar and Nicolo).

But Fairy Farm needs to cultivate more than wonder - I'd like there to be some literal growing-of-things, as well. I want Brooklyn and Tobin to know where their food comes from, and I'd like some of it to come from our back yard. We got a start at early cultivation last week at our Whole Foods' "kid's club." The topic happened to be summer planting, so they read a story about a girl who grew too many zucchini and created a neighborhood produce swap, then a lady from a local garden center talked about propagating plants, and as a demonstration she cut up an airplane plant and sent each kid home with one. Brooklyn has been tending it with adorable enthusiasm. It sits on the kitchen table, and every morning she pokes the dirt with her finger to see if it needs water (which she delights in administering), and it's a recurring conversation topic during meals.


Inspired, my weekend project was painting our dining room window frame green, then selecting a plant and a pot to adorn it with. I hoped it would be high enough up that Brooklyn and Tobin wouldn't mess with it, and that's been somewhat true. Tobin is fascinated by it, stroking the leaves and offering it drinks of water from his water bottle. Nymphadora the dracaena (yes, I named it) is, so far, unoffended by his attentions.

Next I'd like to paint the living room window frame purple and put a plant in it... perhaps Bellatrix the snake plant? I've already scouted for pots, and it's going to be hard to choose - there seem to be an exceptional number of exceptional blue pottery glazes!


More in my area of expertise, I finally finished the curtains for the front door that I started on two months ago. They were practically done, but I had decided to hang them on binder rings and needed to visit a shop in Fayetteville to get them individually in the right size. Mum (who knows the pain of a nearly finished project) sweetly sent them to me, so I was able to get them up. They brighten that wall nicely, and effectively block most of the light that comes in from the street light on the corner (and falls right across the face of anyone trying to sleep on the fold-out couch).

I had scouted the perfect color of yarn for a curtain for the kitchen window, but they only had it in a "mini" skein so there wasn't enough. But Kandy, the owner of the shop, called me a few days ago to let me know that she'd gotten more in and had ordered some of that color on purpose, and would hold it for me to come look at (with no obligation to buy it). I'm planning on going to get it next week, and I've spotted the perfect stitch pattern for it in a new book from the library...


But first, I want to finish this. Six years ago, with no money, Elizabeth Zimmerman's "pi shawl" pattern, and some leftover sock yarn, I started a circular blanket. I've worked on it off and on (mostly off), sometimes stopping because I was out of yarn, or bored, or another project claimed my attention, but I am finally working on the border and the end is in sight. Must keep knitting, must keep knitting...

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

52 Lists Project: words that define your personality

For me, the best place for a fresh start or to begin a new project is on my birthday - the beginning of my year. So the year I was 21, I did a photo a day project (that ended up including an internship in Cleveland, meeting/dating my now-husband Adam, and going to New York to work for Vogue Knitting - so I'm retrospectively glad that I committed to documenting that particular year!), and the year I was 24, I knitted the sky (one row one a scarf each day in the color of the sky). So for 27, I'm doing lists. I'm going to roughly follow along with the book The 52 Lists Project.


A list of the words that define my personality


1. Introverted
2. Activist
3. Contemplative
4. Analytic
5. Idealist
6. Dreamer
7. Independent
8. Quiet
9. Loud
10. Determined
11. Passionate
12. Curious
13. In short, INTJ

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Create...


Naps were short today. Usually I can count on Tobin sleeping for at least a couple of hours, if not longer, and Brooklyn will generally play quietly in her room for about that long, but today neither of them was having it. So after an hour I called it quits and packed everyone into the car to go hunt down some peace, since our supply had run low.

I got Brooklyn a lime slush at Sonic (strange 3 year old that she is, she likes limes, and I like that it's made out of actual fruit and isn't dyed an unnatural color) and I cashed in a free drink at Starbucks, and we all drove to the best (and also furthest away) garden center to do some scouting.

We've been to Good Earth for food truck rallies, but I hadn't ever been further than their parking lot, so we weren't quite prepared for the wonderland that met us. For one thing, they have a monkey (or is it a marmoset?). Like, a real one. They have terrariums and plants to put in them and ceramic mushrooms that bring joy to my fairy heart. There are greenhouses and gardens and plants and pots and helpful people who don't mind answering ignorant questions.

