January Yarnalong 2021

I finished Gilead by Marilynne Robinson yesterday. It is beautiful and seemed to speak so much so me. I started reading A Promised Land By Barack Obama before Christmas and I have loved it as far as I’ve gotten although this is not very far at all- maybe 7 chapters. I plan to pick it up again soon.

I am knitting a wee scarf for 13’s teddy bear (that he requested for his birthday) and am attempting a doll or a stuffy or a something that I am a bit unsure about as yet for a purpose that I am just as unsure about (my normal process).

Christmas week we managed to catch planets aligning just so and took what some had dubbed the Star of Bethlehem as a promise that Jesus is with us still. Of course we know that, of course we do- but planets aligning just so the week of Christmas was such a sweet and delightful happening that I took hold of it as such a sign of goodness and hope after this year. I made sure to say it again and again to all of us.

Our Christmas was quite quiet this year. Goodness it was nice. I would have loved to visit family and have a house full to brimming and meet new babies and all that but it was, to us, a kind of soothing balm to all of our scrapes and wounds that this strange year has brought us. I’m not even really speaking about Covid-19 as much as a ton of other really difficult things that happened as well as the wretched virus. We had a lovely Christmas and I am thankful.

We went away to the mountains for a few days after Christmas – very carefully and we were completely on our own. It was such a good break from our house. I did not take any yarn or needles or a hook with me which must have been the very first time since I don’t even know when, and this was a much needed rest for my hands after so long Knitting for Others (HK edition) and all the normal Christmas Knitting.

Three kids asked for socks and three asked for fingerless mitts for Christmas which was nice and easy. I used this sock pattern, and this one– both slightly modified. For the Mitts I used a few patterns (maize, honeycomb and paddle to be precise) from Tin Can Knits – also slightly modified. I made myself a pair of socks and hubby too and knitted several Christmas wash cloths to go into gift baskets but I made those up as I went.

In my journal I wrote that my goal for a certain profile description might someday read, “In between books and work I knit and make.” I don’t feel that the last year had enough completed books or making which is what I call creating things of my own design – in whatever medium I chose- to be able to use that description as yet. Perhaps at the end of this year those words will prove true enough to my heart to use them. I’m half joking but I think that maybe mostly I am not.

I’m not bothering this year with anything even slightly resembling a New Year resolution. I really want to, out of habit perhaps. But nah. Not this time. I’m cherishing my kids and doing my best to give them what they need right here, right now. I’m clinging to my husband, my very best friend ( for real though) as we both struggle – a lot – but not enough to lose faith. I’m shoring up all my edges with only the most necessary. Also cherishing sweet friends in chats and zoom calls and phone coffee dates. I’m biding my time until the day that I can visit family far away. I don’t know what is coming but I do know that He knows. God, I mean and that is a great comfort.

There is yoga in my bathroom and walks at the trail I love and the treadmill although not as often as I should but oh well! There is the sense that I just might use some of the hundred and twenty-seven thousand healthy recipes that I have collected over the years. There is a note in my back pocket (it actually hangs above my desk but I think you get my meaning) that says, “start and don’t stop until you finish.” Also there are quiet times and prayer and I won’t lie, probably too much crying but none of that is new. I don’t spot a resolution in there at all.

All this to say that we are good here. Struggling, hurt, wounded, afraid, anxious, unnerved maybe- probably, for sure. But we are together. We are loved and comforted. We are seen and heard, known and that is huge. We are prayerful and full of hope even in our doubt. I think we know each other better which is a lot, maybe everything. I hope that you are well where you are. I pray that you are comforted when you need comfort and strengthened when you need strength and loved. All of it really. Not to sound too preachy but you are not alone, I hope that is something that we all can know deeply when it matters.

Peace friends, t

PS. I will join Ginny if I don’t forget 🙂

all the heavy hard

If I could just not feel like a failure that would be good. That would be such a nice change of pace. I have struggled with not being okay for decades. Decades. And that is just not fair. I sound like such a baby. I’m just so tired. Why does healing take so long?

Why can’t I just be better already? This inner battle has ruined me. It has made me a bad friend, parent, wife. Why can’t I just be even keeled and patient? I am so angry and frustrated- most of the time. I think I am worse as a person as I ever have been.

