our road {a promise}

Last month my husband and I went on a trip to another state for six days. It was the very first time we’d both left the kids for more than one night. My husband could have gone on twenty trips without the kids at any point in our marriage because he doesn’t have the insecurities and mama worries that I have had. It took me a bit longer. It took hard work on myself and the building of relationships that we could trust when it comes to care for our kids. It didn’t happen overnight. It took ages. It took a lot of prayers and change and growth and for me, none of it was easy. But it was worth the work. I feel like we are now in a new stage in life. Like we have crossed a road that has always scared me and walk in a place of peace.

The logistics were challenging for this kind of trip. Rather than use respite for our FD9 we asked Hubby’s mom to come and stay at our house for those 5 nights. Two couples from our church, people the kids know and love, came and gave my MIL a rest, took the kids for a walk, did crafts, took the boys to lunch and just teamed up to help care for our six kiddos so that hubby and myself could rest and recharge. It was hard to leave. It was difficult to plan. We had to work hard on the budget to make it happen and I had to let go of trying to control everything and trust God and my friends and family to meet my kiddos needs. Was it perfect? Did it all go super great? no, but it did work. The kids were safe. The team worked together and everyone did so well.

We spent five nights in Seattle and it did not rain once. The sun shone down on us. The water lapped and sparkled along the shores and the snow-caped mountains smiled at us as we drove on freeways, stood on towers and relaxed on waterways. It was splendid. It was refreshing and restful and restorative. We met people like us. Folks who are foster parents and adoptive parents who love Jesus and who struggle and question and persevere. It was so great. At the end we boarded flights and ate great food and enjoyed hot coffee and stout beers and when we landed in our own state we were so surprised to find that it was raining.

Tiny raindrops dotted the cracked windshield of hubby’s old work car as we drove into and over the mountains on our way home. We smiled and laughed that the rain was waiting for us in the desert rather than meeting us in the Pacific North West. We smiled at the thought of all the lovely sunshine that we had enjoyed over the past several days. It felt to my heart like a lesson. Like God had smiled down on us and given us this gift of Sun and rest and peace. Like he was saying that it was not just okay that we take the time for ourselves and for rest, but that we must and that He was pleased with us. I’m not sure where my brain and heart had doubted God’s goodness toward us. Maybe only in that this life is so very hard and we often fail and that terrible feeling that God is disappointed in us and that means that He doesn’t want to give us good gifts. But that is just not true. I know it. I would tell anyone else that it isn’t true for them, but I struggle to believe it for me, for us.

As we started the drive home remembering the blessed days before the clouds moved in, blue-gray and hanging over the mountain tops. The Sun set in a fantastic mix of orange, yellows and red hues behind us. The rain became a little more steady. The end of our day was looking just as beautifully complex as all of our years together. When the sun finally disappeared over the horizon and the darkness closed in around us and the car sped over miles of long straight highway the full moon shone out over us as we went. A large singular light in the skies above us. I remembered God’s chosen people, guided in the dark by fire in the sky. It felt like Father’s gift to us again. The tears burned at the corners of my eyes as I remembered just then what a woman whom I did not know said as we walked out of the church a few days before. She reached out and touched my arm as I passed and when our eyes met she said, “God will give you strength in a time of great need.” The moon looking down through the dark and rain now felt to me like a reminder. It felt like a promise that God would be with us when it was hardest. Things I know, things that I would tell anyone, but such a sweet word to my spirit now as we traveled home.

After more than an hour the moon and its light was swallowed up by the darkness and the clouds were heavy and the rain was hard. Now the roads were narrow and the wind was fierce and my hand gripped the door as we flew across the miles. I was scared. We could not see well through the window and I could feel my husband’s tension build. I have learned that it does not help my husband to ask him to slow down or to be careful. He wasn’t driving that fast but I was filled with fear and as we went I prayed quietly and whispered to myself- God is good and faithful. A reminder that He is trustworthy even when I feel all the terror of my circumstances. The drive through this storm lasted a long time. I fought with myself to hold tight to the truth of who God is even when I felt so much fear. What if we wrecked and the kids were left without us? What if more loss and hurt bled into their lives from all the edges? What if we’d had days full of sunshine and the rest and then the worst would happen an hour or two from home? It had not ever been so clear to me just how fearful for my children I had been. Or how I did not trust in our good God for them. I prayed. I Asked for His forgiveness. On that dark road, our car pelted by rain and wind, I laid them all down and asked Father to keep them and whispered again, God you are good and faithful and I can trust You, no matter what I feel.

