tiny

Tiny silver spoon

I’m so happy to have met you

Me in my jeans and flip flops

Shiny from car air and the miles

You in that trap made of logs

Did the sign say they were hand crafted?

Building square and tall

In the shadow of all those trees

Next to that highway

Brimming with tourists

And other tiny silver spoons

I picked you

Not because of your shine

And not for your blessed silverness

Or because of the wee acorn

Perched atop your end

But because you can so easily

Chase the sweet brown sweetness

That is my favorite hazelnut spread

And live cozily in any

Of the 53 pockets of my bag

day off

Tell all the things

From morning to end

The day

In that hotel

Or at that friends old cabin

And the trip to get food

And the suitcase

and the packing

and that coffee treat spilled in the lap

And the drive

And the flat tire

And the cat

And the mattress

and the inability to do anything at all except stare at the tv

and the lack of energy to enjoy or feel as if something had been accomplished

And then the panic as the hours tick by

And the one good thing

Seemingly mundane

That was the thing that took one over the line from exhausted to rested

And then noticing things that one hadn’t noticed before

Feeling warm from the sun

And thankful and hearing birds

And wondering what the bird was

and feeling one should learn these things

and the walk

And the crackle of pine cones beneath the shoes

And the mans dog barking at you on the path

And husband calling

And texting

And missing the calls

And semi terrible food

And craving wine

And all that thinking

And praying and hearing God

and feeling at once that one could go on

And then the breeze

And the packing

And the drive

And singing out loud

And crying at the freedom

And coming in to a toddler tantrum

And the glare of the teen

And the supportive but exhausted and done husband

And unpacking

And kids relaying their day

And all the fun

And the fish for dinner

And the cleaning of the kitchen because he is already asleep

And that bedtime routine

And the pillow

The sound of the fan In the bathroom

And his snoring

And tucking in kids again

And kissing of heads again

And prayers

And hand on cheeks

And feeling thankful

And sleep

And a dream that felt so real

Another man

Another life

Another chance to make choices and then in the middle of the dream remembering you already have a life

A man

A family

And you can’t live this strange dream

And waking up feeling guilty for having dreamt it

And feeling a little sad that the time is already spent

Big brown eyes staring at you then in the bed

Tiny people have joined

Sleeping like octopi

Feet in ribs

Arms in crannies

Hair everywhere

Tiny nose

Little mouth

Beautiful baby and then

The thankfulness is deeper than one has ever known

And you are glad the dream was a dream

Because you see for just a moment the meaning of life

From baby to toddler and cuddle bug to wiry gal and gent and man boys and young men and women

And the giving to them purpose with your own

To love others

To love others well

Because God loves you

and you loved them

And the next day

And then the pillow

And then sleep

And a dream

And your all walking in a meadow

A garden

And peace is like air

And you all feel loved

You don’t often feel loved

Or lovable so it’s a stark change but it’s like the sun on the skin and the water on your body

You are loved

All of you and it’s real

And there is such peace and

The alarm goes off

And your eyes open

Brown and blinking

Long lashes

Disbelieved hair

Sheets with tiny flowers on them

Sunlight slipping in through curtains edge

And he is there breathing

Warm

And you are happy

January Yarnalong 2021

I finished Gilead by Marilynne Robinson yesterday. It is beautiful and seemed to speak so much so me. I started reading A Promised Land By Barack Obama before Christmas and I have loved it as far as I’ve gotten although this is not very far at all- maybe 7 chapters. I plan to pick it up again soon.

I am knitting a wee scarf for 13’s teddy bear (that he requested for his birthday) and am attempting a doll or a stuffy or a something that I am a bit unsure about as yet for a purpose that I am just as unsure about (my normal process).

Christmas week we managed to catch planets aligning just so and took what some had dubbed the Star of Bethlehem as a promise that Jesus is with us still. Of course we know that, of course we do- but planets aligning just so the week of Christmas was such a sweet and delightful happening that I took hold of it as such a sign of goodness and hope after this year. I made sure to say it again and again to all of us.

Our Christmas was quite quiet this year. Goodness it was nice. I would have loved to visit family and have a house full to brimming and meet new babies and all that but it was, to us, a kind of soothing balm to all of our scrapes and wounds that this strange year has brought us. I’m not even really speaking about Covid-19 as much as a ton of other really difficult things that happened as well as the wretched virus. We had a lovely Christmas and I am thankful.