I’ve looked back at my childhood traumas. I’ve forgiven. I’ve prayed. I’ve searched for meaning and tried and decades have passed and I am still so stupidly needy for your affirmation and admiration and I don’t even know you.

I need a stranger to tell me that I am okay or good or something significant to be those things. Not my husband though. Or my friend. Or Jesus because I just can’t believe them. I’m broken. There is something wrong with me and I just cannot figure out what it is and frankly, I am just so tired of trying to figure it out.

I try. I work hard. I delve and listen and read and try and nothing. Just more words inside my head. I am no different. I am still a mess. No better. In fact all these decades of all this work leaves me more frustrated than ever. Makes me angry. Makes me worse than I was before.

And here I am. Unable to really change. Unable to really be enough. Unable to really believe. And done. Lord, I think I am just done. I don’t know what it means. I don’t know where it takes me. I know that for decades I have been trying to be okay. Satisfied. Enough. And I am still none of those things.

I also know- somehow- that for the decades and all the time before and for all the time after- You, Lord. The God who made everything- have been and will always be faithful. And for me. And I don’t really know how I can hold on to this as truth and feel the way that I feel today but there it is.

This. Is. All. I’ve. Got.

And then it is not. Hope slips up into my limbs from my dry ground like dew covering so much grass. There was nothing and then there was so much. I am not my feelings. I am not my feelings. I am not my feelings. Sometimes feelings lie. Like the devil. Like my hungry stomach. Like my woman body. Like my sleepy head. Like my fears. Like my weary soul.

Lord, take all of this. I lay it down. These worries for my kids. For my marriage. For all the heavy hard in the world. How I never feel good enough. Your work on the cross made me good enough. Not anything I do or have done. None of it. You answer all my prayers. I know you have healed me. The ashes proof of so much fire. I trust in Your Holy love. I do. I’m just tired Lord. I know that You know it and that You can handle my weary whiny messiness.

You are Lord. You are Lord. You are Lord. Jesus and I put my trust in You.

A Letter To Luke

I don’t often come here. To the quiet place in my room. To the small brown desk with someone else’s name scratched into the bottom of its drawer. But here I am with tablet and pen and coffee hot and strong. I’ve dusted off my working wheels and pulled the pages from my shelf; pen atop my ear. I’ve gathered toys from tables and chairs and counters and placed them into rooms and closed their doors; clutter our of sight.

The sound of the bathroom fan and my breathing in and out. The click of the keys and the dog gnawing on his bone. Helicopter overhead and semi truck passing on the road. These are the sounds that fill my ears while I wait for…something. You put down your cup and look up at me and we see one another better. I understand what you meant by the things that you said last night and you see, in my brown eyes swimming, how it all might have meant very little in the light of this new day. Time and sleep and sunshine and coffee bringing us back to common ground.

What a subtle grace it is to love ones best friend. You hold my hand even though we fight and I call you terrible names. I stand beside you even when you make me feel small and alone. We cling to one another in the battles of the everyday and we don’t let go and we always mean it when we say sorry and when we forgive. Even if its hard, maybe especially when its hard.

When I am weak and tired and don’t think that I can make it you send me trudging onward with such clever words and laughter and strong shoulders to cry on. When you are low and defeated I take your hand and whisper truth and the curtains open or the clouds part and light comes back behind your eyes to hope and to strength and we go on together.

I know that I can smash my face into your chest and weep and you won’t shove me away because you are busy or tired or angry even if you are feeling any of those things. You know (or at least I think that you know, rather hope you know!?) that even if you need to show me how scared you are that I still trust you, still believe in you, still love you.

I am thinking of braids now; picturing them in my mind. Three strands of differing colors and textures folded in over and under and together making something new. One strand of gold, one of silver and one of silk; Father God, you and me; strong, unbreakable. I am thinking that I am so thankful that we met so long ago in those large rooms among the rows of seats and angst filled youth. Thankful that we stayed friends even after you went one way in the world and I went another. Thankful for plain rides and holding hands and waiting for kisses and all the rest of it. This great love, steeped in sweet friendship was worth waiting on love. Thank you.

Yours, t










our road {a promise}

Last month my husband and I went on a trip to another state for six days. It was the very first time we’d both left the kids for more than one night. My husband could have gone on twenty trips without the kids at any point in our marriage because he doesn’t have the insecurities and mama worries that I have had. It took me a bit longer. It took hard work on myself and the building of relationships that we could trust when it comes to care for our kids. It didn’t happen overnight. It took ages. It took a lot of prayers and change and growth and for me, none of it was easy. But it was worth the work. I feel like we are now in a new stage in life. Like we have crossed a road that has always scared me and walk in a place of peace.

