The wrap is finished aside from a little fringe being added and doll number two is just about done. Finished up reading The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory. Love her writing.
Now just perusing the new knitting book my dear man gave me for Christmas, planning my reading list, and waiting on some patterns to arrive. So looking forward to creating and reading this coming year.
I will be taking this week off from blogging as our family prepares for Christmas and works toward restoring some balance and rhythm to our days after a crazy month and a half. Have a blessed Christmas everyone!
While I wait on the pattern for the Mother Bear Project to arrive I am working on another little doll. It's simple and easy and I can knit without too much thought. (this lovely bug I can't shake has required meds that make me a bit loopy)
On the reading side I have taken a slight break from Grace for the Good Girl. Why the Nativity seemed to be a fitting distraction for the season. Also, I just finished Out of Oz by Gregory Maguire. Great way to end the Wicked series.
Next week with it being term break I am hoping to get in lots of knitting and reading in all my "spare" time. :)
Our family homeschools for many reasons with one of the chief reasons being the state of our public school system in America. And I am not saying it's the teachers. There are so many rules and standards to meet along with too large class sizes, not enough supplies, lack of extras like music that it effects our children's education.
Lately there have been a couple of articles put out that convince me even further that homeschooling (for now) is the right choice.
same as last week.....too many issues to have time for a new pic
Still plugging away at the wrap and Grace for the Good girl.....illness and other stresses have kept me from much knitting or reading. Really hoping for a peaceful week to remedy that.
I did find a few projects for my new stash of yarn. First up is a bear for the Mother Bear Project. Then a sweater for World Vision's Knit for Kids. These sweet little children need so much and I have so much extra that I feel compelled to share. Then hopefully a sweater for myself.....still looking at patterns for that one. And a hat for the hubby and little girl. In the midst of all this knitting I am hoping to finish Grace for the Good Girl, Simplicity Parenting, and Three Cups of Tea.
So, lots of knitting and reading on my plans for the week. Praying they are not derailed.
all that 's missing is the small man wreaking havoc :)
The clutter, piles, cramped spaces, and general mess that typically annoy me are evidence of a full, well lived life. Rather than complain that we don't have enough storage space or tell the kids to pickup for the umpteenth time I still myself and quiet my tongue. Instead, I enjoy the mess (knowing it won't be here forever) and enjoy the life I have in this moment.
Our life has been going full-tilt lately with numerous emergencies, illnesses, commitments, and about a thousand other things. In the midst of all of the crazy there has been no time for simple, intentional living. It's been chaos and busyness going from one mess to another. The peace we long for our family to have has been tossed aside this past month.
Resting in God, just rolling with life has not been something I have done. Instead anxiety, stress, control, and anger have consumed me and made an already frustrating time even harder. There has been no peace.
The breaking point came last week as our car sat smoking outside the main gate. Why could our life not be easy? What was God hoping to accomplish by giving me so much more than I can handle?
And that's when His voice was heard. "Give it to me." That's it.
This pressure and stress was not from Him. My need for a carefully ordered, controlled life had made me try to carry all of the burdens on my own and try to fix them under my own strength. And no matter how hard I try I can't "fix" our life right now. So, it was decision time......rest and trust in Him or me. I chose Him.
With that sweet release of just letting God be God again there was peace. Life is still crazy and there are still serious issues to be dealt with this next week, but God is good. He will carry me and my burdens. I need not go alone. Ever.
Readjusting to life with Daddy in our midst. Two, almost three, weeks of illness preventing normal life from occurring. Holidays. Family back home needing help and being unable to provide. No car for a month as it is repaired. The newly fixed car dying a horrible death at the gate. Being given the bill by the polizei for cleanup of the road due to said horrible death. Basketball season beginning.
The stress has mounted this past month. Sleep has been stolen by moments of worry. Tiredness, exhaustion have crept in. Giving up and falling into sleep so I can forget all that has happened sounds so lovely. However, life keeps moving. Step by step I continue to journey on this path God has laid out.
And I give it all to Him. Too broken and tired to continue on alone I give Him all the burdens and feel the release. The rest may not be the way I want, but it has come.
Lists are my friend. Checking off to-dos makes me happy. Organization, schedules, carefully made plans are how I live my life. There are times when those ocd, perfectionist tendencies get in the way though.
