Friday, April 17, 2015

Worthwhile Reads and Lovely Things

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Jillian and I went to a charity fashion show this week and Christopher snapped this picture of us before we left. If I blink again this gorgeous girl is going to be taller than me.

Welcome to my new readers and to those of you returning to this space. Thanks for joining me! Lets get to the good stuff!

Here are this week's worthwhile reads and lovely things, plus a few highlights from the third month of 2015 ...

Books: this month I had every intention of updating my 2015 reading list, but March had other ideas and I just never got around to it. A little more grace for this, please?

Blogs: here are some worthwhile reads that I came across in my browsing:

YouTube: I'm so excited that Crash Course has released Crash Course Kids! 
Speaking of YouTube, I'm dusting off my channel and have plans to share some vlogs and other videos soon. Stay tuned!

FREE Mini-Course: Have you guys seen this? It's a free mini video e-course about stress free homemaking. I don't know about you, but we are coming off of one of the worst, most chaotic few weeks we've had in a long time and I could use a little stress reducing inspiration. I plan to pour some tea and get started watching the videos this afternoon.

Click on the image below to get access to the ecourse:

Pinterest: My most popular pin lately is the pattern for this shawl. I added to my Writing board. Also, I took over the TEND Magazine Pinterest account, too and would love it if you guys followed us over there.

Local Loves: I love my state. I love my town. I'm deeply embarrassed about the way my state's government has behaved recently, but I am still proud of the good people of this place that I love to call home. Indiana is open for business and we welcome ALL. And that's really all I have to say here about that.

Kara Creates: In March I finished one project, the Northern Loop Cowl, which I gave to my mama after her mama passed away. I just needed a way to be able to give her a hug express how sorry I was and this felt like a small gesture toward that.

::: That's what I found worthwhile and lovely this past week and what my March looked like. :::

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

My mother's mother and loving to the end of our days.

It's been a quiet March here. My grandmother died. I'm sorry if that sounds abrupt. She passed away on February 28 and I just haven't known how to sit down and write those words before now.

So it's been socks and shawls and silence because that's been easier for me than dealing with the mortality of those that I love, as well as my own. I long for heaven, but sometimes I wish we could all go together and no one had to miss anyone or leave anyone behind. Ever.

I shared her picture on Instagram and my sister and my cousins shared thoughts on Facebook (modern day grieving, but still authentic) and the friends and family and strangers who commented were so kind, so sweet but I couldn't get past the soundbite part of the event.

You know what I mean when I mention the soundbite part of a life event? Where you replay it over and over in your head in little one or two line summaries, or soundbites, imagining how you would explain it to someone else, and you don't let it touch you any deeper than that because ... well, because you simply can't. Not yet.

Or maybe I'm the only one who does things like that.

When I found out the news I was at our local community center getting ready to paint with friends, the money going toward a charity cause. It was my dad who called me and when I said, "I don't know what to do" he answered,"there's nothing really to do. Stay and paint and then go home and we'll call you when we have more for you."

So I stayed. I stayed and I made small talk and I held my friend Ashley's baby and, even though I said the words out loud - my grandmother passed away - I did not really focus on the thought and what it meant until much later.

 I stayed and I painted and then I went home.

I miss her. And missing her has brought up all kinds of feelings and grief.
I miss my grandmother and I miss what she represented to me: my childhood.

I miss my childhood.

I miss my children's childhood.

I miss this last few years and all that I missed even though I was right here living it every single day.

I miss the woman whose anniversary gift to me last year was a short, to the point note about how she knew that Christopher and I were good together from the first time she met him and how a good marriage was worth fighting for and I had one, so fight for it. Now, I don't know exactly which little bird told her we were struggling, but my grandmother didn't often come out and give blunt, straightforward advice. But when she did, you were wise to listen.

She was right about so many things. And now we are directionless.

It was really difficult to fall asleep that first night.
She was 95.
Her death wasn't a surprise, and yet ... yet it was.
I had never slept a night without her presence, her being somewhere on this earth.