The logistics were challenging for this kind of trip. Rather than use respite for our FD9 we asked Hubby’s mom to come and stay at our house for those 5 nights. Two couples from our church, people the kids know and love, came and gave my MIL a rest, took the kids for a walk, did crafts, took the boys to lunch and just teamed up to help care for our six kiddos so that hubby and myself could rest and recharge. It was hard to leave. It was difficult to plan. We had to work hard on the budget to make it happen and I had to let go of trying to control everything and trust God and my friends and family to meet my kiddos needs. Was it perfect? Did it all go super great? no, but it did work. The kids were safe. The team worked together and everyone did so well.

We spent five nights in Seattle and it did not rain once. The sun shone down on us. The water lapped and sparkled along the shores and the snow-caped mountains smiled at us as we drove on freeways, stood on towers and relaxed on waterways. It was splendid. It was refreshing and restful and restorative. We met people like us. Folks who are foster parents and adoptive parents who love Jesus and who struggle and question and persevere. It was so great. At the end we boarded flights and ate great food and enjoyed hot coffee and stout beers and when we landed in our own state we were so surprised to find that it was raining.

Tiny raindrops dotted the cracked windshield of hubby’s old work car as we drove into and over the mountains on our way home. We smiled and laughed that the rain was waiting for us in the desert rather than meeting us in the Pacific North West. We smiled at the thought of all the lovely sunshine that we had enjoyed over the past several days. It felt to my heart like a lesson. Like God had smiled down on us and given us this gift of Sun and rest and peace. Like he was saying that it was not just okay that we take the time for ourselves and for rest, but that we must and that He was pleased with us. I’m not sure where my brain and heart had doubted God’s goodness toward us. Maybe only in that this life is so very hard and we often fail and that terrible feeling that God is disappointed in us and that means that He doesn’t want to give us good gifts. But that is just not true. I know it. I would tell anyone else that it isn’t true for them, but I struggle to believe it for me, for us.

As we started the drive home remembering the blessed days before the clouds moved in, blue-gray and hanging over the mountain tops. The Sun set in a fantastic mix of orange, yellows and red hues behind us. The rain became a little more steady. The end of our day was looking just as beautifully complex as all of our years together. When the sun finally disappeared over the horizon and the darkness closed in around us and the car sped over miles of long straight highway the full moon shone out over us as we went. A large singular light in the skies above us. I remembered God’s chosen people, guided in the dark by fire in the sky. It felt like Father’s gift to us again. The tears burned at the corners of my eyes as I remembered just then what a woman whom I did not know said as we walked out of the church a few days before. She reached out and touched my arm as I passed and when our eyes met she said, “God will give you strength in a time of great need.” The moon looking down through the dark and rain now felt to me like a reminder. It felt like a promise that God would be with us when it was hardest. Things I know, things that I would tell anyone, but such a sweet word to my spirit now as we traveled home.

After more than an hour the moon and its light was swallowed up by the darkness and the clouds were heavy and the rain was hard. Now the roads were narrow and the wind was fierce and my hand gripped the door as we flew across the miles. I was scared. We could not see well through the window and I could feel my husband’s tension build. I have learned that it does not help my husband to ask him to slow down or to be careful. He wasn’t driving that fast but I was filled with fear and as we went I prayed quietly and whispered to myself- God is good and faithful. A reminder that He is trustworthy even when I feel all the terror of my circumstances. The drive through this storm lasted a long time. I fought with myself to hold tight to the truth of who God is even when I felt so much fear. What if we wrecked and the kids were left without us? What if more loss and hurt bled into their lives from all the edges? What if we’d had days full of sunshine and the rest and then the worst would happen an hour or two from home? It had not ever been so clear to me just how fearful for my children I had been. Or how I did not trust in our good God for them. I prayed. I Asked for His forgiveness. On that dark road, our car pelted by rain and wind, I laid them all down and asked Father to keep them and whispered again, God you are good and faithful and I can trust You, no matter what I feel.

