Tag Archives: knitting

Rules of Yarn Crawl

I’m convinced there are few places on earth as craft-oriented as Portland. “Handmade” is kind of a big thing in these parts. In fact, you may have heard about our acquisition by Etsy a few years ago (check the date on that article before you take it too seriously).

The city goes a little goofy for yarn one weekend every year. This year, eighteen yarn shops in the Portland/Metro area participated in the Rose City Yarn Crawl. This is yarnie heaven. My best friend and I try to get out to visit at least a few of our favorites. The first year we went on the crawl, we visited ten shops in one day. We were exhausted. Last year, I got sick in the middle of the day, so we cut things short. This year, we learned from past mistakes and took it easy on ourselves, just taking in four of our favorite shops with a leisurely break for lunch and an early return home.

As we traveled today, I thought of some Rules for future Yarn Crawl endeavors:

First Rule of Yarn Crawl: Thou shalt be adequately fueled with appropriate caffeination from a local purveyor of the bean.

Second Rule of Yarn Crawl: Thou shalt read all yarn warning labels:

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Third Rule of Yarn Crawl: Thou shalt avoid fibers that must be treated as if they are made from cotton candy and fairy wings, even though said fibers are often quite shiny, sparkly, or soft.

Fourth Rule of Yarn Crawl: Thou shalt not be lured by the 45% off sign on the silk laceweight yarns.

Fifth Rule of Yarn Crawl: Thou shalt always read the yardage on every skein, hank, or ball of fiber before falling madly in love.

Sixth Rule of Yarn Crawl: Thou shalt repeat Rules Three, Four, and Five as many times as necessary.

Seventh Rule of Yarn Crawl: Thou shalt buy something new:

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Eighth Rule of Yarn Crawl: Thou shalt buy something useful and reliable:

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Ninth Rule of Yarn Crawl: Thou shalt laugh often.

Me, looking at little boy sleeping in a stroller: Don’t you wish you could just sleep in a chair and other people would push you around all over town?

Best friend, without missing a beat: Don’t worry. We’ll get there someday.

Tenth Rule of Yarn Crawl: Thou shalt take pictures of all the projects you want to do eventually:

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Eleventh Rule of Yarn Crawl: Thou shalt also take pictures of the stash thou hast acquired throughout the day:

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Twelfth Rule of Yarn Crawl: Thou shalt go home when thou hast spent all thy allotment of currency which hast been dedicated aforehand to the acquisition of said stash.

Thirteenth Rule of Yarn Crawl: Thou shalt determine to shun all requests of husbands, children, schools, volunteer organizations, workplaces, and churches for one day the following year that one might return to Yarn Crawl when it doth descend upon thy fair city.

It would appear that I have some hanks to wind.

Till next we meet . . .

J M

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On Talent

I read with interest this article in The Atlantic today.

I think Ms. McArdle has some really interesting thoughts here. I will confess to having been one of those students who sailed through English classes with straight “As.” In one high school class, I scored so high on a grammar pre-test that the teacher had to dig up more advanced worksheets for me so that I would have something to do when everyone else was working on the standard fare. I graduated from high school with 104% of possible points in my last term of senior “college bound” English (it was my paper on Hamlet that pushed me over the top of the curve, I think). I wrote my first (really awful, really stupid) novel in high school.

But I was that kid who was always doing the English assignments at the last minute. I would do any assigned reading right away, but papers? Meh. I’d dash them off the night before the deadline. The only exception to my night-before habits were those times when outlines, drafts, theses were due ahead of time. In those cases, I’d write the paper and then go back to do all of the required steps after the fact so that I had something to turn in. (I still hate outlines, by the way.)

Lest you think this was how I got through all my classes, let me assure you that I was less than stellar in many other subjects. I had to work my rear-end off in math to maintain my A-minus average. I quit taking math altogether after Algebra II (Hermione, my almost-13-year-old daughter, will very shortly eclipse me in all math-related knowledge). I hated biology and paired up with a lab partner who wanted to be a nurse so that I wouldn’t have to dissect anything. She was happy to let me take notes. I despised P.E.; I was never athletic, so I showed up, dressed down, did the bare minimum to the best of my abilities, and took my B.

My point in recounting my academic career is to assure you that I never felt like one of the “Trophy Kids” Ms. McArdle mentions. I maintained a pretty good GPA, but I had to work for it in most of my classes. I was able to breeze through English (and social sciences, history, and journalism), but there were plenty of subjects that taxed and challenged me.

