Monday, April 20, 2015

Love What You Do

"Love What You Do" says the reclaimed artwork that looms over the credenza in my knitting studio. It's nestled on the wall right next to another that says, "She BELIEVED she could, so she DID." And then there is the little plaque that greets me each morning on my nightstand to remind me:

Dear You,
Now is the time to follow your heart's 
deepest calling.

Each of these bits of literary artwork inspire within me a sense of hope and encouragement. We all need encouragement from time to time, and if you're even a little like I am, you're probably the first to abandon yourself and your dreams when the going gets tough or when emotions are low.

My son sent me a short text note over the weekend. It was just a simple, "I am missing you" message, and I responded in kind. He grabbed ahold of his dream for entrepreneurship last year, and I watched him awe-inspired as he grasped it with abandon. I've been toying with this dream and idea of working within the knitting industry for a few years, but logistics and the economy have kept me from moving forward. At times, I find myself feeling deeply disappointed at my inaction, yet at the same time, I know that I also greatly value my personal freedom. I expressed my quandary to my son.

Without skipping a beat, he served up words of encouragement and a suggestion for how I might have it all and have it all work.  

It has given me new direction... a sense of refreshment within my spirit. I want to start, immediately, and I see nothing in my way.

Sometimes, everything you need is right at your just need a fresh perspective.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Finding the Light at the End of the Tunnel

These last couple of days... yep, they were those kind of days when you begin to feel strangely like yourself again after what feels like a long and desperate storm. After a solid month of rushing from moment to moment to take care of the details surrounding our move, my husband and I had a weekend that left us feeling like... well... ourselves again!

Sensing that I was at my threshold of overload, my husband spent the day on Saturday just helping me hang pictures and move out some boxes from our front rooms. I'm not sure what tipped him off. Perhaps it was the wide glossy crazy eyes, or a permanently furrowed brow. We decided before our move to change the furnishings of the front room, but hadn't yet acquired what we wanted, and so that entire half of the house sits in an awkward disarray.

Saturday, after hanging some art, we ventured out to purchase the furnishings. Stopping for lunch at one of our favorite weekend spots, we enjoyed some unseasonably warm sunshine, then trekked across the city to our favorite furnishings shop. Finalizing our selections and scheduling delivery, we felt we had turned the corner on the progress of our move. The listing for our previous home was finalized, and we were knocking out the details needed to truly settle into our new home.

Sunday morning, I reacquainted myself with my knitting. Whispering "I hope I remember how to do this" at my husband, I consulted notes I made in my pattern before our move.  It was as if I had never spent 4 weeks away from the needlecraft I love, and I sat clicking through rows of decreasing knits and purls while listening to the day's message.

After service, my little guy and I shared some "crack nuts" on the playground while we sat in the sun. It was good to just enjoy some of the simple pleasures of our life before the move.

The weekend was exactly what I needed in every way, and left me encouraged that everything just may be long as we walk through it together. And, that light I see at the end of the tunnel... it really isn't a train.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Help! Our Move Ate My Life!

My life has been consumed with moving. Over the last four weeks, every waking moment of my life has been filled with have-tos. It has been an emotionally and physically exhausting endeavor to transition from our home where we have lived for sixteen years to a new home 40 minutes across town.

Each room of the home we left was like a time capsule. Packing was the arduous process of sifting through years of "awww, we need to keep this" to "where did this come from?" There were trophies from every imaginable sport the children played, yearbooks they left behind, binders of school work and adorable writings from a child's perspective which commanded to be preserved. 

And not one detail transpired with ease... not one. The refrigerator (delivered 3 weeks after move-in) doesn't work, and as we scramble every other day across town to our former home to make it ready for listing, the tasks are both overwhelming and difficult.

I long for a moment to pick up my knitting, stretch through a class of Pilates, enjoy some leisurely reading or journal my thoughts on my blog. Running to Target with my little guy for cleaning supplies and little things we need feels like a sinful pleasure.

This afternoon, I headed out for a half-hour guitar lesson... a guilty reward for the weeks of hard work, and time away from my instrument. Yet ten minutes into the compute for my lesson near our old house, I realized I hadn't placed my guitar on the seat next to me in the car. I called my husband to vent about just (really) how difficult the simplest of things have become. Finishing our call, the bluetooth in the car switched back to radio with Mandisa singing, "...He knows, that this is gonna make you stronger, stronger!" I smiled at the irony (irony?) of the timing.

I would love to say that the rest of the day ironed out just the way I would have loved for it to be,  but this isn't a blog on fiction. Yet when the struggle was over, my husband brought home dinner, poured for me a glass of Pinot Noir, and gave me a moment to just sit and put my thoughts together...and this tiniest of minutes, just to pour myself out in my blog, has been the bit of medicine my heart needed., where did I unpack those knitting needles?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Packing Boxes Filled with Memories

We were not in the market for a new home. Yet, in January, my husband and I found ourselves making an offer on a residence across town. Having raised our family in our 2-story home, our kids have since started their own families, oddly enough I always thought, on the other side of town. A half-hour's drive across the city, they have often teased about having us move closer to them in order that they may have easier access to us.

Now that escrow has closed and we have the keys to our new home in hand, it is time to begin the arduous task of packing a home that has known us for nearly seventeen years. My youngest son has been away from home for six years, so I thought beginning in my youngest son's bedroom would be the easiest place to start.  A full six hours later, I began to feel the overwhelm of the task before me.

His room was like a time capsule for a span of years encompassing the bulk of his life. Within the drawers and closet shelves I found remnants of our life together... projects, artwork, cards, photographs, and trinkets that held the history of his story growing up.

