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'Tis the season for doing cozy things. I had fun with my knitting class at church on Saturday, and I think everyone else did, as well. There was a range of skill levels and I was yet again deeply grateful for the irresistible urge that causes people who already know how to knit to jump in and help the newbies - I wouldn't have been able to manage so many people otherwise (I think there were about 18 - I never even stopped to count - ranging in age from middle schoolers to grandmas). No one did horribly (not that people do, usually, but there are people in the world that are not meant to knit), a couple of people did amazingly, and I'm looking forward to this week's follow-up class.

Along with putting Pentatonix' new Christmas album on repeat (I highly recommend it, if you're in need of new Christmas music - their take on Mary Did You Know is stunning. Also, who knew an a capella version of the Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies was possible?) I've been drinking ridiculous amounts of Hot Vanilla. Mum happened onto the recipe when I was a kid (she doesn't eat chocolate, so she'd drink it instead of cocoa), and I've loved it since (Little Rock locals, a Cafe con Miel from Mugs, or for Fayetteville residents an Onyx Delight from Onyx is the same thing but with a shot of espresso in it, which never hurt anything). The dairy-free version is especially nice when you have a sore throat, and made with any kind of milk it's lovely before bed.

Fill your mug of choice with milk (any kind will do - I've been using So Delicious vanilla coconut milk) and heat, either in a pot on the stove or in the microwave (1.5 to 2.5 minutes). Add honey to taste (I like a couple of spoonfuls), a splash of vanilla extract (unless you use vanilla coconut or almond milk, in which case it's plenty vanilla-y), and top with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

I finished Brooklyn's legwarmers yesterday (just in time - she had a growth spurt and most of her pants are too short now) and got started on a pair for myself, with some yarn I got at Handheld last time we visited Fayetteville. The yarn is a delight to work with, and it's working up beautifully (no awkward striping or pooling) and I'm looking forward to being able to wear them. I'll post the pattern as soon as they're finished and photographed.

Which may not take very long. This morning I got over an inch done on them, between sitting in the waiting room for my ob/gyn appointment and the subsequent 20 minutes of monitoring. Sprout's a bit small (for no readily apparent reason), so I'm going to have twice-weekly visits for the foreseeable future. Laying on my back knitting and listening to Sprout's heartbeat isn't a bad way to spend half an hour, and stressing will only make it worse so I might as well focus on the good in the situation.

And there's plenty of good to focus on. The reading plan our church put out at the beginning of this sermon series is currently in Proverbs and Romans, and while catching up a few days ago I came across this in Proverbs (12:21) - No ills befall the righteous, but the wicked are filled with trouble. It derailed me, since ills do befall the righteous, but then I remembered Ann Voskamp talking about how everything is a gift, and realized that that statement is true because it's a matter of attitude. I've still struggled to come up with 33 gifts a few days this month, but it's becoming more of habit/lifestyle. Gratitude is kind of like dieting... if you set an end number at which point you can go back to how you were before, then it's not going to do any lasting good. And only being grateful for the month of November won't cause me to be in-my-heart grateful if I switch back to being entitled on the first of December.

While I was inventorying the fridge and cabinets in order to make an updated grocery list, I was amazed to realize that Thanksgiving is next week and I need to get pumpkin pie fixin's the next time I'm at the store (that's my contribution - we're hopefully spending the holiday at my parents'). Wish me luck - I've never made pumpkin pie before, but Adam requested it and the recipe his mom gave me at least looks doable!

Prayers for Sprout would be appreciated (horror stories would not, thanks though). 
Also, do you travel to spend Thanksgiving with family (extended or otherwise) or open your own home to host friends and relations?


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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…