Which brings me to writing . . . and to the other interesting thoughts in Ms. McArdle’s article.

First, regarding procrastination . . . . Yes, I am the very worst procrastinator in the whole world. And not just in writing endeavors, either. I procrastinate everything. EVERYTHING. So I’m not entirely certain that my procrastination is simply because I was great in English, but I do think that the procrastinator personality might be somewhat connected to the writer/artist personality. I think it might be a creative curse. There’s a certain kind of creative tension that comes from letting thoughts and ideas germinate and stew and simmer as long as possible and then birthing them at the last possible moment. That creative tension often produces some of the best results, in my experience.

Second, regarding actual talent and competition . . . . I think Ms. McArdle has an excellent point about competing with other kids who were also the best in their classes. It’s one thing to be the kid who cruises through English in a small school where she competes with only about 60 other kids in her class. It’s another thing entirely to be a very small fish in a very big pond of very talented people. (Looking back a couple of years, it’s really rather amazing that I got an agent at all.) I thought I was talented . . . until I started reading other writers. REAL writers.

Third, regarding those other writers . . . . Let me amend my previous comment: I thought I was talented until I stopped reading other self-published writers and started reading seriously, ridiculously talented writers. Now . . . well, I think I might be more like one of those singers who thinks she’s talented until Simon Cowell has a chance to express his opinion.

Before someone accuses me of being an elitist when it comes to writing, yes, I do know that there are some very talented writers who are self-publishing their works these days. I’ve read some of them. Some of them are scary good. But the vast majority–and I do believe that’s true, that it’s a vast majority–of self-published stories, novels, and the like are just not very good. That truth becomes abundantly clear when one returns to the mainstream world and starts evaluating self-published works against a higher standard.

That’s what happened to me. Just as when I was in high school, I evaluated myself against others who were not as talented. In my view, I was getting an “A”–soaring through with nary any effort, cruising to excellence because it was easy for me.

But the disconnect came in two places. First, it frustrated me to no end that people with little or no talent–people who were essentially, in my view, vomiting words in random order and slapping them online–were making money hand over fist while I worked hard to offer professional, quality stories and could barely get noticed. To me, it seems like the public would rather have McDonald’s literature than 5-Star restaurant literature. Let’s face it–it’s fast, cheap, and easy. Why not eat a steady diet of McDonald’s? I started down that road myself . . . and let me say, when you consume nothing but McDonald’s literature, you start to think that your own Olive Garden offerings are pretty dang great.

But then I started to feel nutritionally deficient. Here’s the second disconnect: I was starving for decent food–even Olive Garden food. So I started reading classics, literary novels, histories, biographies again. And then I realized that I didn’t even have any right to compete in the same circles as those authors.

All of a sudden, those “As” in English don’t seem so valuable.

Here’s the thing: I am realizing, slowly but surely, as I re-read my most recent writing efforts, that I am just simply not good enough to compete in the literary world. My “As” in English were based on literary criticism and analysis and the papers that resulted from such. So yes, I can analyze the works, I can find the symbolism, I can critique the writing.

But produce good writing?

No. Not even close, not when compared with really talented people. Even the most brilliant literary scholar would have to admit that critique and analysis do not equal talent. A movie critic might be brilliant movie critic, but he’s quite possibly a lousy filmmaker.

So what does that mean for my writing?

I think the concept of giving it all away is sounding better and better.

I have no delusions about my knitting abilities; I’m a fairly average, advanced beginner knitter. I can’t write patterns, and I am only just learning some of the more intricate kinds of stitches that other knitters have mastered. But that’s what makes it so easy to just knit for fun and give it away.

If I’m honest with myself–brutally, painfully honest with myself–then I have to admit that my work is really only worth the free or minimum price that one can charge for self-published works. I’m not a V. S. Naipaul, a Willa Cather, an A. S. Byatt, an Ian McEwan, a Cormac McCarthy. I’m not even close to being a Neil Gaiman, a Stephen King, an Ursula LeGuin. I never will be. And I’m not a career author. I never will be.

And oddly, I think I’m finally coming to a place where I’m okay with that. It’s . . . kind of a relief.

There’s something freeing about this whole thing, really. If I just start to look at my writing as something I do for fun, something I do because I enjoy it, a way to kill time, then . . . well, then it doesn’t matter if I’m the Olive Garden variety or the C-level English student. It doesn’t matter if I give it away, either, because there’s nothing riding on it–no future, no career, no reviews. It doesn’t matter what people say.