Like when I make God another to-do. Or follow my plan rather than His because it feels safer. Or I think I am know better than He does what I need in my life.
That's when life smacks me upside the head and I have to cling desperately to Him, His plan, His purpose. So, I am learning that it is better to not plan. To prepare to meet God, to commune with Him I must let go.....of order, plans, perfection, to-dos, lists, schedules.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."
In the letting go I am free of distraction, made ready to embrace what He has for me in the moment. His plans are good.
Not too much knitting or reading around here. Our little family has been battling the plague for the past couple weeks and it has made it so we don't do much other than cuddle, sleep, and watch movies.
However, my birthday gift arrived and now I need some ideas as to what to do with all this lovely yarn. There are some plans for a sweater.....if I work up the courage.....and a pillow for my sweet girl, but other than that I would love some ideas.
for more knitting and reading inspiration check out small things.
The daily tasks of life......cooking, cleaning, laundry, teaching, mothering, being a wife.....they distract, lead to busyness, rushing, losing sight of what matters.
Fog rolling in, blanketing the countryside, bringing early darkness forces me to pause, to create a spot of light. And in the lighting of the candle the reason why I live this life comes racing back to me.
Christ. Pure and simple.
I want to live my life fully enjoying all that He has graciously given me. Being so crazed that I miss all that He has for me in the moment just isn't working.
And so I slow, I enjoy the quietness and time at home the crazy thick fog provides.
America is a massive consumer culture and that is never more apparent than at Christmas. We buy, buy, buy and then the gifts end up broken, unused, or returned. The focus is shifted from Christ, from love to consuming, selfishness.
Now, I am not saying don't buy any gifts or only give handmade. In our family we choose to give only three gifts (as many as Jesus received from the wisemen) that allow for creativity, open-ended play, family togetherness. Aside from satisfying everyone's gift desires we also try to buy from companies that benefit others like Give Jewelry or World Vision's gift catalog. Then as we give gifts to others we are helping those who have so little. It's a small way to live out our beliefs at Christmas.
So, maybe before you begin your shopping (or finish it) this cyber Monday check out Advent Conspiracy. The premise is simple....worship fully, spend less, give more, love all. Christmas can still be all that you want while still honoring the one who's birth we are celebrating.
No links this weekend (our family has been battling the plague), just some food for thought.....
As you pull out those Thanksgiving leftovers, there is so much more to be thankful for than just the perfect turkey sandwich.
Let's start with sweet potatoes! Besides being delicious, the orange-fleshed sweet potatoes that were on most American tables this Thanksgiving are rich in vitamin A and play an important role in protecting our eyesight.
Sadly for the 127 million pre-school children and 7 million pregnant women who are vitamin A deficient, not everyone is so lucky. In Africa most sweet potatoes are the white variety lacking almost all beta-carotene that the orange sweet potatoes contain and therefore fail to be a source of vitamin A.
In the U.S. it is easy to forget how serious vitamin A deficiency can be. Each year, it is estimated that 670,000 children will die from vitamin A deficiency and 350,000 will go blind. Almost all of these children are in Africa and Southeast Asia.
Approximately 60 children per hour go blind because of vitamin A deficiency. That means in the time it took to defrost and cook the average 15-pound turkey 4,560 children went blind from vitamin A deficiency.
Learn more about how we can protect the sight and health of children and pregnant women all around the world. Head to Million Moms Challenge.
(information taken from email received from million moms challenge.)
Well, between two sick little boys and planning lessons I was able to almost finish the doll and added about 12 rows to the wrap. A few chapters were read of Grace for the Good Girl. Hopefully once everyone is healthy there will be a lot more time for knitting and reading.
For more knitting and reading inspiration head over to smallthings.
Change and I are not friends. The unexpected makes me cringe. New places and situations tend to cause anxiety.
God apparently thought that I needed to get over those feelings. In the last (almost) two years there has been a new little man, Daddy went to Korea for a year....alone....two months after Tim was born, we left family, friends, home and moved to Germany, he left....again......twice (and we've been here only 7 months), the car died and is not exactly a cheap fix.
