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Out Loud

Underneath all of my introversion and how-ladies-behave training, there is a Loud Voice. It was pretty much my normal talking voice as a child (imagine all of Junie B Jones' dialogue in ALL CAPS) but it's become shy with the passage of time. Now it only comes out when I'm perfectly comfortable and confident.

Which sometimes means that the Loud Voice expresses itself at odd times, as on a recent Sunday morning when I switched from normal voice to Loud Voice mid-song. Loud Voice sounds like a completely different person - not only does she project sound more clearly, she has a solid octave of additional range and a better ability to hit to the right note and stay on it than regular voice does (sadly, Loud Voice has only sung in front of people once or twice, as contrasted with the many times that normal voice yawned and squeaked through song leading and solos at the small country church I grew up in).

As much as I would like to, this isn't something I can control - at least, not if I'm just focusing on my speaking volume. Because Loud Voice isn't just a voice - she's also more likely to honestly compliment another person, a more engaged conversationalist, a more thoughtful friend, a more creative artist... she is who I am when I'm being me, and not just a manufactured version of myself.

Sometimes we think (usually because someone has told us so) that we are "too much," so we dial back whatever-it-is that we are until we become a different person entirely, maybe even without realizing it. But we can't "do [the] good works which God prepared in advance for us to do" if we're busy painting over the masterpiece He created when He made each of us.*

This world needs more Loud, to speak up against injustice. It needs more Bold, to invite and engage even when it's uncomfortable to do so. It needs more Vibrant, a banner of love to stand against the polluted skies. And it needs all of us, just as we are - loud, quiet, doers, givers, servers, makers, thinkers and everyone in between - to point to the extraordinary God who designed and loves us, every one.

*Ephesians 2:10 - "For we are God's masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."


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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…