We went away to the mountains for a few days after Christmas – very carefully and we were completely on our own. It was such a good break from our house. I did not take any yarn or needles or a hook with me which must have been the very first time since I don’t even know when, and this was a much needed rest for my hands after so long Knitting for Others (HK edition) and all the normal Christmas Knitting.

Three kids asked for socks and three asked for fingerless mitts for Christmas which was nice and easy. I used this sock pattern, and this one– both slightly modified. For the Mitts I used a few patterns (maize, honeycomb and paddle to be precise) from Tin Can Knits – also slightly modified. I made myself a pair of socks and hubby too and knitted several Christmas wash cloths to go into gift baskets but I made those up as I went.

In my journal I wrote that my goal for a certain profile description might someday read, “In between books and work I knit and make.” I don’t feel that the last year had enough completed books or making which is what I call creating things of my own design – in whatever medium I chose- to be able to use that description as yet. Perhaps at the end of this year those words will prove true enough to my heart to use them. I’m half joking but I think that maybe mostly I am not.

I’m not bothering this year with anything even slightly resembling a New Year resolution. I really want to, out of habit perhaps. But nah. Not this time. I’m cherishing my kids and doing my best to give them what they need right here, right now. I’m clinging to my husband, my very best friend ( for real though) as we both struggle – a lot – but not enough to lose faith. I’m shoring up all my edges with only the most necessary. Also cherishing sweet friends in chats and zoom calls and phone coffee dates. I’m biding my time until the day that I can visit family far away. I don’t know what is coming but I do know that He knows. God, I mean and that is a great comfort.

There is yoga in my bathroom and walks at the trail I love and the treadmill although not as often as I should but oh well! There is the sense that I just might use some of the hundred and twenty-seven thousand healthy recipes that I have collected over the years. There is a note in my back pocket (it actually hangs above my desk but I think you get my meaning) that says, “start and don’t stop until you finish.” Also there are quiet times and prayer and I won’t lie, probably too much crying but none of that is new. I don’t spot a resolution in there at all.

All this to say that we are good here. Struggling, hurt, wounded, afraid, anxious, unnerved maybe- probably, for sure. But we are together. We are loved and comforted. We are seen and heard, known and that is huge. We are prayerful and full of hope even in our doubt. I think we know each other better which is a lot, maybe everything. I hope that you are well where you are. I pray that you are comforted when you need comfort and strengthened when you need strength and loved. All of it really. Not to sound too preachy but you are not alone, I hope that is something that we all can know deeply when it matters.

Peace friends, t

PS. I will join Ginny if I don’t forget 🙂

Away

The sun sets behind a building made of wood and stone and earth: time. She is a fireball in the sky. Burning orange with her shoulders wide, arms stretched out over the horizon, head back and into the sky.

I am passenger on swift moving train racing over the miles like wind past this scene. It is slow and beautiful and fierce and fast and sad.

Pale blues give way to deeper shades. I try to remember. I must stir. I must wake. I must write it down.

Lost are those long slender days when pain was less known to these bones. Fists clenched but the days have slipped through. The decades are left, waylaid and unremembered.

With the darkening sky weariness settles in as my eyelids close. And the gentlest wisp of cloud carries even these memories away, tucking them safely into its billowed folds: past.

Anxiety

From the ear buds the soft monotone voices speak slowly enough for sleep to come to me. Silence is too full of the unknown for my tired mind to manage.

Asleep like I am in a race. Running from thought to thought. From dream to awake to the places still and dark between them to running again.

The sound of the dogs breathing heavy, the train in the distance, horn blaring into all the places of the town. long wailing horn rising over fence and building and dumpster and on into the night full with their miles of Winter bare fields. Every sound heard and felt and sending mind to wander and run and search and never find.

Tiny and not so tiny people creaking in over the planks and into our bed wedging themselves into the spaces between he and I. My body unable to turn right onto my back. Unable to fully extend my legs unless I turn and twist myself diagonal.

Words in the smoothest script on so many pieces of paper tossed into the air fall to tables edge and metal chair and hard-wood floors and the scramble begins. Decide what to do, do and decide again what to do.

Anxiety

16 Dec 2020

Making For Others {HK edition}

I’m having trouble starting this post. I hope you are well. It’s been such a strange Spring. We are well, although our season was hard. Hard. Hard. We’ve made it back to solid ground now. Standing on solid surfaces holding hands with each other now and Jesus. Maybe someday I’ll say here why this season was so difficult. Maybe not.