It seemed to me, the whole journey, was a picture of the years ahead of us with our children. There will be sunny days and stormy days and days when the darkness and rains last too long but God would always be good and faithful and we can, all of us, trust him.

Selah~

Blessings~ Tina

2019 A List Of Longing

When I close my eyes and think back on this past year I see mud on shoes from days and months of rain. Too much for our soil to take in. Heaps and heaps, rivers of rain. Storms that opened wide the skies and emptied themselves out all over our little lives.

I hear the sound of falling feet smacking the wet earth all around me. Mud splashing, mess making, sticking earth to clothes and skin and hair. Raindrops mixed with burning tears on cheeks, of heads aching and faces flushing. 

I see seedlings, green and stretching, springing up from watery earthy places seeking the sun. I see willows weeping, hanging heavy from too much growth. Branches reaching down from the desert skies so blue and pale. I see muscles expanding and spaces widening. The kind of stretching that can leave us hurt and sore and questioning.

I ache now for sun and warmth and the comforting sounds of gentle springs treading over miles of smooth stone. Of lying body onto soft grass and of sun on cheeks, warm and still. I crave the slow breath of Summer swirling lazily through trees covered in hearty, clinging leaves. Of slow shade traveling across the flat green landscapes, we walk. The sun slowly moving from one end of our earth to the other.

I’m eager for comfort. For warm spaces and cozy pillows and handmade blankets made in every color. I don’t know if 2019 will be so gentle. I hope so very much that it will be though. More than that, I pray for that for this year. Comfort Lord, please.

I won’t be so brave or so foolish as to make a list of resolutions. Every year I fail them. But I’ll make a list of things I long for just now. As I sit in the quiet of my sleeping rooms. Christmas tree lights and the sound of Ray Charles songs sung in his honor by so many different voices on the television screen.

My list is not the kind of list I’ve made before. It is the kind of list that grew from a year of so much deep work and the uncovering of what is really important and the discovery of what is not.

In no particular order, this is my list of longing for 2019.

1. Words. To read them and write them.

2. To do rather than speak about loving others well. Especially when it comes to my kids and husband.

3. To mend. To teach my children to treasure and save rather than the alternative.

4. To make and create with my hands.

5. To slow down and tackle the things that bring me joy, one at a time and finish them.

6. To sing a new song.

7. To love God with all of my heart, mind, and soul.

wait

in the line to pick up kids after school
cars moving slowly
seventeen drivers not letting me in
kids on benches and beneath the trees wait
i feel my insides stir and boil

in the check out aisle at the grocery store
slow beeps and long conversations
for the child to find her way to peace when she is upset and on the verge of meltdown
for the child to find the strength to go and look for the shoe that keeps us from leaving the house on time
my impatience does flips inside me

for the man to make the decision that i am biting at the bit to have settled
for the details of the new thing to be laid out on paper and solidly in place
for the winds to lift and turn and flip all my plans upside down
for the peace that i have chosen to be felt
i search for determination somewhere deep

waiting is hard
sometimes it is just life
sometimes it feels like too much
every time it is uncomfortable
i scream for help with my unbelief

more room for patience being made in my small places
i am pushed out on all sides
my capacity to leap stretching into new places
my ability to believe pulled further than it has yet been
grace growing in small hands

waiting is hard but Father is faithful
where i lack, He lacks not at all
my plan is good but His is better
i cling to Him
His right hand upholds me

Long-ish term projects and words {yarnalong}

The ladies from our church and other friends are reading a book together this season rather than doing a Bible study. I love the idea and am looking forward to the time we will all spend together. The book is One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voscamp. I’ve read it before -a few years back- and it wrecked me, in a good way. I hadn’t expected it to really hurt me so badly the second time around but it seems that it just might. When I read this weeks chapter there were tears that I hadn’t anticipated and so many things copied down, things that moved me. Below are just a few…

“But these aren’t things you need to say anyways. Like all beliefs, you simply live them.” pg. 15

“”If I’m ruthlessly honest, I may have said yes to God, yes to Christianity, but really, I have lived the no.” pg. 16

“The singular tear that slips down his cheek carves something out of me.” pg. 19

“And I see it. At least a bit more. When we find ourselves groping along, famished for more, we can choose.” pg. 21

“…our own emptiness, might actually become places to see. To see through to God. That that which tears open our soul, those holes that splatter our sight, might actually become the thin, open places to see through the mess of this place to the heart-aching beauty beyond. To Him. To the God whom we endlessly crave. Maybe so. But how?” pg. 22

