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Be Still and Know

On Tuesdays I've been Practicing Pauses - last week, I wrote about the concept of practice in contrast with mastery; this week, being still.

Our church's women's ministry just finished reading through Francis Chan's book Forgotten God. After we read the last chapter, we were given space to pray and ask the Spirit for guidance, and if there was anything we needed to be doing (or way we needed to be being) differently. Everyone at my table was industriously jotting lines of notes, some accompanied by tears, and while I am usually all about journaling and note-taking, this time there was nothing. After what seemed like a long time, a line from a Christmas carol earwormed itself into my mind. Hush your noise, ye men of strife, and hear the angels sing. Not sure what to do with that, I wrote it down and kept thinking about it over the next week.

As part of Sabbath and practicing pauses, I've been observing Tuesdays - setting that day aside as a Sabbath of sorts, making an effort to journal and pray and embrace the extraordinary ordinary. I started back at the beginning of Hope*ologie and I've been doing Emily Freeman's journaling exercises that she posts each month, along with slowly reading Breathing Room and Finding Spiritual Whitespace. Last week's Quiet*ologie practice (from last August) was simply "be still."

Most of us, I think, are probably familiar with the verse that begins "Be still and know that I am God" - it's certainly on enough journal covers and coffee cups. It's a comforting little mantra for when we're overwhelmed by things. But there's more to the verse. The whole thing is Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! (That's Psalm 46:10). That alters the meaning a little. How much of my striving is for my own exaltation? He is God. Yes, He cares for me and my (ultimately) trivial troubles. But most importantly, He is the main character of His own story, the one that we're all a part of, and He is the one who gets the glory in the end (and the middle, and the beginning).

Hush your noise, ye men of strife, and hear the angels sing.

Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!

I waste so much of the energy He's given me, trying to make some sort of difference. And I do believe that we've all got a purpose, and that our primary purpose is to represent Him, building the Kingdom now while we wait for the Kingdom not-yet. But sometimes I take that responsibility on myself, pressuring myself as though I alone, in my own power, hold the key to His Kingdom coming.

The Story has already been written - we already know how it ends. And sometimes I need to pause - not just to quietly do something restful, like reading or praying or journaling, but a true full stop - and realize that the earth won't stop spinning when I do. The angels are singing, and the world is on His shoulders, not mine.

When was the last time you stopped being busy (even being busy doing good things) and simply marveled?


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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?
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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…