It’s just me singing in the church choir or knitting a hat for a friend or dashing off a story for the heck of it.

This is long, and it went in a direction I didn’t intend for it to go, but . . . it feels kind of like a relief to say this stuff.

So now . . . now I have to decide what to do with all the stories sitting there on my hard drive. I’m still not ready to share again, but I am closer. And there are some problems with the concept of giving away my work. I’ll go into those another time.

For now, I’ll keep plugging away at my massive TBR list, and I’ll keep ruminating on these subjects. Time will tell.

Query

Question: Is it an act of obedience to God to practice, develop, and share a “gift” or talent that He has given you?

I suppose I already know the answer to that.

The real question, perhaps, is whether I really have a God-given gift or talent that I should practice, develop, and share.

I have been told by many that I am a decent enough writer. Still, even after all this time, I don’t know that I really believe those people. I don’t think they’re lying; they are, by and large, honest folk who know enough about literature to recognize competent writing. And I acknowledge that I am competent–but gifted or talented?

That’s where I’m not sure.

This last week, I started thinking about knitting as it relates to writing. I recently finished making a baby blanket for an acquaintance. I spent a fair bit of money on the yarn for that blanket, but I didn’t mind at all. I spent my own money–my monthly “blow” money–on the yarn. Some was sitting in my stash, some I bought on sale, and some was full price. But it really didn’t matter. I undertook the project because I like the people, I needed a project, and I enjoyed the process. And I will admit–it’s fun to give away a handmade item!

I’ve been putting together gift baskets for a silent auction for our American Heritage Girls troop. A few of the baskets are getting little handmade items–handwarmers, hats, and even a little dragon.

Earlier today, Lucy wore a hat I recently made for her out in the snow. When she came in, Mr. P put it near the fire to dry out. Unfortunately, it got a bit scorched. But Lucy and I don’t mind; it’s just an excuse for me to make her another hat. (And Lucy suggested, “maybe I can just put a button over that part!”)

I have no trouble sharing my knitted things. I love giving my knitting away. And it would never occur to me to charge for it. I need the projects–they keep the anxiety at bay and give me something to do with my twitchy fingers. The only time I might ever charge anyone anything would be if she (or he) requested something from very expensive materials. Even then, I can’t imagine charging for the labor–just for the materials.

This whole realization this week started me thinking about writing and publishing again. When I was publishing my work before, I thought I was good enough to be able to earn a living at it. The agent I had told me I should be able to earn a living at it. People told me my writing was as good as anything they had read in the mainstream fiction world. But still, I tried and failed, both in self-publishing and traditional publishing.

But what if I just didn’t care anymore?

What if I just published it for . . . well, for the heck of it? Like I give away hats? What if I just never even tried to make money off it? What if I just gave everything away for free, just for the validation of sharing the work?

There’s something liberating in that concept.

Which brings me back to the original query . . .

I have been feeling rather guilty lately that I’m not writing, and I couldn’t figure out why. But I keep seeing all of these quotes, discussions, articles about our responsibility to use gifts and talents that God has given us for His glory. And it’s not like I’m not doing that at all–I do use my stupid administrative gifting for my duties in American Heritage Girls, and I use my questionable mothering capabilities for . . . well, mothering.

But writing . . .

I thought for a long time that my skill/gift/talent really was a talent–was something that made me a little bit different.

But maybe that was the problem–maybe I was focused too much on how it made me different or special. Maybe I should have been thinking more about how God wanted me to use it.

I am absolutely certain that God wrested my writing from my clenched fists back in August 2012 because I had to realign my relationship with Him.

Now, I fear that in His mercy and goodness and wisdom, He is challenging me to obey Him again by once more picking up my keyboard and creating.

So I return to my query: Is it an act of obedience to God to practice, develop, and share a “gift” or talent that He has given you?

More importantly, is it an act of disobedience not to pursue said gifts or talents?

And most importantly, should I engage in the practice and development of said gifts, am I obligated to God to share the resultant creations?

This is a rambling and frustrated post, I know. But I would love to hear your thoughts.

Till next we meet . . .

J M

Mid-Week Sabbath

I had big plans for my day today. I intended to drop the kids off for school, make a phone call, attend Bible study, do some volunteer editing work (something I’m doing as a favor), prepare for American Heritage Girls tonight, and prepare a healthy dinner that I could pop in the oven and serve to my family before racing out the door for our weekly troop meeting. Obviously, all of these things would be done in the midst of dropping off and picking up kids, fielding e-mails and phone calls, tidying the house here and there, and managing the homework and conflicts of my four darling children.