It seemed to me, the whole journey, was a picture of the years ahead of us with our children. There will be sunny days and stormy days and days when the darkness and rains last too long but God would always be good and faithful and we can, all of us, trust him.

Selah~

Blessings~ Tina

2019 A List Of Longing

When I close my eyes and think back on this past year I see mud on shoes from days and months of rain. Too much for our soil to take in. Heaps and heaps, rivers of rain. Storms that opened wide the skies and emptied themselves out all over our little lives.

I hear the sound of falling feet smacking the wet earth all around me. Mud splashing, mess making, sticking earth to clothes and skin and hair. Raindrops mixed with burning tears on cheeks, of heads aching and faces flushing. 

I see seedlings, green and stretching, springing up from watery earthy places seeking the sun. I see willows weeping, hanging heavy from too much growth. Branches reaching down from the desert skies so blue and pale. I see muscles expanding and spaces widening. The kind of stretching that can leave us hurt and sore and questioning.

I ache now for sun and warmth and the comforting sounds of gentle springs treading over miles of smooth stone. Of lying body onto soft grass and of sun on cheeks, warm and still. I crave the slow breath of Summer swirling lazily through trees covered in hearty, clinging leaves. Of slow shade traveling across the flat green landscapes, we walk. The sun slowly moving from one end of our earth to the other.

I’m eager for comfort. For warm spaces and cozy pillows and handmade blankets made in every color. I don’t know if 2019 will be so gentle. I hope so very much that it will be though. More than that, I pray for that for this year. Comfort Lord, please.

I won’t be so brave or so foolish as to make a list of resolutions. Every year I fail them. But I’ll make a list of things I long for just now. As I sit in the quiet of my sleeping rooms. Christmas tree lights and the sound of Ray Charles songs sung in his honor by so many different voices on the television screen.

My list is not the kind of list I’ve made before. It is the kind of list that grew from a year of so much deep work and the uncovering of what is really important and the discovery of what is not.

In no particular order, this is my list of longing for 2019.

1. Words. To read them and write them.

2. To do rather than speak about loving others well. Especially when it comes to my kids and husband.

3. To mend. To teach my children to treasure and save rather than the alternative.

4. To make and create with my hands.

5. To slow down and tackle the things that bring me joy, one at a time and finish them.

6. To sing a new song.

7. To love God with all of my heart, mind, and soul.

Hello October {Yarnalong}


I’m not at all sure where September went but it is gone and well, hello October! I haven’t done much knitting, but I have managed to turn the heels on both socks (the never-ending socks) and am maybe half-way done with a wee doll I started on a whim. I’ve taken a break from this pattern for now, but will return soon I think. Neither the socks nor the doll has a pattern to link to- I am just knitting them up and making adjustments as I go. Like I prefer to live life.

Let me step away and laugh out loud at that statement.

I think I’ve always loved the idea of living free and unhindered and relaxed and maybe even with flowers in my hair. But as much as I admire a good hippie, like a real one with greasy hair and body-odor (for real though- I do admire them but maybe that is another post) I can’t ever really be one. Or not today I can’t. My personality and my need for some kind of order or control keep me unable to commit to a life of hippiedom.

You see, I am a creative soul- there is no doubt. I may be a 4 on the enneagram (idk, I’m still trying to suss that all out) I write, I sing, I love the dirt in my fingernails after a morning in the garden. I can day-dream like a boss. I enjoy with a joy so deep and moving the making-of- things with my hands that it makes me tear up right now as I type but- my chaotic beginnings and all- that mess (hand sweep at my visualized past) made me cautious and afraid and my reaction to all that chaos and fear was to try with all my might to control and keep all here, gathered around me, within reaching distance to my safest spot found, everything that I could keep close and or hide behind.

In essence, my soul was created to be creative and needs the freedom and the courage to create and flourish like wildflowers in fields without borders but my wounds needed me to live in a small, quiet, be very afraid, draw-no-attention (but oh so needy of attention) box of barely existing survival.

The years of healing, of care and relationship with others and counseling, seeking personal growth and just being a disciple of Jesus have brought me to a life lived freer and full of courage. Most of the time. Okay- some of the time.

I do still struggle with all that need for control and order and fear, sorry God. It’s ok- He knows me, I know it. He loves me out of this mess that I am still. Everyday. I just know it. He is faithful to complete the good work He started here…

I love to knit free-style, now that I really know how to knit and understand the fundamentals of knitting I can just wing it. But I remember trying to just “see what I could make” (before really knowing what I was doing) and ending up with a strange washcloth or baby blanket for our kid’s teddy bear. And as my heart yearned so to be open and free and creative and unhindered by rules and regulations, I had to learn the fundamentals of my craft. The fundamentals give me a sturdy place to stand while I let my creative juices fly.

fun·da·men·tal

ˌfəndəˈmen(t)əl/

adjective

1.
forming a necessary base or core; of central importance.

