Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Well, imagine my surprise Saturday when a package from England arrived in the mail! Wednesday my friend Pamela from the Christian Artisans list emailed and asked for my address. I thought she was probably going to send me a postcard or something because I am an anglophile and she lives near where I spent 6 weeks in England 12 years ago with my Nichols family. Well, imagine my shock when I unwind roving after roving to find in the middle, a gorgeous Bosworth maxi spindle in purple heart (my favorite!). Unfortunately this photo does not do justice! It is so pretty and the rovings are incredible. I think the white may be linen. The navy and the green multi seem to be merino and the one that is the color of sweet potatoes is wool but I'm not sure what kind. I sat on the kitchen floor, where I had been cleaning and sorting and cried! What an incredibly generous gift and so thoughtful. I have still not mastered using a spindle yet and have practiced a bit on the one my secret pal, Kit Kat Knit gave me. I'm going to have to get around another spinner and have some hands on lessons. Once I get it going I do okay, but getting it going is another story. Some time I will have to get a natural light picture of the spindle so I can show you exactly how beautiful it is! Thank you, thank you, thank you Pamela!!!!!!!!!!!!! Posted by Picasa

I have been trying to relax a little a my asthma meds, prednisone, etc have been making me jumpy and making me have pvc's. It is always a little bit scary when that happens. So I'm trying to lay low and keep it cool. I have been sneaking a moment here and there and doing some spinning. This is from a rainbow dyed roving of Blue Faced Leicester that I got from Winderwood on eBay. Melissa and Amanda, friends from the Christian Artisans list recommended him and he has some wonderful stuff. Anyway, I have not spun in months! I don't think it is necessarily calming my heart rate all the time because I am getting frustrated with myself with all my breaks and having to start over. I am still having a tough time finding the balance of getting enough spin to keep it from pulling apart and too much spin so that it will be un-knittable. :o) There is yellow and green under the colors you see here and I am trying to spin so the colors overlap a little too, like they do in the Trekking XXL sock yarns. I like it so far and I hope that I will have something I can use for kids socks when I get done. When plied it will probably be between sock and sport weight. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Feet To Prayers Questionnaire and Catching Up

Well, I actually did start knitting. I am working on DH's second sock from the Trekking XXL but needed to put it aside as I didn't have its mate to compare to (for length and changes in the pattern). So I started a scarf yesterday for a Christmas gift and it is half done. It was some yarn that my cousin gave me for my birthday from Caron, I can't remember the name but it is so soft. It called for big needles so it is moving right along on number 13s! I don't usually knit with novelty yarns or big needles so this is kind of fun for a change and a quick project is what I have needed to get back on the knitting wagon again! LOL I have also spent some time looking at some of the knit mags online like knitty, planning some gifts for Christmas. I am thinking of doing some felted bags for a couple people and maybe some fingerless mitts/gloves. I thought those might be good for some of the teens/early twenties on my list. Next I need to get busy blocking. I have several presents that just have not gotten blocked due to the stress in our family. I have to block at night when I don't have preschooler help! :o) Sometimes by then I'm so exhausted I just have no energy to do it. It's not that big of a thing, but you know, sometimes those little things just seem draining, just having them on the to do list! So I am hoping to get that done this week.

Call me crazy! I'm also going to participate in a swap! This one promises to be fun and realistic. It is a secret sister sock swap on my Christian Artisans list at yahoogroups. The name of the swap is Feet To Prayers...we will be praying for our sister and finding interesting and encouraging verses relating to feet to share...that shouldn't be difficult. Feet in the Bible are described as being swift, sure, steadfast, ready, shod and beautiful! For the swap we will knit one sock and pass on the pattern and the yarn to complete the sock to our sister and she will finish the second sock. It will be a nice memory to look down at our feet and see a shared memory! So here for my Secret Sister, is the questionnaire...

1. When is your birthday (year is optional - grin)? June 19th

2. Do you spin your own yarn? If so, do you also like to work with raw fleece (washing, dyeing, carding) or only from prepared fibers (roving, top, batts) Yes, I am a beginning spinner and I prefer prepared fibers, however I have worked with raw fleece and don't mind it, just don't have room for doing anything big.