Within the space of four walls, I saw glimpses of pivotal moments in his life. There were pictures of trips we had made together and travel he had done alone. I found snip-its of encouragement I had offered him in areas that held for him personal struggle, children's stories wherein I had scribbled some words of love or a wish for what was yet to be, evidence of great accomplishment and growth, and shadows of some of his hours of grief and pain.

There were little stories he had written through the eyes of a very small child, and papers from his years in college.  Nestled next to his dresser was a small fortune in AP study guides and texts on how to write college entrance essays.

It was an exhausting day of sorting through drawers and corners of paper and trinkets, yet this process of re-experiencing each moment was a gift I didn't know I had waiting for me behind the double glass doors leading to the room where he spent his years at home.

We grow and change in a lot of ways, but I find that (mostly) who we are at our core simply matures. I have loved each stage of my life with this boy... and while I am looking forward to this new chapter of making memories in our new home across town, I will hold tightly to the memories I made with my family in this place we called home.

Monday, February 9, 2015


Change is difficult for me. I've noticed (about myself) that I generally resist change... I struggle with the notion that something is changing, then after I've had my initial objection, I adapt and make peace with the recalibration. There is a feeling of insecurity that comes for me with the concept of change. I grew up in a family that moved often and the process of losing and making new friends combined with the overall dysfunction of my natural family system instilled a sense of insecurity. This year, I am braced for a series of changes, and while I genuinely look forward to what I see on my horizon, it is also with an quiet knowing that stress is often the best friend to change.

A girlfriend who worked at my office resigned a week ago to move to another (less stressful) working environment. She is a giving and deeply thoughtful person whose great strength is making people feel special. I was glad that she had the opportunity to move onto something that would bring her more fulfillment, yet there was some discomfort for me in knowing that I would have to say goodbye to sharing my workday with her. I knitted for her a cup cozy, so she would feel wrapped in friendship as we said our best wishes.

Running in to Banana Republic to exchange a sweater this week, I admired a saying their Visual Designer had scribbled onto a wall that had previously held shirts. "Yes!" I thought, as I snapped a photo of it to text to my son. This small phrase encapsulates my 3-day work-week like my personal mission statement.

How often the third step is missed in the work-place as we scurry about our business days trying to accomplish the second. I often will say that I like "the easy button", but I believe that what I really mean, is that I like things... people... to play nicely. It is not challenge that I resist, but the unpleasantness (and exhaustion) of people who don't play well with others.

Whether the cup ends up holding her coffee or the pencils on her new desk, I hope the thought that I made it especially for her wraps her heart with a sense of friendship.

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Road of Good Intentions is Long

Good intentions. We all have them from time to time, and I would venture to say... even most of the time. Despite the ugliness I occasionally see in the world, I still have a core belief that most people are well-intentioned at heart. I have been hurt by people I care about along this road of life as, I am sure, so have you, but I still believe that (for the most part), it is rarely by intention.

I have great intentions at times that I don't fulfill. I have dreamed great dreams that I didn't pursue, or made resolutions I failed to keep. If I express I promise, it's as good as gold... but those good intentions... (for some reason) seem to lack the commitment of an actual verb. There's no go with a great intention.

They say that it's the thought that really counts, and I would agree that there is deep and meaningful value in the thought. Yet we can intend to do a vast amount of good in this world, and never change a single thing with only our thoughts. In order to have a relevant impact on the world, or even our own lives, action is the thing that is required.

Organizing my knitting office recently, I came across a couple of mostly-finished projects I had intended to finish. I had purchased extraordinary fiber, spent hours pouring over pattern instructions, then for whatever reason, became distracted with what I had initially set out to do. My intention was not nearly enough, for without the commitment to follow through, it drifts away on the wind of a new distraction like dandelion seed on the breeze.

The Road of Good Intentions points as far as as you can see, but I would venture to say, that it doesn't really lead to anywhere. Whatever we set out to do or accomplish... when I think about my relationships, my ministry work, my job, my knitting.. requires attentive and voluntary action. Success doesn't always come easily, but things of lasting value rarely do.

Is there something you have always intended to do? With a little commitment, intention can become the next great something.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Life is Busy But Things Can Wait

Life is busy. It seems like there is simply never enough time to do everything I really want to do... which is crazy to me because most of my life I managed a full-time career, while juggling the responsibilities of also being a full-time wife and mother.  As I look back now, I wonder how I managed to do anything else at all. Scaling back to only 3 days a week, it seems like I should have plenty of time for extras, yet I find myself week after week, rushing to fit in all the seeds I've planted on my mind and heart that week.

New Year's Eve, I cast-on the first row for a cardigan I am making for my son. The yarn is a gorgeous 100% mink in the richest sea-water blue, and it knits into the softest imaginable fabric. The strand is a very fine gauge and the color is dark, so the pattern knits up slowly (yet wonderfully) as I knit and purl fine rows of even stockinette stitch on narrow US5 needles.

And the timing of the project seems lengthy as I make my way slowly from one perfect row to the next, clicking in repetition to the anticipated goal of 16 1/4" from my cast-on edge before I receive my next  instruction. I sit working on the project for a couple of hours, then look it over appraisingly to assess the length I think I may have added over the span of those hours.

It is then I am reminded that I need not worry about the timing. I adore knitting and I love knitting for people I care about. Each row I complete with this incredible mink is clicked out with thoughts of my son. I am passionate about this act of creating, and there is blessing in having the time to do this thing I love. Somehow, I will find time to do all the little things I need to do, but for just this moment,  I will take time to hold him in my heart as I knit and purl for him. Sure, life is busy... but I don't want to miss what really matters to me.