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Looking Out, Looking In

I have thing about being up high. Maybe it's something to do with the elevation I was born at (in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado), or just an general preference, but living at the very edge of a tiny mountain ridge near a vast spread of rice fields is not really my happy place. Thankfully, I don't care how I get up high, so being in a tall building works, too. I enjoyed living on the second floor in our apartment (also, bugs were less of an issue...) but living in a one story house is taking some adjusting.

To compensate, I hung the engineer print Mum got me for my birthday last year above my desk - it's a photo I took looking out the window of the 13th floor office that I worked in in New York. I love that there aren't any definable landmarks so only I know that it's Manhattan, and I love the sensation of looking down from a high place that it gives me.

I wonder, too, if my love of heights has something to do with feeling safe - like I'm out of reach of danger. It suits my squirrelish nature of loving to curl up with a soft blanket, some fuzzy knitting or an engaging book, and a cup of tea. Then from up high, I can keep an eye on the exits while still feeling cozy and comfortable.

Or it could be the Adventurous Introvert - wanting to Go Forth and Explore, but also have a safe place to return to at the end of the day. Maybe that's how the British were able to plant their flag around the world - by never exploring or conquering with so great an urgency that they were forced to abandon their rituals and comforts in the pursuit.

Comfort gets such a bad rap sometimes, like it's a crutch that's holding us back. But I love JRR Tolkien's hobbits - while the elves and men and dwarves and orcs were destroying each other (and themselves) with imbalanced pursuit of knowledge and wealth and property and power, the hobbits had quietly accepted where they were and how it was. They planted and ate, worked and celebrated, and in the end they were the stronger for it.

Because it's harder to say no than to say yes. It's harder to maintain boundaries than it is to be a human doormat. It's harder to recognize and admit your weaknesses than it is to work until you collapse. In a culture where Busy and Stress are worn like badges of honor, Space and Quiet have to be fought for - but the return is worth the effort.

So while I recognize that there are times for adventures (and that adventures are not all pony rides in May sunshine), I embrace the flowered chair, beloved journal, and hot cup of tea that await me at the end of them. Because opening our arms to what brings us joy - a window view, a favorite seat, a new candle - isn't weakness. It takes a brazen sort of courage, in itself.

2717. Engineer prints
2718. Running into some neighbors from our apartment at Target
2719. Eating cookies in the car
2720. A whole jammy day
2721. Getting all the boxes out of Tobin's room
2722. Staying up way too late knitting and watching a movie


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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…