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The Basement and the Balcony

This is day 22 in my 31 Days series on sustainable dwelling. For an introduction and more posts, head here!

This week's gifts...
2051. New warm winter clothes, just as the temperature dropped
2052. Enthusiastic local business owners that remember you kindly even when you haven't been in for months
2053. Finding a book on chalk lettering at the library on the New Books shelf - I may still order it from a local bookstore, but it's nice to look at it in peace first
2054. A sweet husband who enjoys/is good at fixing things for people
2055. How excited Brooklyn and Tobin are to see him when he gets home
2056. Grace
2057. A gluten-free breakfast backup plan when my initial idea had sold out before we got there
2058. Encountering a couple of people from church, who not only said hi but also invited us to sit with them while we waited (it made the waiting a lot easier for Brooklyn - and more enjoyable for me)
2059. An afternoon of rest
2060. The option (reluctant though it was) to have a jammy day on a Sunday, since we-three were sick and just needed to stay home
2061. A hot bath - I would have preferred a nap, but it was still nice
2062. Adam getting released from Drill early, then coming home and taking Brooklyn and Tobin with him on an errand while I rested alone at home
2063. Efficient erranding
2064. Necessary groceries, on sale
2065. Sitting on the couch and reading with Brooklyn
2066. Meeting Adam for lunch, since he had to work late that night and worked late the night before, so Brooklyn and Tobin could see him
2067. Everyone's laundry fitting into one load
2068. Figuring out how to give Brooklyn and Tobin baths by myself (Tobin was not pleased with my solution, but it was effective!)
2069. Finding out before we left for the weekend that they were restriping the parking lot, so I could move my car to a management-sanctioned spot and not get it towed
2070. A peaceful drive to Fayetteville - it took unusually long, since there was a detour and an extra stop, and Brooklyn and Tobin were extremely brave
2071. Family to stay with, instead of a hotel

It's kind of been a Week. It got cold, we got a cold (well, three of the four of us did, and the Well Person worked through the weekend and wasn't home much to help nurse). I think a good word to describe it would bleak. 

Or, at least, it's the bleak things that have stood out. Good things have most definitely happened (see above list), but each one has seemed small in the shadow what came before and followed after. A happy moment bracketed by two (or more) frustrated or exhausted ones loses some of its retrospective luster.

Why is it that bad things (or things we perceive as being bad) are so much easier to remember - to dwell on? We need a resting cycle - but why stop at a low point, instead of a high one?

It may be a tendency driven by personality - introspection tends to linger in the shadows in a way that the outwardly-minded do not, becoming ensnared by the beast within instead of seeking sunlight beyond the cavern's mouth. But I think that it goes deeper still - to a sort of lurid fascination with the Bad, reveling in its awfulness.

But if I'm going to revel in something, I'd like it be Good. I'd like to bestir myself from my comfortably dank mental basement and go throw open the curtains, letting in the light of Joy, the breeze of Optimism, and the birdsong of Gratitude.

I need to choose where I will dwell - in a dusty library filled with altered memories and shadowed by the past regrets; or outside on the front porch, where I can sip my tea and warm my heart, and have the inspiration, encouragement, and accountability of my neighbors and friends.


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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…