Yarnalong {January}

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

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

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.

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. ❤️

Heaps Of Grace {What We Need}

grace
noun  \ ˈgrās \

disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency
a temporary exemption reprieve

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Tipping Scales

Everyone is busy. I know that. The list of things that go on the calendar grows as the family does and we’ve actually learned to be mindful of how many things we do. Every Season has a sport. We do one. Not one for each kid but one. Age groups mean more than one team but that is perfectly acceptable. There are school things, church things and community events. Just now we have two appointments a week for the new kid on the block. Twice a month we work the food pantry and there are Wednesday night Bible study’s and two Sunday services to attend. Birthday parties rarely get attended. We hang out with friends as a family once every few months. Date nights happen about once a month.

I miss a lot of church activities. If one kid is sick we all stay in. If hubby works late (no shade people just facts) sometimes I opt-out of activities if it means it’ll be me and five or six kiddos depending on what day of the week it is. I consider everyone’s moods- including my own. I consider who is tired, who is whiny, how many meltdowns we’ve had since we walked in the door, who hasn’t finished homework, how many appointments we have that day or practices and how many showers are needed before bedtime. Every day these sorts of things go on a set of scales in my minds eye and sometimes the Stay Home Side wins and sometimes the Go Out Side wins but its a war for some semblance of balance. Sometimes it is all me who needs a break although I don’t recall the last time we all stayed in for that reason. It does happen sometimes though, I m sure of it. She said, unapologetically.

There is a quiet and sometimes not so quiet disappointed bunch of people in our lives. God bless them. I know that they mean well. They want the best for our family. Truth be told, I don’t want them to stop asking us to things or to stop giving us a little jab when we miss something. Sometimes we do need a little push. Sometimes you just gotta get out and be with other people no matter how many times someone looks sideways at my kid not behaving or my impatience clearly worn on my sleeve. We need the fellowship and a little grace. Nope. I take that back- we need heaps of grace. Heaps. Of. Grace.

I don’t think most jabs need a lot of words from me. They just don’t know. They are not up in the night because of night terrors or coughing fits meant to make kid throw-up so said kid can get care that we are already giving but they are not feeling or believing in. They don’t know what we know about our kiddos lives before us or even the really difficult, medicated and painful start for our bio kids lives. They don’t deal with the weight of all these little hearts and minds on shoulders. As much as they love or enjoy our family it’s not their job to get these guys fed, hydrated, enough sleep, blood sugars balanced and pockets filled with tools to help them navigate life that is hard for them. I’m reminding myself that they just don’t know and that is okay. Say what they like- if I know, if I understand that then I can be okay with their disappointment. And that is one of my hurts from childhood so yeah just another perk of this life we’ve chosen, “more healing for this mama’s wounded heart, yaaaay”.  Everything there in quotes said like Kristen Wiig when she is feigning joy.

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Self-care – Wikipedia

Selfcare includes all health decisions people (as individuals or consumers) make for themselves and their families to ensure they are physically and mentally fit.

 

Tick Tock (Dang it!)

On most weekdays I drop most of the kids off at school in the morning. It is home to clean and have a little one on one time with the youngest (it is too cold these days for a morning walk). An errand or two and then she is off to school just before lunch. Immediately after I make a stop for one of our kids at another school- every school day. After that I run home and meet hubby for lunch, if its that kinda day. Sometimes my niece is at the house so we hang out. Sometimes I grab a walk. Sometimes I run an errand or two or three. Mostly I am keenly aware of the ticking of the clock. No extra errands will get me home at 12:20 leaving me with two hours until school pick-ups begin again. Five or six kids spread out over three schools- it’s a tiny town so not as bad as it sounds. Home, snacks and homework and the wheels turn until bedtime.

