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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Fall Flowers- Hemlock Ring Blanket complete;)

Friday, September 28, 2007

Body by baked goods.....

Caution visitors- this is a "girlfriend post" be forewarned.

Boink. Boink. Boink.
I feel a thumping on my hindquarters. Not something that happens every day.

"Mommy, your butt is boinky" Came a little voice from the rear.

He continues to bounce his head off my back side like a vertical, portable trampoline as I attempt to make dinner.

As I cook spaghetti, I wonder what happened to my body.

I used to be a runner. like 6 + miles a day kind of runner. Not so much any more. The knees can't take it.. and let's face it I barely find time to shower somedays an extra our to run just isn't in the schedule.

I used to consciously build my body with protein drinks and healthy foods-I watched the scale to make sure I didn't dip BELOW a safe weight. I was all "Body by Jake" and Aerobics in the living-room.-- Now my body could be better described as "Body By Baked Goods" Cookies- cake... bread... yum. Not so much with the ice cream or cheese cake. But give me chocolate or face my wrath!

It's not just the "muffin tops" that are an issue. Although- they have their place as well. It's the "Bundt Cake butt" and even worse- after nursing three sons--- it's the "Baguette b**bs" that bother me most. Let's just say- I heard a song about it...."the girls hang low...and they wobble to and fro- you could tie them in a knot, you could tie them in a bow- you could throw them over your shoulder like a continental soldier... yes the girls hang low....."

My youngest- who has an uncanny sense of reality- once interrupted my "lean forward, let'em swing, then haul them into the bra-garage" method of bra fitting that I learned at Victoria Secret-(just a note- when your body's built by baked goods- VS becomes a resource for breast care as opposed to recreational usage instruction or inspiration...well mostly;) ) This method is also known as the "Cha Cha b**b slide".

He announced with a sense of awe-

"Mom, your b**bs are long!"

From then on- I've remembered to close both my bedroom door AND the bathroom door before dressing.

Bundt cake butt- baguette boobs and muffin tops and all- this is the body I have- I think I ought to take better care of it---I'd hate to start feeling like "day old baked goods" in the clearance bin at the grocery.

PS have been quite sick all week- this post has been written under the influence of cough and cold medication the author may revoke any statements herein after the meds wear off.

MOPS convention was centered on "Dwelling well" One of the scriptures was pretty convicting:

1 Cor 6:19-20
"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body."

Dear Lord- Please help me to better care for the body you choose to dwell in- but while your here- help yoursef to the baked goods- I'm all about hospitality! I love you Lord- amen.

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Monday, September 24, 2007

MOPS International Convention: A lesson learned between sessions: If The Shoe Fits, Wear it... if not--- CHANGE THEM!

Shoes lie.

They act all wedgy, heeled and comfy in the store.. then, they sneak up and attack with skin blistering pain in the middle of the airport.

I know. I know. It was my own fault. I have traveled enough to know never wear un-tested shoes while traveling. But these looked perfect!

They lied.

The real problem is- as soon as I realized they were more effective than steel wool at removing the skin from the tops of 8 of my 10 toes (before I ever made it through airport check-in) I should have changed my shoes.

I didn't. I though I'd be ok. Besides- I was carrying a brown bag... and wearing a brown jacket.... I couldn't exactly wear the alternative I had in my bag..... they were black! Matching shoes and bags is just the way I roll.... I didn't know any better.

I do now.

For 5 days, I crept through MOPS Convention trying every pair of shoes I had. Tennis shoes didn't work. Flat brown sandals didn't work. My "Always comfy-yet cool" back-up black pumps didn't work. I slipped my shoes off and on- countless times. I bought 3 new pair of WAY over priced- (and now pretty much wrecked) socks and wore them instead of shoes.

My feet looked like raw hamburger. They felt like they were on fire. My MOPS Sisters were there for me. Ever ready-and prepared- bandaids were presented with appropriate sympathy. Neosporin WITH pain reliever was a blessed balm. Extra time in the shower (a real sacrifice when you're sharing a room with 3 other women) was gladly given. AT the end of the long days- when I just wanted to whine about my feet. No one said "shut-up---it's your own fault" (I knew it anyways;) they just listened- with empathy and yes- the pity I wanted;)

At the airport I had been encouraged to change my shoes- I should have listened. At our training that first crazy day, I was again encouraged to just take off the shoes. I didn't.