But, I reckon I’ll keep ya posted. As it happens I am also reading (more like dabbling) in this one, this one and(at night when the house is quiet devouring) this one it is also my resource of the week! Adoption is a blessing but the road can be hard. We need good resources and community so yeah.
You. Are. Welcome. 😉

Projects made of yarn should go into Yarn Along posts yes? So, I started a sock yarn blanket. Yes. I. Did. Truth be told, it is one of three. The others are pretty but long-neglected and they rest so nicely in beautiful bags on shelves or in baskets. Its okay, someday they will see light and receive attention again. This one was meant to be my book-club-blanket meaning it was meant to be worked up when actually at said book club meetings but it is completely addicting and as it turns out, the only project that I want to work on.

Never mind that though, one mustn’t squelch the creative heart. This particular sock yarn blanket is different than my other ones in that it is not a knitted blanket but rather -I broke out the old crochet hook- and had to look up how to crochet- to do it. I used this recipe to start it as I needed a reminder of how to do it. It has been something like 8 years since I crocheted this kind of blanket. I do love it though and would recommend anyone else to start one.

I’m calling this my February Yarn Along post even if it is early, so I’ve linked it with Ginny. If you like to see what others are making and reading- have a look-see when you get a chance.

Blessing and peace~
Tina

Feb 6, 2018

I’ve added some progress pics below. I do enjoy this project and am afraid if I work on anything else it will join the other sock yarn blankets… but I do need to make some things to raise funds for my Summer Mission Trip so… We. Will. See. 😬😭😂

Lessons and Lists {This Year and Last}

Lessons

Last year I took a year off of buying yarn. I think that it changed the way I shop for yarn. The old way impulsive and unorganized.  I’m visual so, images in my Instagram feed were like the impulse buy section at the grocery store filled with my favorite sweets in pretty wrappers- so dangerous for me.

My first purchase this year was this beautiful set perfect for a Christmas Eve cast on. A selfish knit just at the end of my Holiday Knitting sounded perfect. Funny thing is, when the yarn arrived, I knew it wasn’t meant for me. It was meant for someone else. I won’t lie, I resisted. I really liked that yarn! After a fight and some whining and then of course repentance, I knit the mitts, praying for the heart of the one they were meant for as I went and they were gifted on Christmas morning with the message that God loved the recipient so much.

That is how Father works sometimes. Of course, I had a choice. Of course, He loves me too. His gifts to me (money for hand-dyed yarn and the love of knitting) and then leading me to not hold on tight to either but to give the gifts away and to bless someone else- that is just like Him. It hurt a little for reasons that I don’t need to share but it wasn’t (this time) the prying open of hands and the taking away of something that I thought that I needed. It was a simple nudge. A whisper in the ear. A suggestion. He gave me the choice.

“Hey what about them?”
“Oh, but I wanted this for me? I’ve been waiting a while.”
“I know.”
No pressure but a leading.
“OK.” Reluctant I was. Defiant even. Then I avoided the cast on for as long a possible. After a time I decided that He didn’t want me to give the gift feeling some sort of way about it- frustrated. Angry. Irritated. Disappointed.

He wanted a willing heart, a pure heart, and obedience. He wanted me to – do the work- with joy. To give the gift with Joy- with love. Chosen Joy and chosen love- before I felt them. And That bit sums it up for me.
Chosen Joy.
Chosen Love.
Before it is felt- and if it never is felt- can still be chosen.
Can still be given.
My heart like the Grinch’s heart growing three sizes.

The lesson of the last year for me really and perhaps the lesson for the next.

New Year’s resolutions: 

1. Get healthy
2. Read whole books (yes, that’s right- finish them!)
3. Write
4. Sing ( Reminder: you love this!)
5. Knit a cardigan for myself I like this one (oh it’s the coolest) or this one  (it’s so lovely) but then again, perhaps this one with a Cherry Little Bird Shawl Pin to hold it closed from here? Oh, but there is this one as well. 🙂
6. Be a friend and support to another (local) foster / adoptive mom (family).
7. Really focus on this years Mission Trip to Asia. Prayer, meetings, training, fundraising.

These last two added January 1, 2018, Happy New Year!

