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Desperation and Innovation

Everyone needs to read this book, parent or not - I derived just as much from it for myself as I did for Brooklyn and Tobin

A new book released on Tuesday, and my anxiously awaited copy was handed to me by our friendly postperson yesterday. It sat on the table, teasing me, while I finished attending to the breakdown in sibling relations that the knock on the door had interrupted, so I was especially excited when I finally cut open the box. I've already read Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World since I was on the launch team, but the hard copy is gorgeous and I'm planning on rereading it soon.

But I was most curious about the "global family kit" that came with it - I knew that several countries were represented but didn't know which one we'd be getting. Brooklyn and Tobin won't be old enough to enjoy a dinnertime discussion about Kenya for a few years, but I promptly sat down to read the cards and examine the sturdy handmade soccer ball, cleverly constructed from plastic bags and thin blue rope.

copper and white bracelet available from Mercy House
blue bracelet available from 31 Bits

I'm deeply fascinated by Things Made From Things. Not just the "upcycled" kitsch that is popular in American boutiques right now, but also (and especially) the ingenious treasures made from actual trash, the only resource available to the maker. Things made from salvaged metal, repurposed magazines and other paper, discarded bags... I'm continually amazed at the artists who craft not just art but a better life for themselves and their families from such humble media.

It's humbling in itself... these people are living out the poetry that was written into them, without complaining to God about a lack of proper resources, like I'm so often guilty of doing. Their innovation springs from a desperation I've never actually experienced, privileged Westerner that I am.

But I'd like to change that. I'd like to live less comfortably and more trustingly - not just putting verses on my walls about how God provides, but actually living in that provision. I'd like to give from a place of gratitude, to pour out grace and be refilled, to live a "trust without borders" that truly recognizes its reliance on God, for everything from food and shelter to the next breath and heartbeat. 

2357. An awesome start to a new study at church (and Tobin gracefully going to play with Brooklyn and the other littles)
2358. Meeting Adam for lunch
2359. Books that make my brain hurt (Jasper Fforde, if anyone's looking for an author who makes you read every sentence twice, for the fun of it)
2360. A short but productive day
2361. Finishing my "homework" for the week, early enough to think about it after
2362. An act of kindness by our mail carrier (who used to just be grumpy)


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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…