Friday, August 29, 2014

Reach...

It's Five Minute Friday! A weekly flashmob of bloggers, joining together to write for five minutes (no stopping, no editing!) on a prompt provided by sweet Kate, then linking up and sharing a little comment love. For posts, for info, and/or to join in, head here!


Reach. It can be the attainment of a goal or destination. It can be an extended invitation of community, by word or by touch. And it's always a bridge, spanning the point of where you are to where you want to be.

We often apply it tangibly - accomplishing goals, meeting deadlines, exceeding expectations - whenever it has an obvious result (a project completed, a raise earned). Building a visible bridge in the form of a bigger house, a newer car, a published manuscript, a finished masterpiece - something that speaks for itself.

But what of the intangible? How often do we reach for the stars - not from a desire to take their brightness to embellish our own glory, but as an act of worship to a glorious Creator? Why do we struggle to reach out, with both a literal open hand and with an open heart, toward those in need of comfort?

There's nothing wrong with reaching toward something we can see --- the accomplishments of our predecessors and contemporaries in literature, technology, art, business, and science provide necessary tools and inspiration for the construction of our own bridges. But stepping off the uncompleted edge, empty hands extended to accept the unknown, and trusting God to fill our hands and be the solid ground beneath our feet, is a leap of faith that I, at least, need to take more often.

What are you reaching for?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Deep Breath

This week's gifts...
794. "Cloudy" yarn for Knit the Sky
795. and time to catch up (from being 52 days behind)
796. Happy orange gerbera daisies
797. An actually uplifting hair appointment
798. Extremely messy, but delicious, ice cream from Loblolly with Mum
799. who drove down from Fayetteville for the day, so I could get a haircut and to help move furniture
800! One more day 'til Adam's home
801. The apple fritter Mum got me at Dempsey Bakery yesterday - a perfect Sunday breakfast
802. Naps for Brooklyn and I - someone thought we should get up early, and it wasn't me
803. Unbroken piecrust (not that last week's shortcake wasn't great, but two quiches are nice, too)
804. Walking to the mailbox with Brooklyn. She carried the keys!
805. The way she sits down and applauds her own attempts at walking (I clap too, of course!)
806. Adam finally home, and off through the end of the month (plus the holiday weekend - that's almost a whole week!)
807. Dairy Queen adventures and catching-up
808. Not having to carry groceries and Brooklyn up the stairs by myself
809. Usable Tropical Smoothie Cafe coupons in the weekly sale flyer - usually there are fastfood and pizza coupons that we can't eat
810. Showing Brooklyn the big fish in the fish tank at Bass Pro Shop
811. Adam's cooking - it has been sorely missed these past three weeks
812. A good check-up (aside from Brooklyn having a meltdown over me having an ultrasound - not really sure why that was upsetting, but she was extra sweet and snuggly after)
813. Adam having a lunch meeting while Brooklyn napped, so I could write a little
814. Military leave - paid and respected (aka, they actually leave him alone!)


"Mummy, Mummy! Daddy's home! And clipping my fingernails! Isn't it magical?!"

Time passed (as it always does) necessary classes and exercises were also passed, and Adam is finally home. This was the longest we've been apart since we got married - even with a 4 week long Annual Training last Spring, things kept happening and we got to see each other throughout so it didn't feel as long.

We're not quite back into the regular swing of things - he doesn't have to go back to work until Tuesday - but he's been learning the new facets of Brooklyn's routine, applauding her increasingly successful attempts at walking, and was duly impressed with her ability to (mostly) feed herself dinner (sometimes she forgets that you have to chew and just tries to swallow whole bites - we're working on that). And doing random not-normal things like adventures to Dairy Queen or going to Bass Pro to look at hunting gear (him), kayaks (me), and camping gear (both of us), and to show Brooklyn the fish (fascinating, but she thought the stuffed bear was more interesting).

I'm grateful for the extra time - it seems like he always leaves for schools and things after having had to work through the weekend, and life is extra-hectic just before he leaves and right after he gets back (and then as soon as it starts to settle down, then another wave of busyness descends). So even though it's for military reasons that he keeps getting called away, I'm also grateful for military leave that accumulates systematically, and for coworkers and superiors that actually respect leave and don't make him come in (or call more than they have to) when he's off. It's nice to have a pause before Normal Life starts back up again!



The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness! The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will trust in Him.
[Lamentations 3:22-24]

Won't you join us in counting (and recounting!) His mercies anew? Just grab a journal or notebook (it doesn't have to be fancy) and a pen and write them down, then join us each week to encourage each other by sharing all of the blessings we've spotted. Catch up on everyone's posts and if you don't have a blog, feel free to participate by commenting, instead!

Check out these #NewEveryMorning hosts, as well, and don't forget to use the hashtag on Twitter so that we can find each other:
   Kayla [at] Renown and Crowned
   Kelsey [at] Faith Fun and the Fergusons

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The End It Project: a TED Talk

It's End It Day! On the 27th of every month, I try to write a post highlighting modern slavery, along with practical application for companies that we can support that aren't supporting slave-made products. This month, a TED talk from four years ago, with some still-relevant information on modern slavery.


