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Merry and Bright

Twenty-eight weeks old on Christmas Day! My family draws names (and then fudges, on names and costs and quantities), but my cousin Brooke drew Brooklyn and found her the perfect thing - a toy shopping bag filled with chewie produce. It struck me as being a good toy for car trips...

...which we had one of on Monday, to go apartment scouting. We found a complex that we like, where some friends of ours already live, and they're a bit more "grown up" than the college-oriented (but wonderful! we've had a great experience at Woodway) complex we live in now.

Alarmingly, this is what the storage unit looked like that day, (hopefully) a week before we move. O_o There are a few things in there now, but not as much I'd like. Adam has started packing a bit, as well, now that he's in the space between finishing one job and starting another, so it should start to move (haha! ha... the exhaustion is affecting my sense of humor...) more quickly now.

Brooklyn has been highly fascinated by the packing process, and has "helped" by inspecting boxes, hiding tape (notice, behind her back, as she leans forward), and trying to unpack anything packed that she can reach. At least at this point a move will probably be more of an adventure than a traumatic thing. She likes change.

Music has been my slim tether to sanity, with everything that's been going on. Between packing --- and Christmas --- and Adam being gone at work --- and Adam being at home (which presents its own set of challenges) --- and Brooklyn's continued refusal to sleep through the night --- and the now-single-digit on my mental countdown clock, I've been alternating between a worship playlist and a mournfully pounding Pentatonix single on repeat.

I packed most of our board games already, but we received a few more as gifts, including a new Monopoly (out with the iron, in with the cat!) and Battleship. It was enjoyable to play an entire game without running out of pegs (the version we had when I was a kid was second-hand and missing a lot of them. You had to play well and win quickly.)

We've enjoyed introducing Brooklyn to our traditions - she's a bit small for the games yet, but she was enamored with my grandparents' church's Advent candle-lighting service. She wanted to help with the candle holding, but was reasonable enough when told she couldn't. I'm looking forward to when she's old enough to share not only the actions, but also the reasons, with.

Christmas is a time when we give gifts, forgetting the One who gave us Himself, or, if we remember, we leave Him safely as a baby in a manger, forgetting that it was only the beginning of His earthly journey --- a star in the East led the wise men to the Promised King, but it led that King to a cross. Christmas without Easter is a time without hope or cause for rejoicing - but together, what a glorious thing!

   64. Strong arms to hold me.
   65. A strong heart that loves me, but loves God more
   66. and a strong promise to walk our path together until we reach the River where all paths end.
   67. Friends who value the handwritten over the digital.
   68. Gratitude that makes me grateful.
   69. Sisters, near and far, who are well worth staying in touch with.
   70. Time spent with my Bear.
   71. People we trust to take care of Brooklyn so we can have a date night.
   72. Music that expresses just as much as words or images.
   73. Small country churches.
   74. A community we'll be sad to leave
   75. but glad to revisit.
   76. A car trip with Adam and Brooklyn.
   77. Preexisting community in Little Rock.
   78. Washers and dryers!
   79. Interstates that makes it easier for out-of-state family to visit.
   80. Family that we actually want to visit.
   81. Watching people, especially young ones, grow and mature and change.
   82. Stars --- and one in particular.
   83. Rest after a long day.
   84. Traditions that are worth passing on.

I leave you with a heart-felt wish, borrowed from a local paperie: merry everything, and happy always!

How will you keep the "Christmas spirit" alive in your heart and home in the new year?


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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
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