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As per usual this time of year, I keep thinking of people who need to be written to, gifted, and/or thanked, so my finished to-do list keeps getting undone. But it's for good reasons, and I have a good little helper who loves to carry things in stores and write in cards when allowed. Her ardent desire to assist is adorably and refreshing when my own energy wanes.

Brooklyn has requested my Pentatonix Christmas playlist every day, and I've been filling in with other Christmas albums (I love Pentatonix, which is why I introduced her to them, but I'd prefer not to get burnt out). I haven't done as well this year at intentionally pausing - we light candles and do Advent readings over breakfast, but that's about how long it takes them to eat so any sort of quiet contemplation/journaling afterwards isn't going to happen.

Then too, I'm on the launch team for Kristen Welch's new book Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World (which means having an advance copy to read), so that's been coloring my perception of the holiday season as I examine my own heart and motives, and get increasingly disgusted with our over-stuff-ed culture and my own entitlements... and then my earrings of the month came. Secretly made, smuggled out of the country, supporting women in an extremely hostile environment - then delivered by a trust-worthy mail carrier to the postbox I walked to without fear while Brooklyn and Tobin were having their afternoon nap. Worlds apart in more ways than one - but I'd like to narrow the gap a little. I'd like to recognize the gift of where/when I am and then use that to benefit others (I feel like Fair Trade Friday and Carry the Future are good places to start) - I'd like to notice the good and lift it high, instead of trampling over it in order to join everyone else in burning the latest imagined villain in effigy (or reality) - and I'd like gratitude to become a reflex, on the same level as breathing, instead of an afterthought.

2231. Brooklyn "helping" me write in Christmas cards
2232. Tobin's renewed interest in food (he lost his appetite while he was sick)
2233. Warm enough weather for a walk at the park
2234. Cookies at Dempsey - we each had one, and everyone was excited over theirs
2235. Being reminded by Brooklyn that "God loves you and you are loved and beautiful and those three things never change"
2236. Her joy over a found toy, whose loss had been concerning her for quite awhile


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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…