Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Knit one, purl what?

If you hang out on any of my other social media -- you have seen one or a hundred photos of my yarn obsession. I have been crocheting for a few years but last month, I began to take knitting classes. And while my children have warned me that this statement might age me ten years are so, I am not afraid to say, I am obsessed with knitting. Obsessed.

Bless Beverly at The Southern Needle. Bless her. She showed me the basics and told me to practice by making a washcloth. And I said, ok, but then what?

I currently have three projects going:

A beautiful scarf where I am learning this amazing feather and fan pattern! I stop every few minutes to show it to my family needing their oohs and ahhs. (You might imagine how thrilled they are!)

I am actually much farther along now...but I was so amazed at this stage, I had to capture it on my camera!

A knit-a-long Christmas throw where I am learning new patterns with each block and just having a delightful time seeing the patterns that appear as I knit! Honestly, it is so much fun!

And because, my dear teacher couldn't refuse me when I begged her to show me how to knit a hat at my last class...this:

Look at how the yarn is making stripes appear in the stitching? Isn't it delightful?

Except,  you see, it is large enough for a not-so-small animal to wear. It is huge. Cate tried it on and it went OVER her head and down to her neck.

And so, right after I took that photo. I pulled my yarn and undid the entire thing. All of it. And tonight, I began again.

And as I sat waiting on my Little Red to finish theatre rehearsal, I started over a total of three times before I FINALLY feel like I am on the right track. And as I sat there knitting, I wondered why I wasn't completely frustrated. I wondered why I didn't want to chunk this yarn and move back to my scarf. Honestly, I wondered why something that should by rights be making me crazy with frustration, was actually doing just the opposite. I was enjoying every single moment.

And it hit me.

We are at once in the middle and on the cusp of more changes than my mind can even grasp. Wade is already in Delaware, we close on our new home there later this week. We are in the throes of applying to schools for Little Red. And the triplets -- deep breath in, and out --  are preparing for college graduation! Our family time is rapid bites. We cram in as much quality as we can in far too little quantity. And some times, those quick visits are marred by some misunderstanding, or a misspoken word, or frustrated teen. And some times those visits are marred by a mama who desperately wants to rip the stitches back to a time when all my ducks were under the same roof, and ahem, I was in some semblance of control.

Beautiful then, that today I am reminded of my favorite Psalm:

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful.....all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." Psalm 139:14, 16a

God's got this. He is a master knitter (You saw that, right?), never having to rip stitches back to begin again. Isn't that a relief?

I can't promise I'll get there right away. I might still want to rip the stitches back a bit -- if not to when my four were little bitty, then at least to the beginning of EVERY weekend, where I let my emotions flaw the time. But there is such assurance in knowing that I am not capable of marring God's perfect plan. He has already knit that story together. He has already knit ME together!

So if you need me, I'll be here knitting. And with each stitch, I will be praying for all the decisions facing my crew in the days ahead. And I'll be calmed by the repetition, and buoyed by the challenge, and reminded with every single stitch that God's got this.

Isn't that so amazing?

Carol - The Blessings Counter

Friday, October 26, 2018

From my bunk in this Minnesota lodge.

For five years I called this medical town home. You might not recognize the town's name. Or the view nestled amongst the cornfields and well, more cornfields. You might not have heard of this, the one city in a state of 10,000 lakes WITHOUT a natural lake. 

But if you have ever loved someone with a serious illness, you know the name on every medical building in this town. You know it. You trust it. And chances are you are grateful for some life-saving medicine done here, discovered here, practiced here -- here at the Mayo Clinic.

For five years, this was home. Wade spent most of his hours at that Mayo Clinic, learning, training, caring for patients. And the triplets and I spent our time embracing life in Rochester.

A big part of that for me -- a huge huge part of that -- was Side by Side, a ministry for medical wives. Side by Side was and is an opportunity to connect with other women who understand that though I am married, I am often parenting alone while my guy does some amazing life-saving things.

Worshipping in the Mother Ship -- Side by Side - Rochester, MN.

And Side by Side was where I could say how guilty I felt about wanting my guy to stop the life-saving things to come home and be with us. And Side by Side was where I learned that Wade's calling is really and truly the calling of our family -- and that we have to come along side him to support him so he can do what he does.

Sun was a huge reason I could participate in Side by Side -- she would meet me at the door to help the triplets into her room! I was delighted to see her today and know she is still loving on the babies that come in those doors!

And really, Side by Side is about sisterhood and learning to lean in and on the women willing to stand with you in this journey.

Reuniting with some precious friends is always a gift!
(My internet connection won't let me add all the photos I am trying to add so be on the lookout for more!!)

This weekend I am in Rochester at a retreat for Side by Side leaders. I am thrilled to reconnect with some of my dear friends from my tenure here and excited to make new friends from all over the country -- women committed to come alongside their fellow sisters on this journey.

It's a treat to pass on the support. It's a gift to celebrate our sisterhood. And it is a blessing to be together in this ministry!

Oh there is more to come....

Carol - The Blessings Counter

Thursday, October 25, 2018

From my gate in the Philly airport.

The airport might be my favorite place to people-watch. And people-watching is definitely one of my favorite things.

Today, I observed a little teeny tiny baby in a stroller. Bazillions of people were all around her -- I say bazillions, it was the security line so honestly it might be more! ;) -- but this little doll baby only had eyes for her mommy. Those eyes were locked in watching mom's every single move. I couldn't help but wonder if mom knew how fast those eyes would find the rest of the world. I couldn't help but wonder if she was desperate for a moment alone -- a bathroom break even -- where she didn't have little eyes watching her. I wanted to hug her gently and encourage her exhausted spirit.

The one in bazillion in line right in front of me had tattoos on every visible surface. I will admit that I was mesmerized trying to read the words behind each ear (One said "Love to hate" and the other "Hate to love.") but it was the spider web all over the back of his ear that fascinated me most. Ouch. I was wondering what drives someone to cover every surface when he turned around and asked where I was going. I laughingly asked if he could tell I had been reading every tattoo on his head....he couldn't but admitted that he often forgets and then asks people what the **** they are looking at? I was rather glad he hadn't felt my eyes. We had a lovely talk about the choices  and if the spider web was painful (It was.). The conversation was as colorful as the tattoos on his head and neck and I might have cringed a bit (I can't help it. I think there are enough words in the English language to avoid a couple....) and then he looked me straight in the face and asked if I could see the tattoos looking at him straight on. I could but just barely and just the ones at the edge of his face. He told me his mama told him to do that. "She said, 'Leave your face, clean, son'" he explained, "And I've always listened to my mama." 

And suddenly the two people I had been observing while waiting in the line, didn't seem so far apart. 

Oh mamas, those little eyes are watching us, they are. And though, I promise, you will eventually get to the bathroom alone (I have been told this anyway), your child will keep his eyes on you and your influence for far longer than you imagine!

Carol - The Blessings Counter