Was it pride?
Appearance management?
Stubbornness? Stupidity?

Probably a little of each. But, today- while I'm resting my feet and letting them heal. I have had time to think about other things I've "worn" that did the same kind of damage:

Attitudes that hurt but became habit.
Behaviors that hurt me (like eating cookies at midnight because they are THERE) but I am too stubborn to let go of.
Sins that seem pleasurable but cause scarring.

Shoes lie. So do attitudes, behaviors and sins. They seem like a good fit, they seem appealing. They are not. We may feel locked in- because it's all we know. (I'm admittedly a matchy- matchy clothes and shoes kind of mom) But- in reality we simply need some help to CHANGE them, then heal the damage.

We may need confrontation about what we're wearing. "Girl- those shoes got to go" or "Are you sure that's an attitude you want to wear?" We may need a balm to place over our wounds. Words of love- in the face of pain. We may need a band-aid to cover and protect. A friend to help work through feelings and ideas. A friend to protect our heart. A friend to help us find something that is a better fit- something that heals instead of hurts.

Finally- we might need time to rest and heal.

How are your "shoes" fitting? What are you walking around in? Stuff that hurts but you don't know if you want to change? Cause it's all you know? Don't be stubborn, like I was. I'll be nursing these feet for days. Cute shoes will be put away for quite a while. I'll be barefoot for a while- trying to heal. trust me- it's not worth it... If the shoe fits- girl - go ahead and wear it- if not- CHANGE EM... and change em QUICK! Before the blisters form and the skin tears.

By Sunday- the day I came home. My toes were so bloodied and painful- that my bandaids and socks were sticking to the wounds. I needed some help getting them off. There are "other" shoes that I've worn for years- attitude and sin that I've grown so accustomed to, and that have so wounded me- that I need help with removing them.

Good thing I know someone who specializes in cleaning wounds changing hearts and healing hurts. His name is Jesus.

If you're feeling blisters form on your heart....or that your attitude and behavioral shoes aren't fitting- or that you've encountered wounds that need healing- He cares and can longs to help.

John 13
Jesus Washes His Disciples' Feet

It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come
for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were
in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.

The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already
prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the
Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was
returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and
wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and
began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped
around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are
you going to wash my feet?"

Jesus replied, "You do not realize now what I am doing, but later
you will understand." "No," said Peter, "you shall never wash my
feet." Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me."

"Then, Lord," Simon Peter replied, "not just my feet but my hands
and my head as well!" Jesus answered, "A person who has had a
bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though
not every one of you." For he knew who was going to betray him, and that
was why he said not every one was clean.

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and
returned to his place. "Do you understand what I have done for you?" he asked
them. "You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am.
Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash
one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done
for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a
messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you
will be blessed if you do them.

Dear Lord- I pray that you'd wash my feet-my hands and face and heart. I ask you to heal my wounds and those of my sisters and brothers- God I pray that you'd give us courage to take off the shoes that hurt. I pray that you'd help us break through the pride- stubbornness and other reasons that cause us to walk in shoes that hurt. I love you Lord- and pray in your name- amen.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

MOPS International Convention Time!

Drawing 4,000 Moms From Across U.S. and Beyond, MOPS International Convention Visits Orlando, Sept. 20 - 22, 2007

The kitchen is clean. The laundry is done... (in theory, anyways) The fridge is stocked- packing is in progress. Why? Because I leave in the morning for MOPS International Convention! You can click the link above to see the press-release. I'm looking forward to a wonderful busy and filling time in Orlando.

I've been involved in MOPS for 17 + years (since my oldest now nearly 18! was just a few months old) I began as a MOPPET Coordinator where I organized and planned activities for around 100 children. Following that season of leadership, I became MOPS Coordinator of our local group. I Coordinated a group of incredible leaders for a number of years. Then- God called me in a whole diferent direction- to be a MOPS Mentor.