8. Engage with the kids more- because I tend to be very busy and I often miss the connection.

9. Give up all alcohol for the year.

As lists go, this year’s is not too bad. I think I’ve managed to set attainable goals. We. Will. See.

Do you have a New Years resolutions list? Or a lesson you have been learning from the last?

Many Blessings Friends,<
Tina

Verse for last year – and perhaps for this year. ❤️

Heaps Of Grace {What We Need}

grace
noun  \ ˈgrās \

disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency
a temporary exemption reprieve

cropped-img_27803.jpg

Tipping Scales

Everyone is busy. I know that. The list of things that go on the calendar grows as the family does and we’ve actually learned to be mindful of how many things we do. Every Season has a sport. We do one. Not one for each kid but one. Age groups mean more than one team but that is perfectly acceptable. There are school things, church things and community events. Just now we have two appointments a week for the new kid on the block. Twice a month we work the food pantry and there are Wednesday night Bible study’s and two Sunday services to attend. Birthday parties rarely get attended. We hang out with friends as a family once every few months. Date nights happen about once a month.

I miss a lot of church activities. If one kid is sick we all stay in. If hubby works late (no shade people just facts) sometimes I opt-out of activities if it means it’ll be me and five or six kiddos depending on what day of the week it is. I consider everyone’s moods- including my own. I consider who is tired, who is whiny, how many meltdowns we’ve had since we walked in the door, who hasn’t finished homework, how many appointments we have that day or practices and how many showers are needed before bedtime. Every day these sorts of things go on a set of scales in my minds eye and sometimes the Stay Home Side wins and sometimes the Go Out Side wins but its a war for some semblance of balance. Sometimes it is all me who needs a break although I don’t recall the last time we all stayed in for that reason. It does happen sometimes though, I m sure of it. She said, unapologetically.

There is a quiet and sometimes not so quiet disappointed bunch of people in our lives. God bless them. I know that they mean well. They want the best for our family. Truth be told, I don’t want them to stop asking us to things or to stop giving us a little jab when we miss something. Sometimes we do need a little push. Sometimes you just gotta get out and be with other people no matter how many times someone looks sideways at my kid not behaving or my impatience clearly worn on my sleeve. We need the fellowship and a little grace. Nope. I take that back- we need heaps of grace. Heaps. Of. Grace.

I don’t think most jabs need a lot of words from me. They just don’t know. They are not up in the night because of night terrors or coughing fits meant to make kid throw-up so said kid can get care that we are already giving but they are not feeling or believing in. They don’t know what we know about our kiddos lives before us or even the really difficult, medicated and painful start for our bio kids lives. They don’t deal with the weight of all these little hearts and minds on shoulders. As much as they love or enjoy our family it’s not their job to get these guys fed, hydrated, enough sleep, blood sugars balanced and pockets filled with tools to help them navigate life that is hard for them. I’m reminding myself that they just don’t know and that is okay. Say what they like- if I know, if I understand that then I can be okay with their disappointment. And that is one of my hurts from childhood so yeah just another perk of this life we’ve chosen, “more healing for this mama’s wounded heart, yaaaay”.  Everything there in quotes said like Kristen Wiig when she is feigning joy.

86B8DC99-A76E-4060-8F59-30B3C785E6F3

Self-care – Wikipedia

Selfcare includes all health decisions people (as individuals or consumers) make for themselves and their families to ensure they are physically and mentally fit.

 

Tick Tock (Dang it!)

On most weekdays I drop most of the kids off at school in the morning. It is home to clean and have a little one on one time with the youngest (it is too cold these days for a morning walk). An errand or two and then she is off to school just before lunch. Immediately after I make a stop for one of our kids at another school- every school day. After that I run home and meet hubby for lunch, if its that kinda day. Sometimes my niece is at the house so we hang out. Sometimes I grab a walk. Sometimes I run an errand or two or three. Mostly I am keenly aware of the ticking of the clock. No extra errands will get me home at 12:20 leaving me with two hours until school pick-ups begin again. Five or six kids spread out over three schools- it’s a tiny town so not as bad as it sounds. Home, snacks and homework and the wheels turn until bedtime.