It's been a learning experience. And as much as I have fought against all the change and chaos thrown my way it's made me stronger. All the things God knew would grow me have done that. I am a better woman, a stronger woman than two years ago. And daily I thank God for it.
Although a slow down on the crazy would be nice. :)
No pics of my stuff.....camera battery dead. Another thing that got sidelined lately. :)
Well, the knitting and reading has been slow going with homecomings, illness, head injuries, and crazy schedules. But, the doll is almost done. The wrap.....eh, that has kind of stalled due to the lack of time to work. I am hoping to get in some dedicated knitting time this weekend though during soccer. Plus, if I get all my projects finished then I will be able to create new pretty things when my giant box of yarn arrives from knitpicks. Yay!
As for the books, I am still plugging away at Grace for the Good Girl and Simplicity Parenting. Reading them right before bed has not worked out. I am so tired I can't keep my eyes open. So along with the knitting getting done by this weekend I am hoping to plow through the books too.
We'll see how my ambitious goals turn out.
For more knitting and reading inspiration head to small things.
This past week has been filled with appointments, illness, head injuries, and myriad other events beyond my control that threw my carefully ordered plans into chaos. Plans were cancelled, extra laundry had to be done, little ones had to learn hard lessons. Yet, in the midst of all the craziness our family spent much needed time together. We talked, laughed, rested. We got to just be.......no expectations, no agenda.
What I thought were huge interruptions to our life were actually a blessing. It allowed me to set aside the dailyness, the routine, the to-do's of life that I impose to fully enjoy my family and re-energize myself. It is yet another evidence of God's grace freely given to me as I learn to be wife, mama, woman who lives to please Him.
Some rhythm to daily life is good, but I think I am going to cherish the interruptions a bit more from now on.
these last two posts were really a message i needed to hear. after a crazy full couple of months and trying too hard to do it all i am slowly remembering that we want to live a simple, intentional life. i do not have to do everything. :)
(Note: there is an actual music video for this song, but I can't link to it from Germany due to certain music rights and whatnot. Check it out if you have the time.)
Even though we live on a small military income, even though I am "just" a stay at home mama I can still make a difference....even if it's a small one. All God asks is for us to love others in whatever way we are able. So, I refuse to not do my part. I choose to be the hands and feet of God.
same as pic from last week. not much has changed. :)
Still plugging away at the wrap and my current reads, Grace for the Good Girl and Simplicity Parenting. There is so much good stuff in them that I have been taking my time to really process all the information. For more great reads and knitting head over to small things.
One of our cars, the one I drive, has decided it needs both a new transmission and radiator. When we lived in the states this wouldn't be as big of an issue as it is here in Germany. See, our extended warranty is only good in the states (gotta love fine print) so we are having to pay 4500 euro out of our savings. That equates to about 6400 US. So yeah, our family is going to have to live extra simple these next few months to not completely deplete our savings.
It won't be easy, especially since our family has all our birthdays and major holidays within a 2 1/2 months span of time. But at the same time I think it will be a fun adventure. As Americans we are used to getting everything we want when we want it. Most of the world doesn't live that way. They have very little and make it work. Now, we will have to learn to make do with what we have and be content with it. This forced simplicity will hopefully bring these lessons home for our kids (and us.)
Some serious changes will have to occur, like not eating out, but making sure our family is secure financially is far more important than not getting to eat at Christoph's or the donner kebab place. But in the end the lessons we will learn during this time will help us and our children to make better decisions about money and not be so tied to material wealth. (Oh, and don't buy ford)
This is linked up with five minute friday over at Gypsy Mama where it's all about relevant. And right now for my life this is what's relevant.
Well, the last couple weeks were more difficult for us to eat completely unprocessed. We had two soccer end of season parties to attend along with a busier than normal schedule. Aside from those few times though we did well.
Taking part in the unprocessed challenge this month has taught me a few lessons. First, cooking from scratch doesn't take too much extra time. We eat pretty much homemade most of the time, but not having the option of going out really made me work at cooking at home and reminded me that a extra five minutes won't kill me.
Second, cooking double (or more) batches saves time and sanity. With three little ones, a busy schedule, and hubby deployed I need to streamline life as much as possible. If I make a double batch then on those nights I really don't want to cook we have an easy meal that is so much healthier than a tv dinner.
