Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Ever since Christmas day I have been focused on the new year. This week so far has been full of plans and work to make things ready for 2011. We cleared out the closets that so easily become over-run and even tackled the basement in this effort to start fresh. Everything is plain, clean, and simple today.

Brian and I have some very different ideas about what daily life should be. This book-nerd girl married a tech-geek guy, and while there is sometimes a clash born out of that difference, there is one thing we agree on: Keep It Simple.

Last year I named my year presence. Brian was in school 20 hours for his last semester of college plus working 60+ hours a week and I felt a little crazy keeping everything together with house, kids and studio while he was mostly absent from daily life. The focus on presence helped me to narrow my mind to only the task at hand, instead of my brain scattering through all the tasks for the day and even week.

And did I accomplish what I set out to do? Sort of.

The thing is, I tried to do it. I tried to make it happen instead of truly making it prayerful and focused with God in the center. I tried to make it the way I wanted it instead of letting God shape it, and what a more glorious thing that would have been! Oh what I missed due to selfishness!

Has it really been 5 months since I felt like God dropped me so that I would have no choice but to let Him re-make me? I know now that it was the only way to have such a massive change of attitude. I know now that He didn't drop me, I hit that bottom on my own where I could finally admit my defeat and all I could say was

God, I cannot do this. I need you.

As I thought about a word for this year, there have been many to cross my mind. I can hardly settle on one, it seems, because no one word seems to encompass my spiritual need.

For this year, my word is Change.

If I could subtitle it for clarity I'd include: Grow, Reach, Be Willing, Abide, Pray.

And it's all a little scary. I mean, at any time God could ask me to really grow, to reach for God-sized things, to be willing to go, to stay, to do hard things... And if He really asks? How do I step forward? What is the next thing?

... and that's where I get stuck. That's why the word for this year is Change. I revert again and again to my natural state of doubt and worry, my need to know what the next step will be, what exactly might be asked of me so I can plan for it and be prepared...

And yet God doesn't always give us next steps. And I think in my case He may not for a very long time if ever because I seem to desire that information so very much. I need a re-boot, a full change in perspective, if you will, and this is the year for change.

Is it simple? Not at all. I'm a little worried about that, since it so goes against the established order around here, but this is my step forward in faith. Taking the things that are a little messy, a little complicated, a lot different, and proceeding anyway. Praying, centered on God, trusting that He guides my progress.


Ann Voskamp invites us this week to define the coming year. You can visit her at A Holy Experience.

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Knits, Part 1

This year I made more of our gifts than ever before- 7 gifts in all knit over the last three months. I was so worried about not being finished in time that I started in October with the Kernel scarf, and kept going straight through.

First up on the Christmas Knits tour are the Elf Shoes [Rav link]:

Please forgive the flash photos, but Christmas came early in the morning this year- this is the first year Ezra has really understood how Christmas morning works and his usual waking time is about 6:30 a.m., so it was even earlier than that....

My boys have wide feet and since I felt like the felting process would be pretty forgiving I made them both the youth size. I was a little nervous about the sizing, but it turned out well. The boys definitely needed the extra width!

I took them yarn shopping with me for this project, but told them it was for a secret project. They did catch me working on them once or twice, but fortunately at points in the projects when they couldn't tell what they were!

These took about 4-5 hours per pair to knit and then 2 cycles through my washer to felt to the correct size. I used plastic bags wadded up inside the slippers to block them since I didn't want the boys to know what their gift was and I was surprised at how well that worked! Again, I was nervous after they were dry that they had felted just a bit too small, but they turned out perfectly.
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