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This is day 30 in my 31 Days series on sustainable dwelling. For an introduction and more posts, head here!

We dropped Adam off at church yesterday afternoon to be bussed out to the middle of nowhere for a men's retreat, and we won't pick him up until Monday - and as much as I'll miss him, the introverted part of me is completely ok with that. His phone was confiscated shortly after he arrived, so there won't even be a nightly call to wait around for (but that won't stop me from making sure that he has lots and lots of messages and pictures waiting for him when he turns it back on ;)

Fabulous tote bag from Mercy House

I've felt worn lately - like butter scraped over too much bread, to borrow a phrase from my favorite hobbit. It's had a really negative effect on my mood and cognitive functionality, and I'd really like to get past that. It may seem paradoxical, but a few days where I am free to do as I choose after Littles go to bed is a pleasant (and needed) reminder that if I step out from under the world, it isn't going to fall down (evenings are my biggest struggle - partly because I "save" things that I'd like to do, and then lack the brain cells to do them once everything else has been done).

We kicked off our we-three weekend with a walk at the nearest city park - the fresh air was nice (Tobin's daring escape from the wagon, less so...) and we collected leaves and petted dogs and just generally breathed.

So I'm plotting a retreat of my own. There's chicken in the crockpot for chicken noodle soup, which should more than feed us for the weekend. I have just about the right amount of Harry Potter movies to catch up on (I'm reading the books, then watching the movies, one by one) to also finish the knitted headboard I started months ago. There are a few letters that need to be written, a sermon podcast to listen to, and Bible study homework to complete. We also have a new mattress that I'd like to ensure gets adequately tested each night. ;)

In keeping with the "retreat" spirit, I've made an itinerary of sorts - not so much a bossy to-do list, but a way to keep myself accountable to actually prioritizing the life-giving things. Read. Journal. Drink tea. Write letters. Knit. Shower daily (why does that have to go on the luxury list?!) I still have to do things like laundry and emptying/loading the dishwasher, but I want to make sure that the Pressing Needs don't consume all of my time.

Topping the list today (right before "vegan butter and paper towels") is knitting. I need to visit my new favorite local yarn store to get a quote for someone, and I think I'll get a little bit of yarn for myself to play with, as well - I'll need a quick project once I finish this headboard, and I picked up a couple of Operation Christmas Child boxes that need filled with a little handmade love...

This month has flown by, and I've loved sharing my passion for all things local and fair trade with you - tomorrow I'll post a conclusion. Until then, I'll be out enjoying my city, and hoping that you're enjoying yours!


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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…