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Growing Hope

Last year, I tried to grow sedum (twice. Once from seeds and once from an established plant) and managed to kill both of them (which is a feat, considering its hardy desert nature). The year before that, I forgot about my Forget-Me-Nots shortly after they sprouted. But the year before that, Mum gave me an amaryllis bulb which grew to a tremendous height and bloomed gloriously. She gave me another one this year - when I opened up the box, it already had a tentative shoot, so I'm hoping this one will flourish, as well (no thanks to my black thumb. "Water as necessary" is so vague - I do better with things that let me know when they're hungry).

Like Brooklyn. She goes in the kitchen and stands in front of her cabinet and says, "gack!" very emphatically when she feels like it's snack time. She's been spending a little extra time in the kitchen the past few days... I moved her shape magnets to the dishwasher (love that all of our appliances are magnetic!) and stuck a nativity on the fridge, and she can't leave it alone (this is why we don't have a tree). She likes the angel because it's blue, and she carried Mary around for half an hour yesterday morning saying, "Mama!" over and over - it was also funny to her that I said Mary rode on a donkey because they didn't have cars.

I'm not sure how much of it she understands at this point, but that's not stopping me from sharing our traditions and rituals and starting new ones. We've been doing Advent readings over breakfast - I got a lovely ebook from a blogger I found through Five Minute Friday/31 Days that we're going through, and put together my own wreath of light with a votive holder filled with rice and some tiny pretty handmade candles. She likes watching the candle burn - but she likes best the blowing it out after and watching the smoke curl up from the blackened wick.

This week's focus is new beginnings and the hope we have in God's promises (specifically, in providing a Savior, but really all of His promises tie back into that one). I got to share my favorite tale of hope and new beginnings with Fellowship North today - you'll find that here.

Like last year, we're approaching this holiday with a lot of uncertainty about the future - but I'm trying to wait with open hands and an expectant heart, sipping hope like cocoa and letting it warm me from the inside out.

Giving and gratitude both make waiting more endurable --- this Giving Tuesday, let's be grateful for the gifts we're given and find someone to help in a tangible way!


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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…