Somewhere between finding the same kind of hostas that are in our front landscaping and reading the label to confirm my suspicion that they're in entirely the wrong place, and stopping to stare at the koi who were as big as Tobin, we all found that peace I was looking for. I'm a maker by nature - writing and crafting, and deriving all kinds of delight from those sorts of things. But the things I create are only a reflection of the Creator Himself - just like the calm those activities give me is only possible if it's founded in His peace. I may be inspired by tiny new "elephant ears" or lavish hanging baskets, but only He could make such a thing to begin with.
O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
 to still the enemy and the avenger.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
 the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him
Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under his feet,
all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

{Psalm 8}
It's Five Minute Friday! Each week a flashmob of bloggers gather, internet-wide, to write for five minutes (no stopping, no editing) on a prompt provided by sweet Kate, then link up and share a little comment love. For more info, more posts, and/or to join in, head here!

Out Loud


Underneath all of my introversion and how-ladies-behave training, there is a Loud Voice. It was pretty much my normal talking voice as a child (imagine all of Junie B Jones' dialogue in ALL CAPS) but it's become shy with the passage of time. Now it only comes out when I'm perfectly comfortable and confident.

Which sometimes means that the Loud Voice expresses itself at odd times, as on a recent Sunday morning when I switched from normal voice to Loud Voice mid-song. Loud Voice sounds like a completely different person - not only does she project sound more clearly, she has a solid octave of additional range and a better ability to hit to the right note and stay on it than regular voice does (sadly, Loud Voice has only sung in front of people once or twice, as contrasted with the many times that normal voice yawned and squeaked through song leading and solos at the small country church I grew up in).

As much as I would like to, this isn't something I can control - at least, not if I'm just focusing on my speaking volume. Because Loud Voice isn't just a voice - she's also more likely to honestly compliment another person, a more engaged conversationalist, a more thoughtful friend, a more creative artist... she is who I am when I'm being me, and not just a manufactured version of myself.

Sometimes we think (usually because someone has told us so) that we are "too much," so we dial back whatever-it-is that we are until we become a different person entirely, maybe even without realizing it. But we can't "do [the] good works which God prepared in advance for us to do" if we're busy painting over the masterpiece He created when He made each of us.*

This world needs more Loud, to speak up against injustice. It needs more Bold, to invite and engage even when it's uncomfortable to do so. It needs more Vibrant, a banner of love to stand against the polluted skies. And it needs all of us, just as we are - loud, quiet, doers, givers, servers, makers, thinkers and everyone in between - to point to the extraordinary God who designed and loves us, every one.

*Ephesians 2:10 - "For we are God's masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

52 Lists Project: qualities you admire

For me, the best place for a fresh start or to begin a new project is on my birthday - the beginning of my year. So the year I was 21, I did a photo a day project (that ended up including an internship in Cleveland, meeting/dating my now-husband Adam, and going to New York to work for Vogue Knitting - so I'm retrospectively glad that I committed to documenting that particular year!), and the year I was 24, I knitted the sky (one row one a scarf each day in the color of the sky). So for 27, I'm doing lists. I'm going to roughly follow along with the book The 52 Lists Project.


A list of the qualities I admire most in others



1. Honesty
2. Dependability (accidentally put that one on there twice... guess it's pretty important to me!)
3. Intelligence
4. Resourcefulness
5. Optimism
6. Courage
7. Open-mindedness
8. Patience
9. Creativity
10. An appreciation for unconventional beauty
11. Straight-forwardness
12. Persistence
13. Consistency

Friday, July 8, 2016

Build...


So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In Him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. [Ephesians 2:19-22]

I am not a builder. I'm a maker and a co-creator, but building (in the carpentry sense) is not my forte. Do not hand me a board and a miter box unless you have lots of extra wood for me to cut at the wrong angle. I put up curtains last week, but that was anchored onto a framework constructed by someone with a skillset I definitely do not possess.

And, in a sense, that's how it's supposed to be. We literally can't all do the same thing - if we did, we'd starve in our nice houses (or succumb to any other imbalance caused by too much of a good thing). But I still try. I see someone else doing something great for God, and I want to do it, too; without stopping to recognize that it's not that we build anything good, but that He is building us into something greater than any individual can imagine.

So when I see the efforts of others and am tempted to shame my own, I envision the dwelling place of God - a living structure with floors and walls and windows and tables and art and food and all things beautiful and hospitable. And I know that I can follow His directions, without seeing the finished product or knowing my exact place in it, because in His love He's made a place there for me.

It's Five Minute Friday! Each week a flashmob of bloggers gather, internet wide, to write for five minutes (no stopping, no editing!) on a prompt provided by sweet Kate, then link up and share a little comment love. For more info, more posts, and/or to join in, head here!