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Improvised Discipline

gorgeous charms from Bella Vita Jewelry

Last semester, our church went through a sermon series in Ephesians, and our women's ministry did a study of Ephesians - and I knitted my way through Ephesians, because that's how I process things. I made dark ridges that cast shadows on watercolor valleys, because grace is only beautiful if you're in it. I shaped it into a giant triangle scarf, so that I would wear it often, and I added a few significant charms from a local artisan and a tassel (just because I love tassels) to the point. And then I named it Grace-filled because that's what Ephesians is - the pattern's on Ravelry here if you'd like to knit Ephesians for yourself.

image via She Reads Truth

This semester the ladies are staying in Ephesians 6 for a Priscilla Shirer study of the Armor of God. One point that she strongly emphasized in the first lesson (and has continued to reinforce in each subsequent chapter) is prayer as the 7th piece of armor (in addition to the traditional six of truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, and Scripture). Then, as I was considering what to do for Lent this year, I was convicted over my lack of prayer and resolved to spend the next 40ish days cultivating that discipline.

Last semester, one of the ladies in my small group brought a prayer box for us to share - a place to put the prayers that have shifted from being prayer-without-ceasing and have turned into a scheduled daily worry-fest, verbalized in God's direction. We almost all put something in the box, and several of those prayers were answered, after they were let go of.

I love the prayer box, but also realize that I need to be better about intentional prayer. Introvert that I am, I would love a prayer closet (or "war room," if you're inspired by the recent movie), but we have a sum total of three closets in our home and they are all completely full. So I got a $10 magnetic chalkboard at Target and made a "portable prayer closet" out of it - my weekly prayer strategy for the Armor of God study in one corner, Pray for Refugees' daily prayer focus in another, people whose spark puts them under greater opposition, a washi-taped list of things that deserve daily attention, and a comfortable chair {magnet}, just because. In the mornings I prop it up at the empty space at the breakfast table and in the evenings I carry it to the couch or the bedroom, wherever I am - and the rest of the time it hangs in a visible spot near our front door.

Even though I've only been doing it for a few days, I've already been surprised at how effective it is, and how much I look forward to having time to sit down and work my way through it (as a testament to this, I even stuck with my praying resolution through a three day weekend with Adam off and my schedule turned upside-down). I expected it to be a discipline, good but hard - but I didn't expect it to turn into its own sort of adventure!

2405. Sweet baby kisses, with "muah!"
2406. No more stuffy noses
2407. Brooklyn choosing a bedtime book for Tobin, and him sitting in my lap and patting the pictures
2409. A portable prayer closet (both the idea, and the means to make it happen)
2410. Above-and-beyond kind Target employees
2411. Tobin walking
2412. Prayer with breakfast
2413. After-dinner Literary Scrabble
2414. Leaving the valentines that Brooklyn and I made on all our neighbors' doors without getting caught
2415. Brooklyn wanting to take her Sunday school teacher a Valentine pin, in the front pocket of her new shirt (because what else are pockets for?)
2416. An illuminating Mobilize session
2417. A quiche for breakfast, made the night before (and remembering that it needed to be made in time to make it - barely)
2418. Clouds with no rain, perfect weather for a photoshoot
2419. A Loblolly Creamery adventure for us, and hot coffee for the unsheltered man with no shoes who was sitting outside (and the luxury of being able to do both)
2420. Space to write up and publish a pattern


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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…