Are we willing to live in a world with slavery? And if we cannot use our intellectual, political, and economic power to end slavery, are we truly free?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Identity and Community

It's the last link-up of #fmfpartysnailmail round three! This week we're joining Kaitlyn Bouchillon to write about community. For more posts, head here.



I've written (and talked) before about my love of the knitting community. The way that a group of people with only that one thing in common can come together and enjoy each others' company is a beautiful thing. In part, I think that it works so well because they're able to lay aside their differences and focus on commonality through their craft - but at the same time, knitting isn't most of these people's identity. They remain a student, an engineer, a mom, a nurse, a counselor,  a lawyer, a mailcarrier, a school teacher... whatever they are outside of knitting is still a part of them, and that's how they're able to accept advice, help, and even constructive criticism without becoming upset, defensive, or frustrated. They have not become their knitting.

Unfortunately, this is not a quality that I've found often in the wife-and-mommy world. Obsessions form and sides are chosen, and opinions touted as undeniable facts are hurled across the internet when any variance is discovered, because the perceived insult is taken as deeply personal - not just a comment about a different way that something could be approached, but an attack on very identity. To some extent, it's even worse among church-goers, because they have Scripture that can be twisted into a weapon and wielded against anyone who does the wife-and-mommy thing differently than they are. A friend and fellow blogger has been writing a series on these "polarizing" points - today's post struck me especially, as she presented multiple perspectives along with a plea for unity and grace toward others.

When our identity is found anywhere but in Christ, community begins to break down. Finding our identity in lesser things sets up an automatic us-versus-them mentality, so we form groups based on shared identity - but because we're all individually unique, any circle formed around a temporal interest will begin to break down as differences are discovered. Only in Christ can we maintain unity and find true community as our primary directive to "love one another" supersedes all other differences.

So I am a woman that is married and has a child, that enjoys reading and writing and knitting and crafting, that eats gluten free, as organically as possible, and mostly without dairy, that prefers shopping local and is passionate about doing something about slavery (of every sort) --- but if anything on that list becomes Who I Am instead of What I Do, then I have enslaved myself and will forever be searching for peace, fulfillment, and lasting happiness in things that were not designed to provide any of those.

"For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery... do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another." --- Galatians 5:1, 13b

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Last Minute


The waiting is almost over --- Adam is coming home tomorrow! > Insert happy-happy-joy-joy dance here < As badly as the last week dragged, the past few days have been fairly busy, trying to get everything finished so I won't have projects distracting me once he gets home (because, sweet guy that he is, he took leave through the end of the month).


I had a haircut appointment on Saturday, and rather than having to reschedule, Mum obligingly came up for the day. (A side note: I view haircuts as a necessary evil, but this time was different. The stylist was excited about how well it had grown out - if I knew what I was eating that makes my hair grow half an inch in 8 weeks, I would stop - and with what I'd done with it, and even honored my desire to not use product or blowdry it. Jamie at Swank. She's awesome.) While Mum was here, we ate lunch at Dempsey Bakery (so that she could have a delicious meal out without worrying about gluten) - Brooklyn thoroughly enjoyed every last bite of a gf/df apple spice cookie, but Mum and I went to Loblolly Creamery for gf ice cream cones as our dessert (they melted everywhere but tasted really good).


While Brooklyn napped, we moved furniture. There used to be a dresser on the wall to the left of the above picture - it's in Brooklyn's room now, and her dresser is going to be Sprout's. I'm kind of enjoying this shopping-your-home thing --- and I was pleasantly surprised by how well the shelves fit into our bedroom. I was kind of envisioning having things randomly poked in places they didn't fit into well, but the new arrangement is actually better. There's enough space between the bed and the wall to get dressed without hitting your knee on the dresser, and I think I could probably manage a yoga routine there, too, but I haven't tested that one yet - and we didn't have to move the bed any; it was already in the perfect spot.



By dint of a string of Jane Austen movies, I've also gotten completely caught up on Knit the Sky and my Line-a-Day journal, and finished transferring my 1000 Gifts list over to my journal (I'd been just typing them up for ...awhile... but there is some sort of catharsis in handwriting them that doesn't happen on a screen). I also put away all of the clean clothes that I'd been collecting on my dresser, and put together a couple more bags of donations. I think I've also smooshed all of the mosquitoes that our apartment somehow became infested with (they only showed themselves one or two at a time, so I'll kill those and then think I was safe - until I woke up the next morning with new bites).


So all of my goals for the month have been met and exceeded, and the bulk of getting Sprout's room ready is finished. There are few things left to do there, but they can be completed next month and then I get to start on the fun art-project part. And I still have my giant knitted triangle to work on - but I'll probably be working on that until it's cool enough to wear it. Adam should get home tomorrow afternoon sometime --- and I can't wait!