But when I was driving home after dropping Tiger and Lucy at their school, the engine light came on in my van. Knowing that I have to drive across town for American Heritage Girls tonight, Mr. P and I decided it would be prudent to have the issue checked out by our mechanic. I didn’t want to be stranded 20 miles from home later in the day. So, I dropped Boy Patriot and Hermione at school and headed for the mechanic. They checked the light and said it would require a more extensive diagnostic to figure out the problem, so I left my keys and walked to a nearby coffee shop, all the while grumbling about my schedule being thrown off.

It’s at this point that I should perhaps let you all know that I am barely keeping my head above water right now with all the things going on in my life. My schedule is ridiculously full, and I am continually conscious of how many people are depending on me for various things. I have not had a lot of time lately to see to my own personal rest needs; I’ve made daily Bible reading a priority, but I’ve had precious little time to knit, read, or sew.

My life is an exercise in damage control.

So here I was, engaged in a rather profound and eloquent grumbling session with God, when He gently said, “stop. That’s enough. Look around and think for a minute.”

I was sitting on a couch in a cafe frequented by fellow believers. I had a fresh cup of coffee before me. I had a pair of socks on needles in my purse. We were blessed with an unusually warm October day for our area of the country, and the sun was streaming in through a huge picture window next to me. Across the street, my favorite local yarn shop would be open in 20 minutes, and if I walked just a couple of blocks further, I could sit in the local library. All around in that part of town are little shops, cafes, and restaurants. I had everything I needed.

More important, though, was what I didn’t have. I hadn’t had time to gather any of my “have tos” before heading out, so all I had was my knitting project. No Pulitzer-prize winning novel to keep wading through because I feel like I have to read it. No volunteer editing project. No AHG work. Just me, my needles, a cup of coffee, and my Bible Gateway app.

I read my Bible. I knitted. I browsed Twitter for a bit. When the mechanic called to say they’d found the problem and would get the van finished by the time I needed it, it was almost lunchtime. I headed across the street to the yarn shop, just to browse, and discovered my best friend in there, picking up a pair of needles. We had lunch together, spur of the moment, and it was lovely. I visited the library and a specialty grocery store, and by then, my van was ready.

I am trying to look for God in the little things, and I think I may have found Him today. Is it possible that He looked at my schedule of late, that He searched me and knew my anxious thoughts, that He understood that if I didn’t stop voluntarily, I would stop out of necessity in utter exhaustion very shortly?

I don’t know. What I do know is that I rested, on a Tuesday, in the middle of a schedule that won’t let up, and the world didn’t end. The world continues to revolve when I’m not active in it. The center of the universe does not run through the top of my head. It’s easy for us to think that only the celebrity or the elite or the spoiled child has this mentality, but those of us who think the world depends on us have it, too. In reality, we are very small parts of a very big world that will continue to function should we be unavailable for a while.

I have to remember this. I am not indispensable. And there’s no point in acting as if I am if doing so means that I get used up and emptied long before my time. A time of rest refills, reinvigorates, and energizes. We need rest.

When my children were small, I could read their energy levels far better than they could. My oldest was especially difficult for other people to read, because he would get MORE energetic the more tired he grew. I would eventually have to step in, pull him away from the world, and tell him to take a nap or go to bed.

I needed a rest, and I wasn’t taking one. And through a inconvenient, frustrating event, my loving Father saw that I got it.

Till next we meet . . .

J M

Projects

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

— Philippians 1:6, NASB

I am an excellent project starter. Just yesterday, I pulled out my basket of yarn and fabric, spread it all out on the bed, and thoughtfully considered which project I should begin next. Sew a little bag for all of my Bible study books? Get started on those big pillows I promised the Ducklings for their TV room (the room itself being an unfinished project)? Knit a hat or a pair of wristers to give as a Christmas gift? Oh, and there’s that lovely, shimmery cotton fiber–maybe I should crochet a pretty little scarf with it!

Of course, if there’s nothing there to strike my fancy, I can always head to Pinterest or Sew4Home or Ravelry to find something new . . . Tiger’s teacher and his wife are expecting a baby in December. Perhaps it’s time to look for another little sweater pattern or make some burp cloths?

This is what I do. My eye finds the shiny new project and won’t let it rest. It ignores the three projects I already have on the needles in favor of something prettier, more challenging, more convenient, what-have-you. My excuses for starting new projects are legion:

“The current knitting projects are too big to transport. Just a pair of socks or a little hat–something I can throw in my purse so I can do a few rows here and there.”

