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A Great State Fair

This is day 17 in my 31 Days series on sustainable dwelling. For an introduction and more posts, head here!

I love the little holidays - the random Mondays throughout the year the the federal government has decided are worth not spending at work (for years, I saw it as the Day You Don't Get Mail - with Adam's military job, they're Days To Look Forward To). This past Monday was Columbus Day/get-in-free-at-the-State-Fair-if-you-go-in-the-morning, so we packed up and went.

It's the first time we've gone to anything like this as a family - Adam had to work at the fair last year, but he stayed at his booth in the Hall of Industry, and Brooklyn and I came to visit him but only made a brief pass around the rest of the fair (she couldn't walk very well and I was pregnant with Tobin, so I wasn't really up to carrying her very far).

We took advantage of the convenient cotton candy vendor, and stopped by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's big fish tank where Brooklyn pressed her face to the glass and stared into the eyes of a catfish that was bigger than she was. I wore Tobin and he peered over the edge of the Boba at all of the people and things and funny smells.

Brooklyn got to get into a pen and stroke a tiny piglet (they didn't like to be picked up, but she was too small to reach over), we fed a few farm animals, and I aw'd over the rabbits and dreamed of someday owning a few angoras. In need of air conditioning (and because I wanted to see if I recognized anyone's work) we stopped by the arts and crafts building to admire all the handiwork.

It's not a very big or a very grand state fair - at some point, I'd like us to go to the Texas State Fair, which I've been to once - but this year it was the perfect size for our little family with two little persons that got hot and hungry and tired after about an hour. I'm glad that we have smaller-scale adventures for them now - that can grow as they do!

Local events can often be tailored to suit the needs of your family, whatever stage you're at - single, married, little kids, big kids, empty nester... if you're willing to look, there's almost always something for everyone!


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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…