Suddenly I am ever so keenly aware that there is ONE WEEK UNTIL CHRISTMAS BREAK which means THREE FULL WEEKS WITH ALL THE KIDS OUT OF SCHOOL. Not as big a deal as the all caps might suggest, but almost. It is time though to do some prep-care for myself. It is time to fill my pockets with grace and a plan that I can fall back on when things get tough. I will utilize my favorite three self-care tools in ruthless and determined preparation- I make that promise to myself right now. As soon as I get the chance I will walk ten miles and pray and sing out loud and maybe cry. I haven’t been on the trail in a week, yep. But school breaks mean I get short walks with all the kids which is a different kind of beautiful blessing which I am thankful for – an adjustment to one of my tools for the care of all of us.

Yesterday I found myself battling my own to-do list. Not the kind of list that one writes down but the kind of list that always exists hanging above one’s head. A list of expectations unrealistic and weighty. I’d been home for 30 minutes or so. It had been a full morning of laundry and straightening of hair (yeah I don’t usually but it has proved to be the only way to wear my hair down in this climate). It was Walmart for groceries, the preschooler’s lunch made, dressed in layers, washed and hair brushed (wait no not that one) and off to school. I stopped at brothers school and then had a talk with his principal because it had been that kinda day.

I’d made it home, unloaded the groceries, a bit more laundry (N-E-V-E-R E-N-D-I-N-G -said in a scary prolonged whisper). As I put the groceries away I consider cleaning out the fridge. While I spray the door knobs with disinfectant (because someone is sick) I consider freeing the white wall of all the grubby little hand prints and smears of -oh gosh- I don’t know what. While I walk from one room to another, picking up little bits of tissue (??) from the floors I consider sweeping and while I use the restroom I seriously consider scrubbing the toilets. Even as I fill the kettle for my tea I consider emptying the dishwasher but Oh Lord, there is always going to be something to do. I clean. The kids have chores. But Seven and sometimes 8 people live here. On this particular day I choose self-care instead of anything from that list always hanging above my head.

I just needed to quickly remove all the toys from my line of sight (tossing them beneath the coffee table for the win). I  ignore the grass on the wood floors that the dogs have brought in. I turned the Christmas tree lights on and lit my pretty smelling candle, brewed that cup of really lovely tea and blew the dust off of my pretty tray. My knitting, the TV remote and my tea arranged just so on the pretty green and white tray within reaching distance. Feet up, legs covered and cozy beneath afghan and now I am left with 1 hour and 15 minutes (because I stopped to make a note of my thoughts in my phone). It is  just about enough time for an entire episode of the Crown Season 2. Episode 1 on Netflix. Woo Hoo.

73ED0403-ADFE-46A5-A486-D7390717973E

I feel like I need to say it: I don’t just get time to myself. I have to make a conscious effort to make that time and then to use it well. Yesterday it was ignoring the mess and having some time to veg and knit and recharge. Today I have a plan to play basketball with the kiddos. Fresh air and repetitive movements good for every-single-one-of-us. Tomorrow I might get to take that walk because you know if there is even-the-slightest chance I am going to take it no matter how tired I am. Or a nap, Oh Lord wouldn’t that be nice? What are your fave ways to care for you? My top three self-care tool are –like duh– but I’ll tell you anyhow:

1. Getting enough sleep.
2. A long walk in the fresh air.
3. Healthy food which is not at all what I crave but we gotta do what we gotta do.

Favorite Resource Of The Week

How To Handle Overstimulation During The Holidays
The Honestly Adoption Podcast- Season 8, Episode 69
Seriously. So. Good. In our house right now we have one very active, high energy sensory seeking kid and one (easily overwhelmed) sensory avoiding kid. The other kids fall somewhere in the middle of both sides of the pendulum. This weeks podcast was super helpful in reminding me what some of my kids will need this holiday season and gave lots of tips on how to do what I️ need to do to keep everyone regulated and cared for. Last weeks was good too!

Favorite Knitting Of The Week

This week I am knitting a baby prezzie for a friend- a favorite designer and pattern for sure. I am way behind and baby is coming soon so I’d best get off this computer and get back to knitting- after I feed the kiddos lunch I suppose. Take care of you first mama and dad and caretakers of all kinds really.

Fave Slightly-Sarcastic-But-Absolutely-Relevant Self-Care Tip

✈️ When the air masks fall as the airplane plummets be sure to put your mask on first- you know, so you’re awake and alert to put the mask on the loves that you care for. 👊🏼

Blessings,
~Tina