Saturday, December 22, 2012


Christmas has come to Train Central! And the gym downstairs is finally ready too, just in time. We aren't giving a lot of gifts this year because we don't want more stuff to move to River's Edge Bungalow in February. I always need more stationery and ink, so this is my perennial Christmas list. But what I really need, and what I want to be a giver of, is grace. Grace when I'm doing wrong. Grace when I'm bumbling. Grace when I am proud of myself if I'm doing well. Grace when I don't even know I need it. Grace for everything big and small. And fortunately, Jesus, the ultimate giver of grace, has come and showered us with grace by the sprinkling of His blood. In this season, I marvel anew that He would come to be born a baby, to die for me. But better yet, He's promised to come again.

"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain,' for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, 'I am making everything new!'" Rev.21:3-5

Wishing you a truly Merry Christmas. No matter what is going on in your heart and life, the joy Jesus gives can be yours. May His joy be in our hearts all year long, until He comes again.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Little Friend

Fidget is still into Greek myths. This is a tiny sewing project she did at a play date. I love that she has a friend who sews! She shared her fabrics with Rosa and they each made a doll. Rosa's is named Andromeda. When Rosa was finished, she showed Andromeda around the apartment. Andromeda went for a walk in nature...

and then it was time for a cup of tea. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Knitting: the Good, and the Bad & Ugly

I'm still knitting, even if I haven't talked much about it lately. I'll never have anywhere near the amount of knitted presents to give this year as I did last year, but I'm all right with that. Since Christmas means celebrating Jesus, not knitting, I am putting less and less emphasis on gifts. The more sorrow and suffering I see in the world, the more my eyes are on Jesus, the Hope of Christmas, and the less important presents tend to be. But, since we still do want to give gifts that show people we love them, here's what I've been working on for our brother in law who is serving a year's deployment in Korea.

It's the 'good' of my recent work. The body of the socks is in this yarn, below, Opal Rainforest VIII, color: Mr Breakdance. Fun, right? Looks more like Mr Blue Jeans to me.

The remainder, the heels and toes, is in Berroco Comfort Sock, color 1810. I like that it looks sort of camouflage. I started calling the socks Polish Pottery because of all the pretty flecks and variations. Now for the bad and ugly.

I'm not sure the picture does justice to how bad it really looks. Recently I've gotten a couple of books on circular knitting and instructions on toe-up socks. I used what I had extra in my yarn box for this project, discontinued Mission Falls wool. I didn't have enough for two socks, so they were probably doomed from the start. But I was concentrating on the instructions. I didn't worry about how bulky and ugly the sock was getting, I was trying the stranded-work ( using two colors at once). To top it off, the leg opening is tight, so there is no one on earth who will want to wear it. But, for now I'm going to keep it in my knitting box to remember my first toe-up project.

Here's some more delightful yarn I got from ebay last week. This variation of, Opal is color 6231, Mrs Flamenco. Don't you love the names they come up with? And, there's more yarn on the way! I may not have time to use it before Christmas but if Jesus tarries, this one will still make lovely birthday socks for the niece who loves purple, come spring.

Though I usually grouch at stores bringing Christmas things out too early, I cheered as we went by our town workers assembling a giant lighted tree this morning. With news of our country in peril and war around the world, more than ever I feel need of the Hope of Christmas. Bring those trees and lights out, I say. I need reminding: this world is not our home. Jesus has come and will come again. In the meantime, I'm working on gifts, and just maybe I can get a few more done by Christmas. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Veterans' Day

It was a glorious weekend for us. The Pres got home from his trip and had four days off. Especially after receiving him home safely it was a sobering time to observe Veterans' Day, knowing there are multitudes of faithful Americans who have given their lives for our freedom.

 We went to the aquarium twice this weekend. The first time we saw the ocean life building. The second time we got to see the new exhibit about the giant extinct shark Megalodon as well as the Marsh Pavilion.

The weather was gorgeous and warm for November. Along the nature walk we took advantage of the several boardwalks along Owls Creek, and an observation tower.