Next- God called me to Field Leadership- yet another level of challenge! In Field Leadership- as a Council Coordinator, I've been focused on building the leaders in our local area. At the end of August- I accepted a new role in Field Leadership- as a Ministry Advancement Coordinator.

It will now be my responsibility to help our area build awareness, and build more groups. I'm excited- and anxious. Change is difficult- but od has called and quipped me every step of the way... so now we're heading down this new path together.

I guess- if you asked me what is it about MOPS that tugs at the deepest level of my heart- I'd have to say- it's because I see each MOPS groups as a safe haven for Moms. A place to stretch and grow and make mistakes. A place to be accepted and loved. A place to find and grow in God and find yourself, in God.

What does MOPS look like? Well- MOPS looks very different in different places. Sure- there are soccer-mom groups- ;) But there are also inner city groups- and military groups and international groups and groups that meet on work sites and groups for Teen- Mom's, and groups that meet in prisons.

MOPS Convention is a time where Mom's of all sorts come together- to worship, to learn, to goof around...and to learn enjoy all the different types of Moms that God has created.

If you asked what a "typical" MOPS Mom looked like- I couldn't answer. She may be African American, Hispanic, Caucasian, Middle Eastern, Indian, Australian, Catholic, Baptist, Non- Denominational, Lutheran, Methodist... or something all together different.

A MOPS Mom may look like me- or like you. She may be married, single, divorced, widowed, (does anyone use that word anymore?) a mom of multiples- an adoptive /forever Mom, a homeschool Mom, a Public School Mom. A MOPS Mom may have long hair, short hair- or no hair. She may wear make-up or not. She might be tatooed and or pierced. She may be older- she might be younger. She may have preschoolers AND teenagers. ;) She may be a step parent- or a legal guardian.

In the end- I'd have to say- she's a Preschool Mom.

And this- week- around 4,000 of them will be in Florida- learning to be a better mom- and where the next step in her journey with God may lead... will you pray for us? Thnx;)

MOPS International- Mothers Of Preschoolers.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Hemlock ring, Hanging Vine Stole....Weathers turned cold in Michigan... so on to hot-cocoa knitting!

Hanging Vine Stole: from Heartstrings

Yarn- Knitpicks Gloss in "Cocoa"

Needles- Knitpicks Harmony Interchangeable
US size 6

loving the pattern- the needles and the yarn. Any questions?

Can you say knitted chocolate?

Close up of the needles:

hemlock and hanging vine 008

Hot Chocolate without whipped cream? Not on my blog!

Yes- my Knitterly OCD has caused the cast-on of yet another- hemlock ring- this time a blanket in Patons SWS "Natural" ivory colorway. It's a thank-you gift ---being knit on - YET AGAIN The new Knitpicks Harmony needles--- as far a a review goes- I think multiple projects being knit at the same time on these needles says it all--- loving them!

hemlock in SWS

A post called "Lines Blurred, Eyes Strained, Freedom Gained" Is up at Laced With Grace- please visit me over there today- too;)

This week is UBER Busy. Getting ready for MOPS International's Annual Convention!

Gotta pack my sandals and my Bible---I serve God through MOPS as a MAC- (Ministry Advancement Coordinator- convention is a VERY busy event for field-leaders and Mom's alike! Will need to attempt the impossible today- find CUTE and COMFY shoes..... or not.

Please pray for convention as over 4000 Mom's gather to be cared for- challenged and encouraged--- ummmm and goof around;) A LOT.

Blocked pic of Hemlock Ring Doily/shawl: No wonder I'm obsessed with this pattern!

hemlock ring 020

Fiber God-Mother Questionaire:

What are your fiber-related hobbies? (Knit, Crochet, Spinning, Needlepoint, etc.) - I knit, spin

How long? - I don't know about 5 years?

Which are you *most* into? - Knitting, \then spinning

How would you classify yourself in this craft - Intermediate- advanced

What is your current fiber-related obsession? - current projects.

What are your favorite items to make? - Lace n socks- they always fit!

What are you making right now? - Hemlock Ring blanket- Hanging Vines Stole and Monkey Socks need to finish a CPH.

What other crafts or
Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? - Watercolor painting- spinning, photography

About the fiber:
Your favorite yarn(s) (brand or type)? - mostly natural stuff.