I love a good pattern. Give me a nice big knitting chart that I have to follow or a well-written pattern that I must follow line by line and I am down for some knitting fun. I enjoy following the tiny perfectly square squares and all that precise work that will create something beautiful, I do. But I didn’t always love it.

I hated it. It frustrated me. I grunted and fussed and pouted my way through my first (I don’t even know how many) patterns. I knitted and made mistakes and took back the work and started again and pushed through for as long as the learning took and then when I completed the work I had learned something new.

Let’s see if this translates. I hope that you can hear what my heart is screaming!

Three things:

1. The discomfort that I felt in the learning widened my window of tolerance for discomfort, it grew my patience and strengthened my ability to learn something new.

• Discomfort does not always mean we should stop what we’re doing. Sometimes in the “keeping on” the discomfort there produces a kind of stretching- a deeper truer growth.

2. The pattern that felt so very confining to my creative soul taught my soul the discipline it needed to really be creative. It gave me wings.

• Don’t fight the rules. Don’t balk at the fundamentals. To love God with everything and love your neighbor as yourself = the pattern. There is unimaginable freedom in the confines of loving like Jesus.

3. No matter how many times I had to start over, I never quit. Finishing the hard thing(s) teaches tenacity. It gave me the satisfaction of learning, of conquering and of succeeding which in turn rewarded my tenacity.

• Make adjustments and try again. There are new mercies for us every morning. Every. Morning. Starting again (and choosing love and forgiveness again and again) strengthens our muscles of humility, of mercy, of Jesus-kinda-love and of resilience. That makes us stronger, not weaker.

I draw parallels here between learning a self-discipline like knitting and becoming more who you were created to be. I don’t know how that happened exactly. It wasn’t the plan when I sat down to tell you what I was knitting and reading for this month’s #yarnalong post. This is where my heart is lately, I suppose. Everywhere I look this is the lesson or the theme or the word.

I am reading This book. It hurts a bit to read because it resonates with me. There is a ton of wisdom in these pages though and I’d recommend it to all moms, not just adoptive ones.

I am still listening to this book. I’d recommend it to all parents. You really can’t go wrong with any of either of its author’s works.

I’m joining Ginny over at her link up. If you like books or fiber art of any kind you might head over and have a look-see. That’s it for me folks, peace out.

wait

in the line to pick up kids after school
cars moving slowly
seventeen drivers not letting me in
kids on benches and beneath the trees wait
i feel my insides stir and boil

in the check out aisle at the grocery store
slow beeps and long conversations
for the child to find her way to peace when she is upset and on the verge of meltdown
for the child to find the strength to go and look for the shoe that keeps us from leaving the house on time
my impatience does flips inside me

for the man to make the decision that i am biting at the bit to have settled
for the details of the new thing to be laid out on paper and solidly in place
for the winds to lift and turn and flip all my plans upside down
for the peace that i have chosen to be felt
i search for determination somewhere deep

waiting is hard
sometimes it is just life
sometimes it feels like too much
every time it is uncomfortable
i scream for help with my unbelief

more room for patience being made in my small places
i am pushed out on all sides
my capacity to leap stretching into new places
my ability to believe pulled further than it has yet been
grace growing in small hands

waiting is hard but Father is faithful
where i lack, He lacks not at all
my plan is good but His is better
i cling to Him
His right hand upholds me

Long-ish term projects and words {yarnalong}

The ladies from our church and other friends are reading a book together this season rather than doing a Bible study. I love the idea and am looking forward to the time we will all spend together. The book is One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voscamp. I’ve read it before -a few years back- and it wrecked me, in a good way. I hadn’t expected it to really hurt me so badly the second time around but it seems that it just might. When I read this weeks chapter there were tears that I hadn’t anticipated and so many things copied down, things that moved me. Below are just a few…

“But these aren’t things you need to say anyways. Like all beliefs, you simply live them.” pg. 15

“”If I’m ruthlessly honest, I may have said yes to God, yes to Christianity, but really, I have lived the no.” pg. 16

“The singular tear that slips down his cheek carves something out of me.” pg. 19

“And I see it. At least a bit more. When we find ourselves groping along, famished for more, we can choose.” pg. 21

“…our own emptiness, might actually become places to see. To see through to God. That that which tears open our soul, those holes that splatter our sight, might actually become the thin, open places to see through the mess of this place to the heart-aching beauty beyond. To Him. To the God whom we endlessly crave. Maybe so. But how?” pg. 22