Fig didn't stick around long enough to see much through these viewers but the Pres spotted a kingfisher as it swooped down on a fish and brought it back to a tree to eat it.

I had felt troubled this week but still at peace. It was so good for the soul to get out into God's creation and feel Him near, and know He is faithful, no matter what is going on in politics. Our land is beautiful, we are blessed, and there is still hope for the people of God. 

It was a triumph to remain at peace in the past week, after struggling a couple of years with anxiety. Lately I have been comforted by Bible reading, God's closeness in prayer, and the counsel of good friends.

If there's one thing we know, it's that the enemy wants to rob us of our joy. But it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. And we know the end of the story: Jesus wins.

So we enjoyed our freedom, taking in the sunshine, watching a red tail hawk devouring a squirrel;

following the juvenile otter all around his tank;

and a screech owl hidden in a bush in the outdoor aviary was fascinating to watch.

Here was a quiet tank with a few little fish and hermit crabs. It was meditative to watch them go about their watery day.

We love the harbor seals. You can lose yourself in just enjoying these animals frolic. Fig chased them up and down the tank.

Living free, enjoying simple pleasures with family, I feel more than ever how short our time here on earth is and how precious these times are. I never want to take them for granted. God is good.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Pizza

Halloween greetings! It is our family's tradition to have pizza and watch a movie on Halloween as we wait for trick-or-treaters. Fidget's not interested in trick or treating which is just as well for us, and because it isn't a very big holiday for me I often forget about the pizza. I end up buying a frozen cardboard one or calling a delivery place. This time Fidget and I thought ahead. 

My birthday is the week before Halloween so I grew up having Halloween parties and loving Halloween. I never thought it was scary and enjoyed all the candy I could get. But once I became a Christian, the excitement of Halloween was drained. By then I was 22 anyway, long done with dressing up to scour the neighborhood for goodies. So it's kind of sweet to see Fig cling to a tradition like this one. Several years ago we had a neighbor hang some gruesome decorations at his house and I thought any pleasant associations Fig had with the holiday were gone. But, the pizza one she hangs onto.

I fibbed a little when I said we planned ahead. We got some ingredients for it, pepperoni and mushrooms and mozzarella, but I didn't have a recipe here til about 4pm when I hit the King Arthur Flour blog. It takes about 3 hours but the deliciousness makes it well worth it. Maybe next year I'll have the recipe at hand and start thinking about it before 4pm.

Enjoy! Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Peace of Mind

Fidget and I are back from our quick trip to the Lowcountry. It was so refreshing to be out there with the oaks and the moss,

taking in all those open vistas, remembering good times and hoping to move back one day.

There's a lushness to the land that is seductive. It's so open, so unspoiled. 

 I can breathe out here!

In addition to virgin vistas we got to visit with friends and stay with family and loved ones. They took us to a fabulous aquarium where we enjoyed fish as well as birds.

This barn owl was a favorite. 

And the South has a charm unlike any other place. 

We had a leisurely time, learned some history, and Fidget had fun playing with all her cousins. I had time for knitting and Fidget ran some track and cross country with the kids. She even got to dress up as a cheetah at a Halloween party.

We didn't get any tourist trap souvenirs. But what we did come home with were 3 prize feathers courtesy of Romeo, one of our friend Linda's peacocks. 

So, now it's back to the tracks. The wind is whipping and rain is falling. But God's peace is with us as are sweet memories of our week at home.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Autumn Treats

Lately we've enjoyed a bunch of festivals. That means lots of ice cream, a dream for Fidget since we took her off of dairy awhile back to help tame her itching and coughs.

We've also been traveling in the Land of Cotton. Here's a cotton gin we passed. Fidget was playing with toys in the back seat and was not impressed when I remarked on it, but I had to go back and take a photo. The sight of all that cotton was breathtaking to me. It made me reflect on the hard work on which our country was founded. There's a purity and dignity, an inherent value to working the land.  I just had to stop and admire the fruits of all that labor.

Back to our travels. This week we're in South Carolina, where we spent time at a fun farm on a hot dusty day. This hill has two slides built into it. Fig and her cousins were the only kids there and they had a ball shooting down through the hill's two tunnel slides.