“Those other projects are Christmas gifts for the kids. I can’t work on them while the kids are around! But I need something to do–I’ll just start one more thing to work on while the kids are in the room.”

“I don’t want to drag my sewing machine out right now. I have other things to do. It’s easier to knit for a little while.”

“I don’t have any stuffing/baby yarn/[insert random specialized knitting tool here]. I’ll just head to the shop to get it. And, you know, browse a bit.”

Starting new projects is easy (this is why I have four books currently in progress on Goodreads). Finishing old projects is hard. They get boring, big, frustrating. They don’t look the way they should. You rip things out, untangle knots, reknit, tear seams, resew. Patterns have confusing instructions or outright errors. If you’re diligent, you see these projects through to the end, and you find, hopefully, that it’s worth it–that even if it’s not perfect, it’s warm or useful or simply pretty.

Two weeks ago in my Bible study group, we talked about how so many Christians make the mistake of seeing those they proselytize to as projects. We pray for them and talk to them with a goal in mind–to convert them. I’m not saying that’s a bad goal, but if it’s the only goal, maybe there’s something wrong. To see another human being as nothing more than a project is . . . well, creepy. These are humans made in the image of God. When we reduce them to projects and are only interested in selling them “fire insurance,” there’s a strange kind of reduction there. Please hear that I’m not against evangelizing the lost–in fact, I’m very much for it. But I know how I feel when LDS or Jehovah’s Witness missionaries come to my door–like I’m a project or a tally mark. I don’t care for that feeling.

I started thinking that perhaps we need to remember that the people we evangelize to are not our projects. Rather, they are God’s projects. It’s the Holy Spirit Who must convict and draw them. Our job is to show up, engage, laugh, cry, talk, and, most of all, share the gospel message out of natural interactions. Sometimes we get to the message quickly–sometimes it takes years. There’s no formula or pattern that works 100% of the time.

But as I thought about it even more, I remembered that I, too, am God’s project. He started a good work in me that He will see through to the end. He doesn’t abandon projects. I’m not scratchy wool or slippery fabric that He abandons as incapable of being warm or pretty or useful. Patiently, He weaves and knits and stitches, ripping out when He must, when my own stubborn will or pride take over and I lead the stitches astray (and yes, yarn and fabric do occasionally seem to have minds of their own). He reknits, resews, reworks me into something warm, useful, pretty. And I am confident that one day, He will put on all of the finishing touches and make me perfect. No more crooked seams or missed stitches–the work will eventually be made complete.

Today, I am thankful that God is a good Project Starter.

But I am more grateful that He is the Ultimate Project Finisher.

Till next we meet . . .

J M

 

The Only Writing Advice I Can Give

I have never wanted this blog to be about writing. I set out, in fact, to specifically NOT write about writing. I wanted to write about everything else. My last blog was about writing. I even wrote a weekly column about writing for another website. I seemed to have no problem giving people advice about writing (as if I had any clue about anything to do with . . . anything).

I hereby rescind all of my writing advice. Should you ever find any of it, print it and burn it.

I had a very long talk with a lovely friend yesterday–a friend who understands this virus called “writing.” We shared our frustrations and fears, our fictional loves and our big dreams. But we also talked about our kids, our husbands, our childhoods, our hobbies, our shared faith, and a host of other things. And I realized that the thing that carried the conversation was not the writing. It was the connection.

I have thought a lot about what has changed in my life since I put my writing away last year. My house is still a mess. My kids still fight. I still get immersed in projects. I’m still insanely busy. What has changed?

On the surface, not much.

Internally? I’ve re-centered my spirit around what’s important–my God and my family.

And in the process of re-centering myself, God has given me back my writing.

If my kids get too obsessed with a video game, I’ll take the video game away to break the habit. Like a good parent, God pried my writing out of my clenched fists and put other things in my open hands–His Word, mostly. And then when He had lovingly applied a balm to palms that were shredded from obsessive clenching, He very kindly placed my writing back on my hands.

So I had a conversation with my friend yesterday, and it made me think–what writing advice would I give now?

The only writing advice I am qualified to give.

Don’t write. Breathe. No one can work on one thing all day, every day, for hours a day. I know the writing world is filled with stories of men and women who crank out hundreds of thousands of words every year and sell millions of books, but they aren’t you. They are often products of a publishing world on meth–a world that has to continue to crank out product like a soda bottling plant, churning words off an assembly line because it will die if it doesn’t. Remember, sharks die if they quit swimming, and publishing is full of sharks. Allow yourself time to NOT write.

