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After a good but busy weekend (and a good but busy month doing 31 Days), Brooklyn and I are taking the day off from lists and errands and staying home. There will be plenty to do tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that, to prepare for a roadtrip the day after that, but today there is nothing that has to be done (except my laundry, as I'm on the verge of a Situation in terms of underwear supply and my only clean pants are a pair of orange plaid flannel PJs).

After everything that I learned from doing 7 for 31, I didn't want to just go back to being how I was before --- so I chose a one-word focus that I'm going to apply to at least the next few months (possibly more): simplify. "Simplify what?" (I do better with vague verbs than detailed lists, myself). Everything. We make things so much more complicated, more involved, and just plain more than they need to be. And as a result, we're exhausted, distracted, and stressed - completely unnecessarily.

An example of simplify in action: on Saturday, Adam's parents spent the morning at our apartment with Brooklyn so that Adam and I could have a few hours of just-us-together. My tendency would normally be to try to stuff as much productivity and relational bonding into that few hours as possible, infused with a sense of near-desperation that would most likely ensure that it would not be an enjoyable experience for either of us.

But instead, we had coffee at a local cafe. Just sitting, and talking about various things, and sipping our hot drinks, for a couple of hours. And it was deeply refreshing. Sometimes it's nice to just be. I forget that...

I think the simplicity is part of what makes my lunchtime quiet time so restorative - a quick, uncomplicated, satisfying meal and as much time as I have available (be that 15 minutes or an hour) without a list or much of an agenda. For the month of November, I have added one thing to the praying/reading that's a part of that... Ann Voskamp issued a challenge to count 1000 gifts in 30 days. So I'm taking a midday pause to start counting for the day (I'm no good at writing as I go) and then finishing up in the evening.

We'll be doing some traveling this month, and I get to teach a knitting class at church, and Sprout's room still isn't quite ready, but stressing takes all of the joy out of things, so I'm trying to remember to read between the lines on my own to-do lists, and find the rest that lies in the empty spaces between tasks.

Heading into a busy holiday season, how can you find moments to pause in your own life?


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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…