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Fingers and Toes, Hands and Feet

Two weeks old! It's been a busy few weeks - we've tried to spend as much time as possible at home (I like home - there's no time, no appearances, and no unsolicited advice) but we've ventured forth a few times, and as a result she has now met all of her great-grandparents (a grandma and a grandpa on Adam's side, two grandmas and two grandpas on mine). But she's starting to get a little more consistent in eating and sleeping times, and I'm (finally!) allowed to drive again, so we'll probably plan an adventure soon. I suspect it will involve knitting.

Not that I've gotten a whole lot of knitting done lately - she likes to have a hand to hold while she sleeps, and it's so darned cute that I let her. It just means that my activities are restricted to what I can do one handed while sitting still.

Reading, thankfully, is one of those. I've been working through this summer's Table Talk books, trying to keep up even though I haven't been to the meetings. This week's book is When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert, and I've gotten about halfway through it. It's inspiring and convicting thus far. They (for me, at least) redefined poverty: that because of the Fall, we are all experiencing poverty of being (god-complexes or low self-esteem), poverty of community (self-centeredness, exploitation/abuse of others), poverty of stewardship (loss of sense of purpose, laziness/workaholics, materialism), and poverty of spiritual intimacy (denying God's existence and authority, materialism, worshiping false gods/spirits). So, "Poverty is the result of relationships that do not work, that are not just, that are not harmonious or enjoyable. Poverty is the absence of shalom in all its meanings."

It reminded me of something that happened while I was leading the teen knitting club at the Library... An obviously pregnant high schooler came in, near the end of the meeting, wanting to learn how to make something for her baby. I condescendingly helped her get started, judging her in my heart as I did. But as I watched her struggle persistently through row after row, I was struck with conviction. I knew nothing about this girl - how dare I make assumptions about her and her life? Regardless of her circumstances, she had chosen to keep the child, thereby braving the flash judgements of everyone around her for the rest of her life, and what she needed in that moment was not my sweeping superiority but love and patient encouragement. So I stayed late, working with her until she had two squares about the same size, and showed her how to fold and sew them into a tiny pair of booties. She smiled as she balanced them gingerly on her palm, visibly pleased that she had been able to make something. I learned some things - about not making assumptions, about the value of being able to create with one's own two hands, about the importance of love and patience - things that I often forget and then have to re-remember.

When Helping Hurts addresses the materially wealthy's failing: assuming that material poverty is the fault of the impoverished and that throwing around some money and some stuff will fix their problems. But we're all broken, and in order for anything to be fixed we need to join together in a mutual journey toward repaired community. Instead of thinking that we alone are the hands and feet of Christ, we need to expand our hearts to invite those we would help to become a part of that same Body.


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31 Days of Unraveling Designs

It's that time of year again... the 31 Days writing challenge starts today! Bloggers from all over will be writing every day of the month of October on the topic of their choosing. This will be my fourth year participating - the first year I did 7 for 31, and spent a month going through Jen Hatmaker's book 7. The second year I did 31 Days of Sustainable Dwelling, and wrote about local and fair trade living. Last year I was busy but still wanted to participate, so I went the easy route with 31 Days of Everyday Beautiful.

This year I'm diving into my greatest passion: knitting! I'll spend this month looking at past designs and talking about the inspiration behind them, so there will be plenty of regular life mixed in with the stitching - and there may be discount codes for the patterns that I write about. You'll just have to read and see!

Pattern index:

Pageturner Mitts
Hogwarts House Tie
Urban Artemis
Graffiti for Humanity
Love Out Loud
Strange Jacket


In order to change your knitting, you must first change yourself. I've lost track of how many times I've said that, or how many people I've said it to. Frustrated new knitters wondering why their work is loose or tight or uneven or really anything less than perfect. But something I love about knitting is that it's a record of your inner dialogue. That swatch knit at the yarn store table with a cozy cup of coffee and a helpful (and more experienced) knitter nearby is going to be a lot more relaxed than the sweater begun a week later while sitting next to a hospital bed - just like the knitter.

Unfortunately, this also applies to my own knitting. For years, I was apparently unaffected by the shifts and turmoils in my own life, so I assumed that I was exempt from the rule - when the reality was, in fact, that I wasn't really experiencing any of those on anything deeper than a surface level because everything was deadened by depression. When I finally started to really…


A few years ago, I was introduced to the concept of replacing the traditional list of resolutions with a single word. It appealed to me - I am not a big list person, but I love language and words and meanings and etymology and metaphor and... ahem. Ennyhoo. I liked the idea.
I've never chosen the word. It's always presented itself to me - and last year was no different. Pacific was very insistent, even though I tried to argue with it. Pacific? What does that even mean? What am I supposed to do with that?
But I accepted it, and I'm glad I did. I learned about depth and calm, about storm and nurture, about faith and adventure - and about the unstoppable ocean of God's grace, that overwhelms to fill and cleanse and bring blessings unasked.
So I'm bidding pacific a very fond farewell, and welcoming spark and whatever lessons it would like to bring. I invited it in with a copper wire punctuated with tiny lights and wrapped around my mood board, and I've got an empt…