What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? - not so much about the acrylics or novelty stuff.

Is there a yarn you've been dying to try? - Sundara mostly solids...

Are you a fiber snob? - picky yeah- snob- no- but then again yeah.

About the tools:

Hardwood, Bamboo, Aluminum, Plastic? - mostly wood cept for cotton then metal....

For knitters: Straight, DPN or Circular needles? -all of the above;)

Favorite gadget? - kacha collector and measuring tape fiend--- want the little Lantern moon b-day cake;) my ipod;)

Anything you've been wanting to try? - everything? New Knitpicks DPNS!!!

About you:
Do you pamper yourself? Or do you generally come last? - often last- but do what I need so as not go crazy;)

What does an ideal day off/free hour consist of for you? - Good food- friends - knitting.. a great quiet time preferably on a beach.....

Are you allergic to anything? - banana's

What is your family situation? (Partner, spouse, kids, etc.) - Husband, 3 sons- 18, 15 and 5

Are you owned by any pets? - Bad dog Sami the Beagle , Cappucino the kitty nazi and Truffles the clumsy cat.

Your favorite color(s)? - purples, reds, pinks (deeper is better) blues... like jewel tones- rich colors;)

Any colors you just can't stand? - Don't much like yellows- and greens can make me look pretty pukey:(

What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.) - light florals- lavander, vanilla

Least favorite? (Maybe you're not "allergic," but it makes you want to die) - cat pee?

How do you feel about candy? - chocolate....yum.

Any dietary restrictions? - Nope- olny self imposed and I'm not following thru with those much lately;)

Is there anything that you collect? - YARN;) McCoy piece mostly in cream color.... longaberger baskets....milk glass.

What is your favorite holiday? - Christmas

Do you have an online wish list (e.g. Amazon, Things I Want)? Amazon- my e-mail

Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? - Yes.What kind of music do you like? pretty broad-
U2, Coldplay, Casting Crowns, Third Day, Springsteen, ummm classical....

Any special requests in case your Godmother wants to make a CD for you? - surprise me;)

Favorite movie(s)? - no real clue here;)

Any "fan" stuff? (e.g. Firefly, Wonder Woman, etc.) - sheepies;)

Anything we missed? Tell, Tell!

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Hemlock Ring Blocking!

Pin. Stretch. Pin again. Stretch again. Hemlock ring is blocking!

Blocked- 50" across
Colinette Jitterbug just under 3 skeins
US #5 Addi lace needles
about a week to knit- if you include a major re-do.

Will post more pics after it's dry.

CLick thru to flickr for a better view of the pics.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Hemlock Ring progress

Hemlock Ring- in progress of bind off! This has been a fast an lovely knit!
You can find my project "stat's" and pattern links here.
The flickr grid above should be clickable to the individual pics.
I snuck in a pic of what arrived at my house yesterday- the new Knitpicks Harmony needles-
I'll post a full review later- but suffice to say that:
1) they are beautiful
2) they are smoother than almost every other wood needles I've bought.
3) the price-point is great especially when compared to the few other makers of laminated wood needles.
4) points are sharp
5) they will match every project I work on...yet have enough contrast to clearly see even black or similar dark yarns.
6) did I already say they are smooooooooth and pretty????????
ravelry users- don't forget- I'm at soltrcy;)

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

September 11, 2001

A day of watching the saddest historical event in my lifetime. As if by watching we could help, or stop it, or see what would happen next. We were glued to the TV.

We prayed, cried. Our thoughts ran the gamut from "What's next?" "Is it over?" to "Oh my word--- the pain of the survivors and the terror of those lost." Like so many others- I felt helpless and vulnerable. I prayed for God's mercy- I prayed for God's comfort for everyone affected.

And then, we had to have a flag. I can't really explain why it happened- but somehow, during that day or two after 9/11 my energy became channeled into a singular quest. A quest for a flag.

It would be a sign of patriotism and unity. A symbol of courage in the face of terrorism. We had to have one, immediately.

I went to all the places they typically hung - awaiting sale. They had always been there before. Meijer's. Ace Hardware. K-Mart. Target. Nothing.

Then we searched out flag makers. Online, and local. EVERYONE was out. NO FLAGS were to be found withing 48 hours of 9-11.