Third, eating unprocessed for an entire month really helped boost my energy and health. Not having all the junk in my system honestly gave me more energy and has helped me not get sick when every other person we know has been hit with the first cold of winter. Maybe it was cutting out all the high fructose syrup or preservatives I don't know.
Fourth, it ended up saving us money. Most of the time people think that processed food is cheaper, but with rising food costs companies are lowering the amount of food in a product and increasing the price. It ended up being more cost effective to just buy the basic ingredients and make it myself.
I really enjoyed this challenge and I think I am going to try to continue on with it. Really, with the news we got today we kind of have to, but that is another post.
Our schedule was crazy this past week, but I managed to plug away at both my knitting and reading goals.
Still working on the dolls (need to get some filler material to stuff them with. That would be so much easier if there were a Joann's or something here. Guess I will have to do some exploring to find a craft store here in Germany. Fun.) and the wrap. The yarn for the wrap is so incredibly soft....there are times I get a tad distracted by the softness. Can't wait until it's done so I can wrap myself up in the coziness.
As for the books, The Tehran initiative was finished within a couple days of checking it out. Great read and a nice break from all the non-fiction I've been plowing through. Partway through both Simplicity Parenting and Grace for the Good Girl. Both of these are wonderful books and I am getting so much out of them.
After these are finished I think I am going back to my one book, one project rule. It allows me to focus so much better and retain more of what I am reading or learning. Well, the small man is still sleeping so I am off to hopefully get a couple more rows done on my wrap.
As a stay at home mama stuck with freezing cold weather for the next few months it is difficult to get dressed in much more than cozy sweats every day. It doesn't help that the hubby is deployed so I don't really have the motivation to look nice every day. But I want to set an example for my sweet girl and dress in a way I know pleases my honey.
So, I was super excited when I saw that Sarah Mae was hosting the Get Dressed Challenge. Each day there are motivotionals to encourage you along the way. I so need those. This will definitely be a challenge for me, but if I can pull it off it will be a good change. (Plus, this way I can get used to not just throwing on jeans and a hoodie and putting my hair in a knot. By the time my honey gets home I will be looking fabulous.)
Now I am off to get caught up on the motivotionals since I am a few days behind. :)
Moving to a new country. A husband who is gone more often than not....with limited communication. Homeschooling three little ones. Dealing with the delays of baby boy. Two cars....both broken. Dishwasher....also broken. Not being able to help family in need since they live a world away. Struggling to find community and purpose.
In it all Christ has been present. He has been good. Even in the midst of all the chaos He has provided for, nourished, carried me. Choosing to focus on the good, on His hidden purpose has changed my view on all the disappointment and pain. Digging deep into His Words and pouring my soul out in prayer has brought me closer to my Jesus than I ever was living my happy little life in America.
"Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassion never fails. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, 'The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.'"
Waiting, trusting, holding fast in my faith to see what is next on this journey.
This week was a little harder for us in eating unprocessed. Life intervened and so there were a few slips. But I would rather feed my kids a cheeseburger than risk a meltdown in the middle of running a zillion errands. And the chocolate cupcake decorating session with my littles was one I wasn't going to pass up.
So, other than those two times we are doing incredibly well at eating at home and not filling ourselves full of junk. It's given me more energy and it's been so fun to check out some of the recipes that others are making. And the money we save by making it and eating at home is great.
For some more inspiration on your unprocessed, whole foods journey check out these great reads....
It was a rough week for our little family (again....that seems to be the theme lately) and there was not much time spent online as I dealt with stress, sadness, and a whole host of other emotions. Most of my time was spent in prayer or taking care of the home and kids. But, a few thoughts inspired me this week and I hope they do you as well. Have a lovely weekend.
All of my lovely new needles and yarn arrived yesterday in the mail. So excited to start playing around. Still a bit nervous about attempting my wrap (with the dreaded increases) but after some practice and video watching I think I will be good to go.
Finished reading Rest and am now on to The Hole in Our Gospel. Rich Stearns makes a great argument that as Christ-followers we are not fully living out the entire Gospel as Christ wanted. Reading this has made contemplate making a few sweaters to send to those who need them. Because really, I have enough sweaters. :)