How do you occupy the time while you wait for something (or someone)?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Change...

It's Five Minute Friday! A weekly flashmob of bloggers, joining together to write for five minutes (no stopping, no editing) on a prompt provided by sweet Kate, then linking up and sharing a little comment love. Head here for more info, more posts, and/or to join in!


Be the change you wish to see in the world. I've heard it mocked (because of its source) and I've heard it held up as profound --- and, especially after the events, here in the US as well as globally, over the past week or so, I'm settling more on the side of it being profound.

Imagine with me, if we would take the "golden rule" and instead of reversing it into a karmic warning about not behaving badly toward others, we would apply it literally. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. That's a little different. That takes me from being a generally polite person who uses her turn signal, doesn't cut in lines, and has a reasonable idea of what she wants when it's her turn to order, to actually having to love others - even (and especially) when they're not being particularly lovable.

Because that's how I would like to be treated. On a selfish human level, I want to be loved no matter what. Even when I'm tired. discouraged. cranky. depressed. sick. unreasonable. I still want to be loved. And that's what Jesus does - how He captivated me to begin with. By loving me without cause. And then because in His infinite grace He loved me without asking for anything from me first, I couldn't help but love Him back.

And this is what He asks of me now: to love others as He has loved me. Without a desire for reward or return or commendation - just love. Even when that love is countered with selfishness and hatred and being taken advantage of - just love. Stand tall and bright, lit from within by a Love that cannot be quenched by all of the hatred the World throws at Him --- and in displaying the Better Way, you have become a redeeming step toward a return to His perfect Creation, the change that He wishes to see in a Fallen World.

How can you bring Love to a hate-filled world, right now, right where you are?

Fly and Crawl

The weekly reckoning...
773. Gluten free instant oatmeal - Brooklyn loves it!
774. Sitting and knitting and watching a movie - not something I do often
775. Getting Sprout's room as organized as it can get for this phase
776. That Brooklyn slept through the night
777. Happening to have the ingredients for a single serving of alfredo penne
778. The batteries I needed, on sale (almost half off!)
779. Brooklyn waking up with the firm belief that life is a magical adventure
780. Making it home from church (via the grocery store) before the storm hit
781. Spending the afternoon reading - and finishing my book in a bath after Brooklyn was asleep
782. Praying because I was out of meal ideas - and being given one, for which all necessary ingredients turned out to be on sale
783. Two handwritten letters to reply to
784. That Brooklyn's favorite part of pasta is the tomato chunks in the sauce
785. Talking to Adam in the middle of the day - he had a break between classes and used it to call (also, next Tuesday he'll be home!)
786. Finishing emptying my dresser - one task away from being ready to move furniture!
787. If : Equip - beginning Galatians!
788. Broken gluten-free piecrust and sale organic blackberries - sounds like shortcake to me!
789. Drive-up donating at Goodwill - it is so nice to not have to get Brooklyn out of the carseat and then try to carry her and things
790. Visible progress on my knitting project (two miles of yarn on small needles goes rather slowly...)
791. Adam praying for me via text
792. Non-fancy furniture - I can just wipe everything down with a wet cloth to clean it, no smelly chemical cleaners required!


793. That time moves on, even when it doesn't feel like it is

The first week that Adam was gone seemed to pass fairly quickly (sleep deprivation and all). We were here, we were in Fayetteville, we were back home - all the days were different and nothing was routine.

The second week he was gone I was energized and productive - moving furniture, organizing, reading books, planning a topic for that write-a-post-a-day-for-a-month thing that some people do in October. There was order and organization and it was beautiful.

This is the third week that he's been gone. Time's passage this week has felt more like a slow decay than flight - like our wall clock that's been stopped on 8:45 for over a month because I haven't gotten new batteries for it yet. I'm out of noticeable-progress projects to do, and my lovely system of keeping the kitchen clean has fallen to bits (along with the plate I broke). I've keeping things tidy-ish and spending my evenings knitting and watching Jane Austen movies. I am thoroughly ready to have him home (4 days and a wake-up... 4 days and a wake-up!)

But no matter how slowly the minutes seem to tick by, each dawn faithfully breaks and each dusk faithfully falls. Sleep comes, and day returns, and God is faithful.

While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.
[Genesis 8:22]


The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness! The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will trust in Him.
[Lamentations 3:22-24]

Won't you join us in counting (and recounting!) His mercies anew? Just grab a journal or notebook (it doesn't have to be fancy) and a pen and write them down, then join us each week to encourage each other by sharing all of the blessings we've spotted. Catch up on everyone's posts and if you don't have a blog, feel free to participate by commenting, instead!

Check out these #NewEveryMorning hosts, as well, and don't forget to use the hashtag on Twitter so that we can find each other:
   Kayla [at] Renown and Crowned
   Kelsey [at] Faith Fun and the Fergusons