I placed an order- and while we waited- I devised possibilities. I looked up patterns for sewing our own flag. We talked about the symbolism in the American flag. In the end- we decided sewing would take me too long- and- the white embroidered stars I wanted had also become "out of stock." I'm certainly no Betsy Ross- my skills are limited, and apparently sewing your own flag wasn't a novel idea. Others had already been there before me.

So- I bought foam squares. We carefully cut out red and white stripes. We cut out blue fields. Then white stars. We glued them together. We waited impatiently while they dried. We hung them in the front window. Our families first contribution towards unity.

The flag we'd ordered, soon arrived. A flag has hung from our front porch ever since. Somedays it is full of meaning- like today. Other days- I barely notice it. I have mixed emotions about that. It makes me sad- that I can walk by a flag without much of a thought, when others are dying for it's cause. And yet- it also makes me happy- because 9/11 is a day that signifies both remembrance of loss and the hope that comes from life's continuance. It's a slow return to a new normal.

9/11 is a day to be remembered- the people lost- people like Vivian Casalduc
whom I was honored to write a tribute for last year.

9/11 is also a day to find hope in. In the face of attack. In the face of unspeakable loss- our flag was still there. There are still people fighting for what it stands for. 9-11 was a day where we lost so many people- and we found so many heroes.

Policemen, firemen, EMS workers, Doctors, Nurses, professionals in stairwells, normal everyday people who became heroes by helping others.

Today- I remember them all- past and present- when I see our flag.

Star Spangled
Banner- Francis Scott Keys

Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen thro' the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream: '
T is the star-spangled banner: O, long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash'd out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O, thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,
Between their lov'd homes and the war's desolation;
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserv'd us as a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause. it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust"
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Dear Jesus- I pray for comfort for those for whom 9/11 brings thoughts of great loss. I pray for blessing on those who sacrificed so much to help others. I pray for courage for those even now- fighting to assure that 9/11 never happens again. I pray for wisdom for those who must make the excruciating decisions in regards to the war that has resulted. I pray for the families left behind- that you'd help them, and carry them through. amen

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

In which I admit my in-eptitude at the laundro-mat

I walked in lugging 100 pounds of dirty, sopping wet laundry. I was NOT happy.

My washer (less than 1 yr old front loader...under warranty waiting for repair) croaked. It just stopped draining. It left a huge load of dripping wet back to school laundry. Sears can't make it out to repair it until September 10th!!!! That's a week of no laundry for a family of 5.

That's not gonna work- I do laundry every day. So I headed for the first trip to the laundro-mat before the clothes turned musty. I went straight for the biggest machines I could find. I figured I 'd do fewer loads and get out of there asap. Maybe, maybe not.

A few things I learned at the laundro-mat:

1) Only the pinkest- laciest or racey-est underwear will fall on the floor at the laundromat. The granny panties and size xl boxer briefs will stay neatly in the basket.

2) The washing machines are just tall enough to make you stand on a stool to reach the detergent dispenser- this is to make you fall down in public. Don't fall for it- stand your ground. Use the normal washers- they're safer, although- you will have to do more loads. It's worth it- trust me.

3) The dryers lie. The sign says .25 what it doesn't tell you is that it will cost you 1000 x .25 to dry your towels. (well- something like that) about the cost of a new washer- I think.

4) Bring dryer sheets- I never did figure out how to add fabric softner.

5) Men at laundro-mats are there for more than laundering purposes. Wear your i-pod and look pmsy- alternatively- wave your husband's huge boxer-briefs like a flag- they'll look at you funny- but they'll leave you be.

6) There are lots of lonely elderly people at the laundro-mat- smile and talk to them- even if they can't hear you over the noise- at least they get to see a smiling friendly face.

7) Bring fluids- the heat will kill you.

I think I'll see if calling Sears as a crying lunatic mother of three who's leaving for vacation in a few days will get them here faster. If not- I'm thinking about picketing. Or suing. Or I suppose- heading back to the laundro-mat- at least now I'll be prepared.

DO you have any laundro-mat tips or tricks? Put em in the comments;)

Lord know's I need all the help I can get.

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