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Surprised, Preapproved, and Getting Rid of Fluff

Mommy fashion! Let's talk about baby-commemorating jewelry. There are lots and lots of options - and many of them are expensive and/or impractical (I cannot believe that I am the only person whose child is bent on snapping the chain or putting tooth marks in the pendant of any necklace I try to wear). And if you do something that has a little charm or tag for each child, then what happens if you have another kid later and the matching addition is no longer available? (That's the sort of thing that would bug me.) So, my advice is: don't feel pressured. If it's not something that matters to you, then don't do it. Actually, let's just go ahead and apply that to all baby-related advice. For example, we don't have a "baby book" (I don't have time for that - my concession is a line-a-day journal, because there are admittedly moments that I will later appreciate having preserved) --- but because I love bracelets, I did choose to order one with Brooklyn's initial and birthstone from an Arkansas-local (actually, Little Rock-local) artist (Bella Vita, if you're interested - she's great to work with, and her pieces are lovely).

There's too much fluff in our lives. Between well-intentioned-but-impractical advice and unreasonable expectations, the already somewhat overwhelming quest to raise a Tiny Human in reasonable health and safety while also being concerned for their soul becomes depressingly impossible, and what's really important gets buried under a pile of Other Stuff. I crawled out of a tired haze to read Lisa-Jo Baker's new book Surprised By Motherhood last week, and it was a breath of fresh air. Not a how-to book (there are entirely too many of those, and none of the people writing them have my exact child so they end up being how-not-to books), but a me-too book. It was a refreshing, encouraging, and somewhat validating read - I think I've found my new go-to shower gift (along with a wee knitted hat, because every new babe needs a handknitted something).

The bit of knitting I began with the book ended yesterday in a jacket remake (just in time - two days ago, it was sunny and 75, but today it was 45 and raining sideways). I needed an End It Project-approved spring jacket for the cool rainy days (that was not my beloved white pleather moto jacket because Brooklyn tries to chew on it and her little teeth are sharp) so she and I went on a quest to Plato's Closet (see rule #5). I replaced the plastic "tortoise shell" buttons with stashed coconut shell ones (someone's flea marketed button jar would also hold lots of remake possibility), and the belt with simple netted-looking lace. It would have been nice to use actual vintage lace - however, the quickest way for me to achieve the same effect was to knit it myself. The finished piece is much more feminine and flattering than the original - overall, I'm pleased.

In the crafting category, as well, I also turned a printable into a sturdy bookmark. I roughly cut it out (because I have strong feelings about efficiency and it is not efficient to neatly cut something out twice - besides, doing it this way "seals" the edges better) and overlayed both sides, first with Washi tape, then with packaging tape, then cut it out along the actual edges.

Remember how I said that I was giving up staying up late for Lent? This is part of that (I've been sticking with that, by the way - going to bed when Adam goes to bed, and when he's not here going to bed before 11pm without having spent every minute prior frantically Doing Things), reading/journaling through Love Idol. Because we all have a God-sized hole in our hearts, but we industriously try to fill it with fluff - some other something that will give us the approval we crave, but is never quite enough... so as I read through the book, I'm working through my own "love idol" (that is, the specific area or areas in which I strive the most), giving it a name so that I can begin to conquer it. At this point, it's beginning to look like "being a Godly wife and mum" is my Scylla, and then "finding success in something-other-than-that" is my Charybdis, and I sink between the two. There are so many people and books and blogs who jump at the chance to explain (in long, detailed lists) what being a Wife and Mum should look like - except that (like those how-to books I mentioned earlier) none of them actually practically apply to my life but I end up feeling like I must be doing something wrong, then, if it doesn't apply (because if I don't take my list and coupons to the nearest budget grocery store on a scheduled day every week or two to gather supplies to stock our freezer with homemade casseroles, then I am failing at domesticity, stewardship, and, therefore, Christianity - oh, Scylla, your teeth are sharp!) I read through it once quickly, and now I'm going back through again, slowly - I'm just on chapter two this time, but I'll let you know if I make it through the strait once I get to the end.

Where is the fluff in your life, that buries you under unnecessary weight and hides what's really important? How do you battle it?


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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…