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’ll flip my own routine on its head soon to make room for this change. No more yoga alone in my closet first thing rather it will be how I end my days. I am starting to crave cold chicken salad sandwiches and all sorts of salads for dinners. This is a sure sign of Summers coming.

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 everyday 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 this is hard. All of their circumstances adding 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.

There are faces and names I remember from the millions. They sit in my minds eye and they float above my head in that place where I put all the heavy hard things that I feel and wonder how to reach. Although these hearts have often landed in my prayers, whispered in the night or morning hours lately I’ve pulled them closer. Brought them ever nearer. It is heavier. It is burden. And the words breaking free from pen or lips fly and catch in the fingers and heart of our Good and Faithful Father.

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. It’s been words spoken just behind my ears. It’s been a song sung a little above my head. It’s been typewritten notes set down on the tables of my heart. But I’ve not fully accepted the note as addressed to me. Not opened my ears enough to let the words tell me all the words that have needed to be heard. Not let the song become a song that I would sing. Until now.

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 pray as I do, singing that song. Grasping the notes or burden close to my heart. 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 while I make each sock or hat or mitten my slow and 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 and considering and communicating for the ones who would receive the gift. I’m not that fast, I don’t need to be. There are mistakes. Nothing I make is perfect. But in every stitch of the handmade thing there is also intertwined and mixed throughout it 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.

I’m using a few free patterns to make these works- or at least that is the plan today. I’ve cast on these socks. This is the pattern for the mittens. This is the pattern for the hat. This is the pattern for the super warm woolen socks. I like this 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. 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, 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

July {yarnalong}

I must confess that the photos I stole from my Instagram while the house sleeps are from June and not July. Our five kids and two wee visitors, hubby, the two dogs and the cat are all still, amazingly, asleep. So I type with the phone held above my head in the dim morning light now, unable and unwilling to fetch all my projects and find some lighting and a spot to take real July pictures. My apologies.

I was doing that thing I do in the early hours of the day where I slide my phone from the night stand / desk and check all the places that I check before the world around here gets moving too fast. Email. Facebook. Instagram. Bible App for the verse of the day etc. I saw that Ginny had posted on Instagram her July Yarnalong was up and I felt I should join her.

I have been slow with the blogposts this past Spring. Weeks of sickness and then recovery left me unwilling to do more than the basics in life. I’ve been fairly productive on the crafting side of things though now that I’m feeling more myself. So here goes it.

I finished The Path Between Us by Suzanne Stabile and picked up (again) Becoming by Michelle Obama. Both are tremendously good books of differing sorts and I recommend them to you and to everyone.

I’m knitting socks (not pictured here) that I started in the Spring. I might add a picture later. I’m also knitting a sweater which is pictured that I started several years ago. Recently I decided that finishing things long left unfinished might be a good practice for me, a doing repressed four on the enneagram. We. Will. See. So far just working on the long neglected things feels really good. Feels like needed progress.

I did also start a wee hand quilted… something. I started out thinking it was a baby’s Summer quit. I’m not too sure of that anymore. As I work with the fabric bunched up in my hand and move the needle up down and over with my other hand I feel such deep joy in it’s making.

When the fabric is pulled taut in my quilters hoop and my eyes and fingers can run over the stitches in their varying lengths and colors, it feels less like a quilt and more like art. I wish every project felt this way. Maybe this is just because it’s a new kind of project for me, I don’t really know yet. It really is so lovely to work on though.

Thanks for stopping by and happy knitting or crocheting or crafting and reading!

Yarnalong {January}

Oh my, it’s January- and that means that it is time for Ginny’s monthly Yarnalong.

I knit a bunch of radiator mittens for the kids in December and started another crochet sock yarn blanket. This is the place where I found a pattern that I’m using as a guideline.

I cast on 294 + 2 and this blanket will be twin size. I haven’t decided what I’ll do with it yet. Of course I want to keep it, but it feels like something to gift.

I haven’t read much of this book at all in the last month or so. I’m only half way through it. It is a beautifully written book but all the pain in its pages lands a bit too close to home for me.

I’m starting this one today for a fresh start in the New Year and I think when it’s not so gloomy outside my windows or inside my rooms I’ll finish the other.

I didn’t make any resolutions this year. I did write something a bit broody and poetic about 2018 and made a list of longing for 2019 but I have no tidy New Years resolutions to share. It just isn’t that kind of ending/ beginning this go around and that’s okay by me.

Did you make resolutions? Set goals? Have plans for 2019? Do share!

I pray your year is filled with hope and peace for you and yours. And please remember that God is for you.

~tina

September Yarnalong # 1

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September is my absolute favorite month. It is the ending of the hottest days of the year and the beginning of cooler and dimmer days. I trade my tall cups full of ice and unsweetened tea for cozy cups of steaming hot teas. I start thinking about knitting for Christmas and making menus for the coming colder days.

