Thursday, April 17, 2014

Holy, Holy, Holy

The snow that fell on Monday night is nearly gone and the sun is shining. I've got the dough for hot cross buns rising on the stove top and the kids actually turned their palms into little crosses this year. The forecast for Easter morning is a blessed 70 degrees. Despite a little fever from teething for Rosemary, all of my kids are healthy. I'm exercising amazing restraint from the pre-purchased easter candy and I already know what everyone is wearing to church on Sunday. It might be the smoothest Holy Week ever. On paper, anyway.

This Lent kind of happened to me without me planning on it. Isn't that always the way? You carefully choose something that's not too hard but not too easy and yet still seem to be startled each day when you come face to face with how desperately you need Jesus. Every moment. 

On this sunny morning in April, right before we tip into the swirl of this intense weekend, I'm looking at these kids. I'm thinking on the frustrations and imperfections of our family life every day. I'm seeing the need and ache of humanity in our little band of believers. We never stop needing Good Friday. Not ever. 

It might be the most perfect Holy Week ever, but we're still a human family. The perfection of Holy Week doesn't come down to the jelly beans I didn't eat or the new tights I bought for my girls. It's not dependent on us getting to church on time or whether or not I remember to fast on Friday. It's never something we could deserve or earn, either by executing the perfectly pius Lent or actually getting through 40 days of devotionals with our squirmy kids (and managing not to lose our temper).

It's the perfect gift. Wholly unearned. Desperately needed.

With it, we can enter into the holiness of Holy Week ourselves...because in Him? We are.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Honey, Honey

I've had a thing about finishing knits lately.

That is, I haven't been. Rosie's cardi will never fit her, one sleeve done and the other hibernating. My Shalom, too, is sitting in the knitting basket, untouched. Dinah's shrug just needs a button.

I'm not sure what that's about. I'm usually so good at finishing one thing before beginning another but the past few months I've been...distracted.

I broke my unfinishing streak this weekend, casting off my honey cowl on my birthday. Happy Birthday to me, because it's gorgeous and I'm in love. It may seem ridiculous to knit a wool cowl in April, but with the temperatures dipping below freezing yet again, not to mention waking up to snow this morning, I know I'll get some use out of it. You can find my ravelry notes here.

I cast on 280 stitches on size 6 needles since I used fingering weight yarn. The fabric ended up being lightweight yet warm with a lovely drape. Perfect for Spring in daffodil yellow.

I'll definitely be knitting this again. I kind of want one in every color.

(I apologize for the cheesy photos. I'm a horrible model and my hair is doing something dumb!)

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Monday, April 14, 2014

A Beautiful Life

I turned thirty this past weekend. My oldest teased me on Saturday morning - "Gosh, Mom, you look ooooold!" It's a good thing he's so cute because his charm has quite a ways to go. I spent the weekend with the people I love the best, doing the things I love the best - knitting out in the sunshine with bare legs while pushing my baby on the swing. Taking in my sister's ballet with my little girls sitting right on the edge of their seats. A night out with friends. Palm Sunday, whispering thinly veiled threats down the pew, praying through gritted teeth that the five year old have the good sense to keep from flogging the nice people in front of us with his palm. Family dinner (and an epic chocolate cake) with my siblings and parents.

While the babies napped on Sunday afternoon, I threw open my bedroom windows and took some time myself to think back on my last 30 years and ahead to the next. I know my life is more than just my life. It's a testimony to what I believe to be true and right. What I want for my children. It can be a cautionary tale or a practice of perseverance. So much of living a good life is what you make of what you have. I can forget that sometimes - and find myself in a swirl of discontentment, harping on the things that aren't exactly as I wish them to be. But when I look across the last thirty years, I see a life that is more beautiful than anything I could have dreamed of, wished for or possibly deserved.

This morning the baby woke early and spit up all over me in bed. The temperatures are falling swiftly, our golden weekend in the sun a mere memory and snow in the forecast. We have 8 people in our family and not a single mode of transportation. It's Holy Week and I have nothing for Easter baskets and have to figure out how to get back and forth to church 3 times. Each and every day has more than enough trouble to keep me mired down for weeks, but when I take that long view? I can see how each and every day I've lived, I've been held. Gently and completely.

That's what makes a life beautiful. Not how good (or bad) I am at keeping my home, not how perfect my marriage is or well behaved my kids are. Life is beautiful when it's lived under the arch of God's everlasting mercy. Day after day after day.

30 grace and joy filled years. I'm happy to have lived them all.

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