I haven’t been reading a lot at all. I did listen to The Waiting, It stirred a lot of surprising emotions and made me think deeper about my kids birth moms which is a good thing I think. I picked up Father Brown off my shelf but haven’t read more than a few pages. I seem to be in a bit of a reading rut but now that school is officially out for all the kids (as of Friday) maybe I’ll add a “reading hour” to our daily routine and join them. I’m knitting the Be Brave Wrap and have cast on Rye Light socks. I’’m going to link this post to Ginny’s May Yarnalong, I know— it’s a miracle.

We are so near Summer that I can almost feel the heat. Soon we will all start our mornings outside and stay as long as we can stand it before retreating to the cool indoors for the remainder of the day. I’ve been thinking about how we’ll shape our days here. We all need routine to feel some safety, some calm. Something solid to soothe our wondering.

But this year is not like any other year. I can’t see us coming out into crowds in the near future. I’m still content to go out for groceries on my own or even better asking hubby to bring them after work. We are staying in on purpose, I’m thankful that we can and mindful that not everyone can.

I am acutely aware of a few groups of people far away who cannot just go out in the near empty streets to play before returning to the cool comfort of large rooms. Of elderly men and women who work all through the day in whatever season it is. They push large stacks of cardboard that they collect in the streets of their city. It is their occupation. It is the way they make very little money that they will try to live on in one of the most expensive cities in the world.

When they are able to return home it is often to tiny and uncomfortable spaces (cage homes) stuffed with all of their belonging. Sometimes they never get to leave the elements. Never get to get in out of the heat or cold. Never get to leave the wind or the rain completely. Some (and more than you might think) will tuck themselves behind or beneath stacks of their bags and belonging tucked under bridges or corners outside. No matter how harsh the weather.

All of their circumstances add up to a terribly hard way of life. Some have been known to sleep at tables where families gather to happily eat their French fries in the daytime hours. Although I am not sure those dining rooms are open for those nights of restless sleep these days.

This faithful group serves these elderly poor (and many others in Asia) everyday.

I am also thinking of children who’ve moved into the same city with their families. Moved from other countries into the full to overflowing city that is Hong Kong. These children have their own first language but in school, and to be able to do school, they learn Chinese and English all at the same time. Their lessons are hard. The places they live are often full and are always small. But it is a blessing that there is an indoors to go to.

My friend and his family serve these children, and others. They offer tutoring after school, even during breaks when other kids get a respite from schoolwork. They offer kid’s clubs of all sorts, neighbor ministries and vacation Bible schools along with the near daily tutoring. They offer care, support, resources and prayers to these children and their families and in this season masks, gloves and sanitizer when they have them to give. Shanti (which means peace in Hindi) Ministries serves so well asylum seekers and ethnic minorities in Hong King everyday.

This season I am putting my fingers to work for the elderly poor in Honk Kong. Things to keep them warmer next Winter. And also for the children in my friends clubs and for their mamas or aunties. I’ve been thinking about this for a very long time.

I think I’ve been overwhelmed before the start. Decided my little bit is not enough. But setting that aside I’ve set to work and My process has always been something akin to what Elizabeth Chanin says about infusing the thread in her hand sewn creations with good intentions, rather my solitary work will also be filled with slow and intentional prayers for the ones who will wear them.

This is how I tend work. Praying for who would receive the gift. I’m not fast but in every stitch of the handmade thing there is also love and prayers. Hope and redemption is prayed for. That hearts would know the love of God and seek Him. Health and freedom and strength in the good and bad. Grace and mercy and peace. All good things from heaven for them.

Edited June 2020: I’m using a few free patterns to make these works- or at least that is the plan today. I’ve cast on going to focus on hats. I like this free two-by-two hat pattern and This similar free hat pattern. The rib makes for a stretchy comfy fit for any size head.

Here are a few free patterns that you might like to use: This is the pattern for mittens. This is the pattern for a hat. This is the pattern for super warm woolen socks. I like this one for the mamas and aunties. I also like this hat a lot. I made for one of the boys on his birthday. It’s very stretchy so I reckon it would fit many heads. I’ll add other patterns here if I need to.

Feel free to join me. Or rather, would you consider joining me? You can send them straight to the ministries in HK (linked above) or send them here and I will send in the later days of Fall November, whichever you prefer.

Please pray. And remember that you can always send them financial donations if you prefer. It will not be wasted. Promise. Inquire about any of this and share as you like and thanks for stopping in.

Blessings, t