The end of Summer means the roasting of chili and the frantic canning of prickly pear jelly and there is always the silent promise for all the comforting foods of my younger family filled holidays finding their way into our kitchen. I’ll begin to crave posole and tamales and warm flour tortillas.

This year September is extra special because it brought us a finalized adoption of our nearly eleven-year-old son. He moved in last November and as he found a place his own in our chaotic every day he slipped into all of our hearts, one at a time and in each owns quiet or not so quiet moments shared.

It has been a time full of challenges and learning curves, of failures and of so much grace that I can’t even begin to tell you. Sometimes it is hard to become family. Harder still to become friends when all the hurts burn at the ears and even the subtlest change can remind him (or any one of us) of other days and years spent in harder places.

But these days brothers are becoming friends. He and biggest sister becoming downright pals and the little girls are finding a playmate unexpected in the big boy who is tough on the outside and so tender-hearted on the inside.

Even the five-year-old is softening to him which is huge because there has been some kind of strange competition between them since he moved in with us. Maybe some fear that one’s adoption is more special than the others and so they’ve been at odds much of the past ten months he has been with us. Yesterday as his adoption became final in the same courtroom hers was in last year, she hugged his legs and smiled up at him and it felt to me like a breakthrough of sorts. Maybe the kind only a mama notices but it was something, I just know it.

I couldn’t find words when the judge asked me what he had brought to our family. I’m not the best speaker even when I am prepared but on-the-fly, I’m downright terrible. I’d say now though that he brought us to hope for his future and somehow that spilled out and over and hope grew for each of us. I’d say that he brought us all a bigger, wider and deeper understanding of Father’s love as we learn to choose to love him and ask him to choose to love us as well even when things are really very terribly hard. He also brought laughter and joy even though there is sadness mixed with it. His new with us started from loss and we will be here for him as he walks out his life.

With the finalized adoption we move into a rest time of foster care (if that is a real thing). We’ll do our best to only do respite for other foster families for a time and we hope to use our days and weeks to exhale and finally relax into our new forever family.

I’m re-reading this book (so relevant to adoptive families) and love it so. I had a few copies to give away to other families like ours or to those who would want to wrap around and support or understand better families like ours. I held on tight to my copies and waited for just the right hearts to share them with and was so happy to be able to place them into hands that needed and wanted them so. I have one more to give (if you would like or know someone please ask me) it’s a great read full of heart and wisdom and Jesus love.

I started the devotional you see below and only made it one day. It’s long and thoughtful and requires my attention and my heart. I’ll let you know how I like it when I know.

I’m knitting a wrap called the #bebravewrap by Sally who is @pinkgirlknits on Instagram. It’s a test Knit and I’m liking it so far. It is defiantly working at getting me out of my knitting or lack of knitting rut.

There is much else to say, but I think that for now I am done. Hints for later are that I started a new job last month or wait, the month before and I took a team to Asia to work with migrant workers children left behind and other wonderful works with the poor and immigrants. I didn’t plant a garden this year but hubby did for me while I was away which was too sweet and so very loving. It was a Summer full of joy and sorrow and growth and at some point, I will share about all of it. I hope. I plan to but yeah, sometimes I’m just waiting on words.

I’m joining Ginny for Yarnalong. Blessings and peace friends.

A New Year & Yarn Along

It is a New Year. One of my resolutions is to read more – or rather to read entire books- you know, to the end. I always have a stack of books that I am “reading” but I have not finished many books this year, err this past year. Too busy or tired or vegging out in front of the t.v.

A stack of unfinished books leaves me feeling that I am behind which leaves me feeling stressed. Boo. For someone who loves the well written word- it is wrong that my stacks of beautiful books should leave me feeling something so ridiculous as stress. I love books. I love to read. I must figure out how to enjoy them again. That is my goal. ❤

Just now I am reading Blood And Thunder and I am Knitting some socks- no pattern just socks. I’ve knit enough socks to wing it now. The yarn is ZOMBIE something-or-another (I lost the info) and a white wildfoote luxury sock yarn.

I was so happy that Ginny started Yarn Along again 🙂 I nearly forgot- but managed a post just for the occasion and am so pleased to join her today. Yay, thank you ma’am for starting it up again!

TWO MORE THINGS: ✌️

I wanted to add my favorite resource of the week is this podcast the topic is How To Provide A Healing Home For Wounded Children. It is so good. Gosh- can’t even tell you- so good. If you do foster care or have adopted please have a listen. ❤

Also if you need a sock pattern- one you can really rely on- you might try this one (it is free) I love all of her work.

Okay folks, have a blessed day!<
Tina

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. ❤️