3. What small projects do you like to make? Socks, mittens, scarf, hat, baby items, wash cloths, doilies, shrugs etc I like making socks, scarves, lace, hats and wash cloths. I would like to make mittens, I never have and I have doilies on my "to do" list too.

4. What are your favorite scents? I can't really do anything scented due to severe allergies and asthma.

5. Do you like stationary and cards? Yes

6. Do you like hand lotions or soaps? I do, however I have restrictions because of my allergies. Neutral scents or unscented only.

7. Do you like to make/or use stitch markers? I use stitch markers a lot and I would like to learn how to make them.

8. Do you collect anything? Sheep and Killer Whales (not live ones obviously)

9. Do you have any allergies? Smoke, food, fiber, pets, etc.. I am allergic to smoke, most plants/flower scents and perfumes, Angora rabbit fiber (if it is by my face/hands) and pork.

10. Do you have any hobbies? (besides knitting, of course!) Spinning, Sewing, Quilting, Photography, Genealogy and Reading

11. Do you like scented or unscented candles? Sorry, even unscented candles trigger my asthma. :o( I love them but they don't like me!

12. Are there any books you are secretly wishing for? Alice Starmore's Aran book...but that's over the swap limit! LOL I am a bibliophile. You would be hard pressed to find a book I didn't like. I have a lot of the knitting classics, but not too many of the newer books.

13. Do you have a favorite Bible verse/story or character from the Bible? I love Ephesians because the first couple chapters are God pouring out His love to us, encouraging us in who He created us to be and what He has given us to complete our tasks on this earth and the rest of this book gives practical instruction for most of life. Favorite characters are Joshua, Ruth and Naomi along with their story and Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist. I have also always been intrigued by Anna who was promised that she would not die before she saw the Messiah and was given the opportunity to see Jesus as a baby at his dedication. I have always wondered what kind of wonderful lady would be given such a lovely promise and gift!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Got Knitting?

Sigh...I cannot even begin to tell you everything that has happened...you may think I talk/write a lot on the blog, but honest what I have shared here is the tip of the iceberg. I am behind in everything in life! EVERYTHING! I have not even felt like knitting at all the last month +! Now you know that is stress. Sigh! God is Good. He sustains us. He keeps one foot moving in front of the other so we can do the things that we need to do to survive, to feed and take care of kiddos and all the necessary stuff and He revives us, when we think our life is too weary and too pathetic to deserve His attention. He loves us.

Monday night my hubby got to come home from 4 days isolation. We were all so glad to have him back with us! He has Graves' Disease (autoimmune hyperthyroidism) and Friday he had his thyroid radioactively burned out. We researched many options because the radioactive iodine seemed pretty drastic, but his symptoms were/are so severe and having ongoing atrial fibrillation can be life threatening, so we took the big step. I say "we", it was only my husband who had the treatment, but my husband is part of me, so this has all been "we" experiencing it together. I have more experience being the patient. Somehow that is easier than watching the one you love suffering. He is on Coumadin now to thin his blood to prevent stroke from recurrent atrial fibrillation. The radioactivity must be helping because his appetite is decreased (indicating that his metabolism is normalizing) and his heart rate is normal. Tomorrow he goes back to school. He's walking into a hornet's nest, so I am concerned, but I have to pray and let him go with God. I love him beyond any words of expression. The thought and threat of losing him during the times his heart rate was 220 were terrifying. I thank God for every breath and moment we share together! We aren't out of the woods yet, but it feels like we are making strides in the right direction instead of just sitting in a holding pattern.

This week has been all about taking steps to get our life back into some kind of normalcy. Find direction. Unpack from our trip that we have been home from for a month. Get things back in their right places and dung out our messes!

This week I have thought about knitting. I looked at the new knitty issue. I still don't have time to knit but I want to get back to it. I think "normal" is returning...isn't knitting "normal"?! I hope to be posting soon with some projects in the works or even some finished objects! What a concept! And the exciting thing is that on October 2nd our church is going to start an every other Monday night craft night...knitting, crocheting, sewing, needlework etc. I can't wait. That ought to get me working on Christmas projects! I miss all my bloggy friends. Thank you everyone who prayed for me and left encouragement! It was greatly appreciated!!!