This place had a giant trampoline, swings, duck races, things to climb on, a corn maze and a pumpkin patch.

 Meanwhile, I've been making lots of progress on my brother in law's Christmas socks. He is stationed far away at the moment so when I get them finished I may send them early. Don't they remind you of Polish pottery?

Here's a little wash cloth I made from leftovers for a little guy's baby sweater. Since I had more of this luscious yarn I thought I'd bring him a little something else from it when I visit this week.

So our travels continue. We've only done math once this week, but who's counting?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Days of Small, Beautiful Things

Hello long lost friends! Festive fall greetings to you at long last. It's good to be back. I have been hampered by computer glitches here, making doing anything online sort of trying, and at times impossible. The Pres has done some traveling, Fidget has gotten sick, better, sick, then better again, and we have taken lots of time off to do fun things like frolic at the zoo and aquarium. Fidget made fast friends with the tiger at the zoo, who she calls Boots after the one in a favorite book, Tiger, Tiger by Lynne Reid Banks.I have to wonder: what does that tiger think, so close to her face on the other side of that thick glass? Does he just see a meal, or is he having the same spiritual experience that she is?

Besides making friends with tigers we've also made some friends at our new church's ladies' Bible study and a MomsNext group. We've tried a home schooling co-op and between the two of us Fidget and I have gotten 25 pen pals from International Pen Friends. In between all that I made a long-overdue family newsletter and started taking karate lessons with Fidget. Wow! Sounds like we're keeping busy. 

In addition to that I am still working my way through socks for my brothers in law for Christmas. Somehow I haven't gotten much done lately...I wonder why. Heh heh.

I wish I had some fantastic progress to show in some area. I admit though, lately unless it's about choosing knitting sock colors, I haven't had any thoughts about art. All that stuff I might be involved in at another house is pretty much out of my mind. I haven't had any deep revelations either. I have been trying to honestly assess, as the Bible study works through the book of James, if my faith has works or what it looks like to outsiders. I can't honestly say. But I can say I trust Jesus to do His will in me and work what is pleasing to Him. If this is my desire, I know I am praying in His will and He will answer.

Recently I was reminded of the verse which says 'Who has despised the day of small things?' (Zechariah 4:10) I love this verse. It reminds me that in all these little things, God is doing His will, His beautiful, perfect and all-encompassing will, in my life. So though I may not have socks to show for my time, I've got tigers to visit, pen pals to write, and karate chops to practice, my family to love and care for, and this precious daughter to teach. I don't have to wonder at the sense of it. God is in it all.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Lap of Luxury

Here are a few things going on at the new place. First, the Ada Cowl from Mollie Makes Magazine. I love this yarn (M235 Wine Splash) so much that I made 2 cowls and 2 baby sweaters from it this summer. I brought this cowl project on our camping trip and finished just as we moved in at the end of the trip.

It's going to be a Christmas present.

These socks are for a little girl in California, the first daughter of a friend of mine who I last saw several years ago. She turns 4 in October. I was going to make some for Fidget as well but haven't done it yet. Still plenty of time until Christmas. 

These socks are from the basic pattern taught at the knit shop where I took a class with Christmas money over a year ago. Since then I've made a bunch of socks for nearly all the adults in the family. For my brothers in law I'm doing short manly socks in a luxurious yarn. This one was called denim but was a close out so it isn't available anymore. I got it because it reminded me of camouflage. 

We've already been at our small apartment for 2 of our 6 months' lease. I've come without my mixer, my sewing machine, most of my pots and pans, and all my art supplies. The nice side effect of living small is that I have plenty of time and attention for home schooling with few distractions. But another lovely thing is that I have time for creative writing. Yes, my big, hand-crafted desk is packed away in storage in Rhode Island, but I find my lap desk is all I need. In fact, it's the lap of luxury on a night when Fidget is sick in bed. It's quiet here if you don't count the trains going by, and after awhile they just add to the ambiance. 

Inspiration is good!