But, I reckon I’ll keep ya posted. As it happens I am also reading (more like dabbling) in this one, this one and(at night when the house is quiet devouring) this one it is also my resource of the week! Adoption is a blessing but the road can be hard. We need good resources and community so yeah.
You. Are. Welcome. 😉

Projects made of yarn should go into Yarn Along posts yes? So, I started a sock yarn blanket. Yes. I. Did. Truth be told, it is one of three. The others are pretty but long-neglected and they rest so nicely in beautiful bags on shelves or in baskets. Its okay, someday they will see light and receive attention again. This one was meant to be my book-club-blanket meaning it was meant to be worked up when actually at said book club meetings but it is completely addicting and as it turns out, the only project that I want to work on.

Never mind that though, one mustn’t squelch the creative heart. This particular sock yarn blanket is different than my other ones in that it is not a knitted blanket but rather -I broke out the old crochet hook- and had to look up how to crochet- to do it. I used this recipe to start it as I needed a reminder of how to do it. It has been something like 8 years since I crocheted this kind of blanket. I do love it though and would recommend anyone else to start one.

I’m calling this my February Yarn Along post even if it is early, so I’ve linked it with Ginny. If you like to see what others are making and reading- have a look-see when you get a chance.

Blessing and peace~
Tina

Feb 6, 2018

I’ve added some progress pics below. I do enjoy this project and am afraid if I work on anything else it will join the other sock yarn blankets… but I do need to make some things to raise funds for my Summer Mission Trip so… We. Will. See. 😬😭😂

Lessons and Lists {This Year and Last}

Lessons

Last year I took a year off of buying yarn. I think that it changed the way I shop for yarn. The old way impulsive and unorganized.  I’m visual so, images in my Instagram feed were like the impulse buy section at the grocery store filled with my favorite sweets in pretty wrappers- so dangerous for me.

My first purchase this year was this beautiful set perfect for a Christmas Eve cast on. A selfish knit just at the end of my Holiday Knitting sounded perfect. Funny thing is, when the yarn arrived, I knew it wasn’t meant for me. It was meant for someone else. I won’t lie, I resisted. I really liked that yarn! After a fight and some whining and then of course repentance, I knit the mitts, praying for the heart of the one they were meant for as I went and they were gifted on Christmas morning with the message that God loved the recipient so much.

That is how Father works sometimes. Of course, I had a choice. Of course, He loves me too. His gifts to me (money for hand-dyed yarn and the love of knitting) and then leading me to not hold on tight to either but to give the gifts away and to bless someone else- that is just like Him. It hurt a little for reasons that I don’t need to share but it wasn’t (this time) the prying open of hands and the taking away of something that I thought that I needed. It was a simple nudge. A whisper in the ear. A suggestion. He gave me the choice.

“Hey what about them?”
“Oh, but I wanted this for me? I’ve been waiting a while.”
“I know.”
No pressure but a leading.
“OK.” Reluctant I was. Defiant even. Then I avoided the cast on for as long a possible. After a time I decided that He didn’t want me to give the gift feeling some sort of way about it- frustrated. Angry. Irritated. Disappointed.

He wanted a willing heart, a pure heart, and obedience. He wanted me to – do the work- with joy. To give the gift with Joy- with love. Chosen Joy and chosen love- before I felt them. And That bit sums it up for me.
Chosen Joy.
Chosen Love.
Before it is felt- and if it never is felt- can still be chosen.
Can still be given.
My heart like the Grinch’s heart growing three sizes.

The lesson of the last year for me really and perhaps the lesson for the next.

New Year’s resolutions: 

1. Get healthy
2. Read whole books (yes, that’s right- finish them!)
3. Write
4. Sing ( Reminder: you love this!)
5. Knit a cardigan for myself I like this one (oh it’s the coolest) or this one  (it’s so lovely) but then again, perhaps this one with a Cherry Little Bird Shawl Pin to hold it closed from here? Oh, but there is this one as well. 🙂
6. Be a friend and support to another (local) foster / adoptive mom (family).
7. Really focus on this years Mission Trip to Asia. Prayer, meetings, training, fundraising.

These last two added January 1, 2018, Happy New Year!

8. Engage with the kids more- because I tend to be very busy and I often miss the connection.

9. Give up all alcohol for the year.

As lists go, this year’s is not too bad. I think I’ve managed to set attainable goals. We. Will. See.

Do you have a New Years resolutions list? Or a lesson you have been learning from the last?

Many Blessings Friends,<
Tina

Verse for last year – and perhaps for this year. ❤️