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It's Five Minute Friday! Bloggers internet-wide joining together to write for five minutes straight (no stopping or editing!) on a single prompt. Although the lovely Lisa-Jo is still hosting this week, the prompt and original post are by Seth Haines (huzzah!) Head here for more info, and to join in.

When I was six, "visit" was what we did with the elderly woman who lived across the street. She would come out on her porch to sit every afternoon, and we were expected to come and sit with her. When the weather was nice, I would play with the sycamore balls that her front yard was littered with while my Mum talked to her - when it wasn't, I would sit on a hard olive green leather ottoman in her living room and listen to her tell stories. She was from a bygone era, and though the world around her had changed, her opinions hadn't, so as we walked home I would be given a brief lecture that included a list of the words, terms, phrases, and expressions that I was not to repeat or make a part of my own vocabulary.

Then we switched churches and visited an older lady who had gone to our new church but was widowed and shut-in by that point. She and her sister had married two brothers, long ago, and still lived nearly across the street from each other. We would stop in to see them both, and I delighted their hearts by happily eating huge, jiggling chunks of persimmon puddin', a dessert staple in the small North Carolina town.

Where ever we lived, throughout my childhood, there was always a vintage couch, harking back to the 70s, the 60s, or sometime before, in a hot, knick-knack filled living room where we spent several hours every week. And I loved it. The conversations (if they could even be labelled such) that happened among people my own age were competitive and catty, full of boys and one-up-manship that I had no use for or interest in. But here I found living history, and worldviews that remembered a very different world. Some things have since changed for the better, but overall they held to a set of values and traditions the loss of which has made our culture a far less inviting one - after all, now we're more likely to meet in a neutral location than bring others into our homes. How many of us would be able (and willing) to prepare a hot meal for unexpected guests, in addition to feeding our own family? We live in an age of convenience and privacy.

My peers disdained anyone younger than them and idolized those a few years their senior, but fled from anyone who was truly worth looking up to, writing them off as boring or irrelevant. I loved the combination of formality and warm welcome that I found on those visits --- and it's a love that I hope to cultivate in my own little daughter, both the visiting of others and the inviting of others into our home and lives.

Apologies for my ramblings --- what does the word visit evoke in you?


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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…