As I laid in the dark, sleep elusive, that was the thought keeping me awake:  I was grandmother-less. And, 99 miles away, I know the distance because we measured it on the odometer when they first moved, my mother was a motherless child going to sleep for the very first time in her life without her mother being somewhere on this earth.

It seems so cruel, the way we leave each other. That some of us have to go and some of us get to stay. And there doesn't often seem to be a rhyme or a reason to it.

Yes, 95 years is a good long life.
Yes, she packed a lot of adventure into those years.
But I would have taken fifty more with her and I know my mother would, too.

Think of it: the echos, the imprints, the ripples.

Once my grandma gave me a recipe written in her mother's hand so that I could copy it for a family cookbook I was compiling. When I was finished with the project, I gave the original recipe card back to her and she touched it, tracing her mother's handwriting, and said,"our mothers are always special to us." I think it was the first time I truly saw my grandmother as someone's daughter.

I want to be a mother whose love is so fierce my children feel it all the way until the end of their days, well beyond the end of my own time. Loved down through generations, the way I am loved.

My grandmother, my great-aunts, my aunt, and my mother: all good mothers, all branches in a tree full of strong women.

And then there's me. The bough that almost broke.
The one who struggled.
The one who wonders what her mothering legacy will be.
The one who doubts.

I don't want to go to sleep in a world where my mother is motherless.
I don't want to go to sleep ever in a world where I will one day be motherless.
And I cannot even stomach the idea, can barely even type it here without feeling like it's tempting fate, to fathom a world where my children ... no, I just can't finish that. I cannot.

I'm struggling with this.
I cannot seem to get to the bright place.
I cannot seem to work through this, to process my feelings and set them into some order. This is acceptable in the face of loss. That is not. All of it seems valid. The anger. The sadness. The doubt.

My mother's mother passed away and I feel like someone set all of the clocks to fast-forward and the world is turning quicker and I'm not a child any longer and my children won't be children much longer and someday I'll be the motherless daughter, my child the motherless child and it really, really, reallyisjusttoomuchtostand.

So I haven't been letting myself think about it very much.
Except for when I'm constantly thinking about it.

I weep that Gertrude didn't get 95 years with her mother.
I weep for Kathy because 95 years wasn't enough with Jean.
I desperately want someone to promise me I'll get 95 years with my mother,
that my children will have 95 with me.

I was almost broken, but I learned how to bend.

And I think that is because somewhere, deep within, my marrow, my roots, there is strength and there is love and there are all the mothers all lined up behind me, showing me how to twist and reach and grow and love right up to the end of my days, however they may be numbered.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Kara Creates 75/365 ::: Thinking of Waves

Ha! You though I'd all but forgotten about this little challenge didn't you?


I've had that "potato chip" feeling with other knitting projects, you know? You can't eat just one? I've felt that way with socks, with a ruffle scarf, with the Zsa hat pattern, but until now I've not felt that way about a shawl.

Enter the Thinking of Waves shawl by Yellow Cosmo Designs. This pattern uses short rows so each section grows the shawl, yet I haven't felt that "oh my goodness, will I ever get to the end of this row?" feeling. I cast on and then finished sections A through E and got a good way through section F by the end of the day yesterday.

I can't help myself.

You do have to take care and add an extra YO, to be dropped the next time you knit that way again, because it does want to be tight at the edge. But, I'm trusting my fellow Ravelry knitters that the tightness can be prevented.

It's a lovely knit! And, I'm getting to use not only my anniversary yarn from a few years ago (which I tried and failed to use in another shawl) plus this lovely new yarn from aRockandaTree in the colorway "Map of the World" that I fell for hard.

I've got more to say, friends, and things to share about the last few weeks of my life. But not today. Today I'm going to see if I can't get through another section or two of this fun shawl while I curl up on the couch with my favorite kiddos and watch travel documentaries about Ireland (aka, what is passing for homeschool on this St. Patrick's day)