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In which there is a blanket…

“To love another person is to see the face of God.” –Victor Hugo

“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” –Proverbs 27:17

“The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are.” –CS Lewis

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I spent a lot of time over the past 8 weeks reflecting on each of these quotes.  I know exactly how many weeks it was because that’s how long it took me to knit a blanket.  It wasn’t just any blanket–it was “the” perfect blanket.  I designed and knit it for a family so special to me that I honestly don’t even know how I am going to write this blog post without crying.  So sit back and wait for it, because this post is going to be a doozy (which spell check tells me isn’t a real word…I call foul).

I have been blessed in my life with the opportunity to travel and live overseas with Marcus’ job.  It has brought us so much closer together as a couple and we’ve come together as a more cohesive family unit. It has also meant that we’ve had the chance to meet people that might not have otherwise crossed our paths.  I think there was a time where I would have called that “coincidence.”  Now, though, I know it was God’s hand in my life.

I know that God put Jody and Rachel and each of their children in my life to fill a void that I didn’t even know existed.  Like I wasn’t complete until I met Marcus and he and I were joined together, I feel like I can also say that we weren’t complete until we met them.  Marcus and Jody are able to work together and play together, each bringing out the best in one another on personal and professional levels.  Rachel and I do the same, each bringing something to the table that the other is lacking.  Like in my marriage, and in theirs, the extrovert and the introvert have paired up as a perfect match.  And so when the four of us are together, it’s more than friendship.  It’s like family.  It’s like home.

It’s not only Jody and Rachel as individuals (though that’s a huge part of it), but it’s also the connection we have felt and shared with them on a religious and spiritual level.  We’ve grown closer to God through our friendship with them.  It has, and they have, changed my life.  I’m prayerful about what will happen to that change when they leave, in stages, over the next several months.

 I am struggling so much with their impending departure.  The curse of living overseas and working with the military is that people don’t stay.  I absolutely despise that part of this experience.

To pass the time, and as part of my Lenten experience, I decided to knit Jody and Rachel a blanket.  They had longingly admired the blanket I was making for Marcus, and I thought that a blanket would be a nice gesture.  I would knit prayerfully and focus on the good, and not the sad.  When I couldn’t find a blanket pattern that I liked after scrolling through patterns on Ravelry, I knew that I should design one myself.

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The “Perfect Match” blanket was born out of love.  Out of necessity.  Out of prayer and peace and loss and happiness.  Every stitch was considered and deliberate.

There are very few projects that I have worked on in my life that I have been sad to finish.  This was one of them.  I cried as I weaved in the loose ends and folded it up.

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I don’t want them to go.

Rachel is my practical, calm, prayerful friend.  She’s the logical one.  Our friendship isn’t ending because they are leaving.  We’ll see each other again.  The internet, Facebook, email, they’ve all made the world smaller and distances relative.  So true.

And still.

I don’t want them to go.

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In which I might be obsessed with reality television

Dance Moms.  Toddlers & Tiaras.  Teen Mom.  16 & Pregnant.  Jersey Shore.  Storage Wars.  Pawn Stars.

They’re “real” (whatever that means).  They’re raw (well, sometimes).  They’re addicting (without a doubt).  I’ve found that the more that I yell at the television screen, the more likely I am to add it to the DVR list and watch next week, too.  Damn it.  It’s almost like they’ve done research and know that’s going to happen.

Poor Marcus.  At least he has his Bejeweled Blitz, Words with Friends, and Army of Darkness to help him cope.

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One thing after another

This week has been chaotic. Not only did all three girls end up really ill, but biscuit (our 5 month old puppy) spent a night at the emergency vet and we had a disastrous day with the big girls.

But we have survived and another week is upon us. It’s the last full week of summer vacation. With quite a few ups and downs, I have mixed feelings about the return to school. On one hand, it’s the return to schedules, routines, homework, and after school activities. On the other, thank goodness for just that!

So, I’m determined to slow down and enjoy this week with the girls. The week before I have a first grader and a kindergartener, the week before my babies are back to being big girls, and it’s the week before everything changes (again).

Here’s to one thing after another…and then another!

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In which we experience trying times

The summer has not been an easy one. My return to medication has helped me get back on track, but it has coincided with periods of struggle with the big girls. An older child starting to grow up, have some attitude, and mouth off combined with a middle child dealing with anger, frustration, and finding her place in the family have made for some difficult parenting times in the past few months.

The keys are on the table: consistency, patience, calmness, follow-through, a no-nonsense attitude, love, firmness, clear expectations and consequences, rewards.

Yet it’s so difficult, nonetheless. Parenting isn’t easy. I never thought it would be. But I just didn’t think it would be this hard, either.

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Just another day in paradise

1 with strep throat
1 under the weather
1 tired of being cooped up inside
2 days in the house
2 visits to the doctor
1 plastic spoon melted to the bottom of the dishwasher
1 smelly house
4 more loads of laundry
1 full sink of dishes
1 call in for carry out
1 visit to the pharmacy (so far)
4 bottles of medicine in the kitchen counter
1 daddy on the way home to help run interference
1 tired mommy who hasn’t had a breakdown
1 real life
1 family

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Quarter of a Year

A quarter of a year has passed since my last post. Quarter of a year. It seems impossible. I can’t possibly fill you all in in everything that has happened in those three months. I’m reminded of country lyrics that seem to sum it up: “Sounds like life to me!”

So where are we now, for this next quarter of a year? I’m working on a knitting project that won’t reach fruition until next year, but I promise you’ll love it. I’m writing more than ever, with the help of a sitter to get some uninterrupted time. I’m enjoying summer with the girls, though we’re working through a rough stage with Erica.

I’m doing it all back on my medication. I have no regrets, except perhaps that I waited so long to see help again.

Hello again, blog. Expect to see me around a lot more often.

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In which I hang my hat

My trip to the UK went off without out a hitch–even better, I had an amazing time.  It was great to see my friends, relax, walk to town, eat all the yummy foods I’ve been missing, and to get a bit of a break from Marcus and the girls.

Better still, I got to do it all in a place that feels like home.  Marcus wondered if we’d perhaps been romanticizing our time in England–were we remembering it as better than it was simply because we were away with no immediate plans to return?  He was pleased to hear me say that no, England still felt like home, was as beautiful as it was when we left, and that all the things we missed were there and as perfect as we remembered.

Of course, our time in England did have its ups and downs, and coming home when we did was the right decision for many, many reasons.

But it was a reminder to me, to us, that there may be a place for us in England again, one day down the road.

More than anything else, my trip came at the ideal time.  I returned home refreshed, mindful of the wife and mother that I want to be and with my sights set on being her.  I was reminded of the fact that Marcus and the girls are my everything.  I really do have it all.

And I’ll hang my hat wherever they are.  That’s home.