Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy 2012

Well done, 2011.
You took our sorrows and brought us joys.
You took my fears and brought blessed peace.
You took my pain and brought renewed health.
You took some beautiful friends with you, but left us with good memories, then brought beautiful new friends into our lives.
You took one of my dreams and brought it into the light, toward fulfillment.
You took my volunteer lifestyle and brought me an exciting and rewarding new job (that pays real money!)
You took the Rodeo and brought us . . .   not another vehicle, which I personally am very thankful for.
You took our wallpaper and brought us fresh paint.
You took 51 and brought 52.  And that's cool -- bring on 53, cause I'm not afraid of it!

And bring on 2012.  I'm ready to fill it with peace, love and happiness.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Crafty Christmas

Such a lovely Christmas.  I tried to rest and recuperate, I really did.  I didn't put out nearly half of our decorations, but the house looked festive.  I didn't go into cooking overload as I usually do, and everyone was still well-fed (thanks to my all my sweet friends who brought us meals for two weeks!)  And while I didn't get something sewn or knitted for everyone, I did get several projects done.  I made 7 duct tape wallets and 7 fun fur scarves for my friends in kindergarten, and a few other easy projects:

These Peace, Love, Christmas burlap pillows are a variation of the Scrabble pillows I made earlier in the summer (you can see the steps here).  Easy freezer paper stenciling, then I sewed them up, wrong sides together and left about 2 inches all around for a fringe.

Will's requested grey hat  (isn't he cute?)  This is just a simple cable, knit up with Lion Brand Jiffy and size 7 needles.  No pattern to direct you to -- I just sort of made it up on the fly.

Gap scarves (and you get to see all my kids -- isn't the Schlitz beer t-shirt so Christmasy?)  I really love this pattern, and want to get another one of these started ASAP (maybe for myself!).  Maggie's was knit up with 2 skeins of Loops and Threads bulky yarn  from Michael's in mushroom (sort of a camel color) and Sarah's (sorry, I didn't get a picture of hers) was 2 skeins of cream-colored Lion Brand Wool-ease Thick and Quick.  These were knit up on #13 circulars -- you cast on 130, join, then knit in a seed stitch until the scarf is as wide as you want (I think the pattern says 15", but I stopped at about 8").  This is a great pattern for knitting while recuperating in front of the TV, as the pattern is simple and easy to correct.

Not-for-TV-watching knitting:  a Christmas stocking for my friend, Ashley.  This is my 4th Cascade stocking (pattern here).  Ashley recently graduated from the University of Louisville, so I used a variation of the cardinal found in Colorwork Creations (beautiful book!)  I also learned the Latvian braid for the top of the stocking;  I think I have my lesson for our next Knit Night -- it's an easy technique that really adds some snap to the edges of knitted work.  After some trial and error, I found that the best thing to line these stocking with is t-shirt material; I found a red-striped shirt at Goodwill which made a perfect lining for this one.  I have another stocking in the works for her mom -- pictures soon!

If you've read this blog for long, you know that I inherited several fruitcake tins of buttons from my mom.  I sewed a bunch of them on this pillow for my niece, Taylor, and once again, I think I have just as many buttons as I started with!

And if you've read this blog recently, you know of my addiction to pinterest.  Several months ago, I pinned some adorable Harry Potter stylized pillows; my niece, Carly (who is addicted as well) commented that she  loved them and "knew what she wanted for Christmas" so I had to make them for her.  I couldn't locate a pattern (the pin was from a tumblr site, which I find a little difficult to navigate) so I just studied the picture and came up with these:

I started with a rectangle of cream flannel, strip pieced the scarves from gold and maroon cotton, and added the robes with black flannel.  Harry's hair is the same black, while Ron's is a piece of an orange sweater; Hermione's hair is a piece of a brown velvet jacket I found at Goodwill.  I did a little machine quilting in her hair to make it look wavy.  Eye buttons from mom's collection and a little embroidery.

I have a crafty goal for 2012:  socks.  I know, they have defeated (ha - an unintended play on words!) me before, but this year, I am going to conquer them, even if I have to drive all the way to Alabama for a lesson.


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Blessed Christmas Eve

I was working on a Christmas Eve poem, but have a rhyming writer's block.
So, I offer you this, a true treasure:

And God bless you, Bill Watterson, wherever you are.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011


From the 1st Chapter of Luke:
And coming to her, the angel Gabriel said, "Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you."  But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.  Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.

"Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.  He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High . . .  of his kingdom there will be no end."

It is a strange and glorious thing to realize that all I believe, faithwise, is centered on a supernatural, miraculous conception in the womb of a scared young woman.

It is a strange thing to listen to these glorious words from last Sunday's Gospel -- words I believe, words I practically know by heart, words that form the foundation of our Rosary prayers-- and feel an achy sort of longing.

It is glorious to know that soon, the pain, discomfort and worry I've been carrying around for quite some time will be just an unpleasant memory. 

It is strange to know that part of me is gone.  

Last Monday, I had a hysterectomy.  

I won't bore you with details, but I will tell you that so far, things are going very well.  I had great medical care, was lucky to have the surgery robotically (minimally invasive, less pain, quicker recovery) and have had fantastic support at home from family and friends (and one nag, who knows who he is).  

And I am trying hard not to be a sappy mess about the whole thing, which of course, for me, is quite difficult.  Facing facts, I know my uterus and ovaries haven't been doing me much good lately.  I haven't had to use them to make a baby in over 18 years; my uterus has just been hanging around, filling up with tumors, and needed to be gone.

But like Mary's womb defined her, I sometimes feel like mine defined me, as well.  At least it defined me as a mother, a title and job I have held and loved for over 26 years.  While I certainly don't feel like any less of a mother without my uterus, I do appreciate it, the miracles of conception and childbirth, and the motherhood that it allowed me.  (Good grief, that is sappy, isn't it?)  But it's true.  

And I know, like Mary, I'm blessed.  I was able to carry my children in my womb, a strange and glorious experience in itself.  I will always be thankful for that.  And I know in time (probably a short time), this achy sadness will leave, and I'll fully appreciate all that modern medicine and a great doctor have done for me.  

But for now, for this Advent, and for these last few days before Christmas, I'm thinking of Mary, and the crazy miracle that happened in her womb.  She had to be full of grace to believe, accept and glorify that miracle; I'm pretty sure I'll never be that full of grace, but I'm thankful that I have enough grace to be thankful -- for my womb and my children, my own little slice of miraculous.     


Thursday, December 8, 2011

An Enough Christmas

I love Christmas.  I do, I do, I do.
I love it so much, I get stressed.  I do, I do, I do.

But I know that's just because I think it has to be perfect.
Note to self:  it doesn't.
In fact, it's the imperfect parts that turn out to be the most memorable.
The tree without ornaments Christmas.
The sick Christmas.
The snowed-in Christmas when the X Box was just a big X drawn on a box.

So, with everything going on around here (ie, a little new job, a little choir, a little bell ringing, a little surgery, a little food pantry, a little catering), I have adopted the motto, "It is enough."

Whatever it is. Gifts, decorations, cookies.  How ever many or much, it is enough.

If there is love, if there is family, if there are friends, if there is Jesus, and if there's at least one cookie, it is always enough.


PS  Although I have given up both Coke and cigarettes, I can still chill.
PS 2  OK, so I only smoked for 3 weeks sophomore year of college, but allow me that one bad ass moment, please.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Little Holiday Sadness

Babies born at the holidays are an extra special joy.

A friend dying at the holidays is an extra special heartache.
Looking for a little peace today.

God bless Sherry Brown Comstock, a great mom, wife, teacher and friend.