Cross train. Runners who strength train run faster. Writers who creatively cross train write better. I have no empirical evidence of this–it’s just a theory based on my own recent experience. When I allow myself time to sew and knit, I find myself more inclined to pursue my writing endeavors. I find I enjoy them more and have a greater sense of satisfaction with the product of my writing sessions. Whether other people will agree is not the point. If you aren’t writing for yourself, there’s no reason to write.

Remember your audience. It’s you. Or in my case, it’s God. But that’s me. The point is that your audience isn’t “out there” so much as internal. I suppose this is sort of the “don’t write for the market” advice, but the problem with that advice is that it’s still focused on the market. Focus on the audience. And the most important audience, the one who has to live with it all, is you.

Redefine success. This is something my friend Laurel has gently convicted me of. Success is not defined by book sales or titles published or stellar reviews. I am convinced–after being rather chewed up and spit out by the world of writing and publishing–that those measures of success are a result of marketing and publishing efforts, not writing efforts. Success as a writer is something else. Did you tell the story you wanted to tell as well as you could tell it? Then you are a success. You are a storyteller. Define success in that context.

Only take responsibility for you. You are responsible for the story. That’s it. You can’t control reviews or sales, and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. There are as many theories on how to sell books as there are writers, and all of them still have one problem: they depend on the consumer for success. And as much as Don Draper would like to think he can control the consumer, he can’t. The world of advertising and marketing is littered with the mangled bodies of failed campaigns. We only hear about the successes. So, dear friend, write the best story you can write. That’s all you can do.

Feed your soul. And your body, and your mind, and your heart. Close the Word document and look away. Nurture your faith. Hug your kids. Go out with your spouse. Read. Take a walk. Listen to the rain. Sing. Talk to a friend. Teach something. Go target shooting. Exercise. You are not just a writer. You are a whole person. Spend time acting like a whole person.

Write. If you are a writer, you know it. You have to write. It’s a virus that withers us from within unless we feed it. So feed it. Just . . . control its diet.

That’s it. No grammar, structure, or story advice. No marketing, publishing, self-publishing words of wisdom. Share your work or don’t share it–I’m not one to tell you whether it’s “worth sharing” or not. I know what I like to read, and there are plenty of novels that I think are utter trash. But that’s my responsibility as a reader.

Your responsibility, dear writer, is to write.

Till next we meet . . .

J M

11 Random Things

  1. The Child Formerly Known as Boy Scout (TCFKABS) is henceforth rechristened Boy Patriot.
  2. I finished this today:shawl The beadwork doesn’t show up very well, and the pic is a bit blurry, but I love it. It’s a gorgeous sea green with random amethyst (clear and opaque), smoke, and clear beads. I love it.
  3. I plan to wear the afore-posted shawl to dinner with Mr. P on Saturday night. He has been out of town all week. Dinner alone with my husband is definitely in order.
  4. I have been alone with three of my children all week (Hermione is at horse camp). This is not new. Mr. P is required to occasionally travel for his work. But I am getting a bit twitchy.
  5. I attribute my twitchiness to my attempts to work on American Heritage Girls plans and such while juggling swim lessons, dentist appointments, grocery shopping, and the frequent requests of my two Jack Sparrow wannabes to use the community laptop to virtually pillage the Carribbean.
  6. It occurs to me that, while I do have a tendency to disappear into my writing worlds, it is entirely possible that many of the issues that led to the imbalance in our home were not necessarily my problems, but just the peculiar and challenging nature of attempting to work from home with children present. I have to think on this a bit more, but perhaps I was being unduly harsh on myself for the lack of balance in our lives and our home.
  7. If anyone has doubts about man’s fallen nature, let me suggest that he or she spend a few hours alone with two tweens and a teen and see if he or she would like to revise said doubts.
  8. May I also mention that I love my children to pieces? Which is why the occasional slide into generally rebellious behavior demands correction and discipline . . .
  9. I finished my read-through of the Bible. I started in October and finished Revelation about a week ago. I’ve started again in Genesis, but I have not been very diligent about daily reading. I am working on this.
  10. It was very humid today. I do not like humidity. More heat is coming in the next few days. I do not like heat. I cannot promise positive attitude until the temperature returns to the 70s and the humidity returns to a level that doesn’t add three ring sizes to my finger.
  11. I am writing again. I don’t know how to feel about that. More ruminations on art and Christianity are coming soon, methinks.

Till next we meet . . .

J M