Suddenly I am ever so keenly aware that there is ONE WEEK UNTIL CHRISTMAS BREAK which means THREE FULL WEEKS WITH ALL THE KIDS OUT OF SCHOOL. Not as big a deal as the all caps might suggest, but almost. It is time though to do some prep-care for myself. It is time to fill my pockets with grace and a plan that I can fall back on when things get tough. I will utilize my favorite three self-care tools in ruthless and determined preparation- I make that promise to myself right now. As soon as I get the chance I will walk ten miles and pray and sing out loud and maybe cry. I haven’t been on the trail in a week, yep. But school breaks mean I get short walks with all the kids which is a different kind of beautiful blessing which I am thankful for – an adjustment to one of my tools for the care of all of us.

Yesterday I found myself battling my own to-do list. Not the kind of list that one writes down but the kind of list that always exists hanging above one’s head. A list of expectations unrealistic and weighty. I’d been home for 30 minutes or so. It had been a full morning of laundry and straightening of hair (yeah I don’t usually but it has proved to be the only way to wear my hair down in this climate). It was Walmart for groceries, the preschooler’s lunch made, dressed in layers, washed and hair brushed (wait no not that one) and off to school. I stopped at brothers school and then had a talk with his principal because it had been that kinda day.

I’d made it home, unloaded the groceries, a bit more laundry (N-E-V-E-R E-N-D-I-N-G -said in a scary prolonged whisper). As I put the groceries away I consider cleaning out the fridge. While I spray the door knobs with disinfectant (because someone is sick) I consider freeing the white wall of all the grubby little hand prints and smears of -oh gosh- I don’t know what. While I walk from one room to another, picking up little bits of tissue (??) from the floors I consider sweeping and while I use the restroom I seriously consider scrubbing the toilets. Even as I fill the kettle for my tea I consider emptying the dishwasher but Oh Lord, there is always going to be something to do. I clean. The kids have chores. But Seven and sometimes 8 people live here. On this particular day I choose self-care instead of anything from that list always hanging above my head.

I just needed to quickly remove all the toys from my line of sight (tossing them beneath the coffee table for the win). I  ignore the grass on the wood floors that the dogs have brought in. I turned the Christmas tree lights on and lit my pretty smelling candle, brewed that cup of really lovely tea and blew the dust off of my pretty tray. My knitting, the TV remote and my tea arranged just so on the pretty green and white tray within reaching distance. Feet up, legs covered and cozy beneath afghan and now I am left with 1 hour and 15 minutes (because I stopped to make a note of my thoughts in my phone). It is  just about enough time for an entire episode of the Crown Season 2. Episode 1 on Netflix. Woo Hoo.

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I feel like I need to say it: I don’t just get time to myself. I have to make a conscious effort to make that time and then to use it well. Yesterday it was ignoring the mess and having some time to veg and knit and recharge. Today I have a plan to play basketball with the kiddos. Fresh air and repetitive movements good for every-single-one-of-us. Tomorrow I might get to take that walk because you know if there is even-the-slightest chance I am going to take it no matter how tired I am. Or a nap, Oh Lord wouldn’t that be nice? What are your fave ways to care for you? My top three self-care tool are –like duh– but I’ll tell you anyhow:

1. Getting enough sleep.
2. A long walk in the fresh air.
3. Healthy food which is not at all what I crave but we gotta do what we gotta do.

Favorite Resource Of The Week

How To Handle Overstimulation During The Holidays
The Honestly Adoption Podcast- Season 8, Episode 69
Seriously. So. Good. In our house right now we have one very active, high energy sensory seeking kid and one (easily overwhelmed) sensory avoiding kid. The other kids fall somewhere in the middle of both sides of the pendulum. This weeks podcast was super helpful in reminding me what some of my kids will need this holiday season and gave lots of tips on how to do what I️ need to do to keep everyone regulated and cared for. Last weeks was good too!

Favorite Knitting Of The Week

This week I am knitting a baby prezzie for a friend- a favorite designer and pattern for sure. I am way behind and baby is coming soon so I’d best get off this computer and get back to knitting- after I feed the kiddos lunch I suppose. Take care of you first mama and dad and caretakers of all kinds really.

Fave Slightly-Sarcastic-But-Absolutely-Relevant Self-Care Tip

✈️ When the air masks fall as the airplane plummets be sure to put your mask on first- you know, so you’re awake and alert to put the mask on the loves that you care for. 👊🏼

Blessings,
~Tina