Now, let's get back to knitting! :o)

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Well, this is obviously not knitting content. And I do assure you that I will not change my blog to read only about death and dying. I know that many will never even read this and that's okay, there is a part of blogging that is just to satisfy the part in all of us that needs to write out our thoughts and feelings. The reality is that death is a part of life. And sometimes you just can't knit! I know I have been stressed over the edge when I can't even mindlessly knit the ribbing on a sock! Yesterday I went to the memorial service for our dear friend Laura. I cried the whole time. I know, it's silly, but my grief really needed to pour out. I sat surrounded by people I didn't know and who will probably never see again and quietly cried. I laughed too. There were many things to laugh at because Laura was so filled with joy! Before I go on, I will say that this photo is Laura's Girl Scout windbreaker. Laura was active in adult Girl Scouting, even earning an honor pin, which truly is a great honor. She worked in training leaders here in the Sacramento area council. The service covered the different areas of her life...church, Girl Scouting, Red Hat Society and Square/Round Dancing. People from those areas spoke. There were some pretty hilarious stories. The pastor talked about how Laura's faith was "the real deal". Wow! What a great way to describe it. She did live out her faith every day. Her husband spoke...that was hard. He talked about how he and another guy courted her in college and she made a pro and con list for each guy and that she chose him...he said, "I was the winner and she made me feel like the winner every day for 35 years." The pastor also talked about how Laura's love for her husband made him the man that he is. The congregational hymn (there were over 400 people there) was "It Is Well With My Soul." It was so appropriate and has always been one of my favorites. The message of that hymn is so powerful. There was a slide show of pictures of Laura's life. One of them was Laura and I holding my newborn twin daughters sitting on our couch. Another was a silly one I had taken of Laura riding on DS' toddler bike, she was making a funny face...everyone cracked up laughing when they saw that and I was so happy because that picture to me captured her essence so much! I had not included it on the blog because it was from my pre-digital days! Well, the most tear producing time that day was when they had the song from Ray Boltz, "Thank You." It was so appropriate because of all of Laura's work with children. She taught Sunday School for years, did VBS and had her own daycare for 25 years. She has influenced so many childrens' lives, not just my own. I have posted the lyrics on the blog, they will appear just before or after this post. I didn't see the family, except for Laura's daughter. It was the first time we met and it was special. I looked into her face and I saw her Mother there. I am hoping we will have some contact with each other in the future. The whole service really was a beautiful tribute to Laura. It did help me a little in my grief. I still just wish I could wake up tomorrow and this was all a bad dream. However, I trust the Father and never doubt that He truly does know best, even if I cannot understand in the here and now. I will need some time to grieve, then I hope to return to my regularly scheduled blogging! :o) Posted by Picasa

Thank You by Ray Boltz

I dreamed I went to heaven
And you were there with me;
We walked upon the streets of gold
Beside the crystal sea.
We heard the angels singing
Then someone called your name.
We turned and saw a young man running
And he was smiling as he came.

And he said, "Friend you may not know me now."
And then he said, "But wait, You used to teach my Sunday School
When I was only eight. And every week you would say a prayer
Before the class would start.
And one day when you said that prayer,
I asked Jesus in my heart."

Thank you for giving to the Lord.
I am a life that was changed.
Thank you for giving to the Lord.
I am so glad you gave.

Then another man stood before you
And said, "Remember the time
A missionary came to your church
And his pictures made you cry.
You didn't have much money,
But you gave it anyway.
Jesus took the gift you gave
And that's why I'm here today."

Thank you for giving to the Lord.
I am a life that was changed.
Thank you for giving to the Lord.
I am so glad you gave.

One by one they came
Far as the eye could see.
Each life somehow touched
By your generosity.
Little things that you had done,
Sacrifices made,
Unnoticed on the earth
In heaven, now proclaimed.

And I know up in heaven
You're not supposed to cry
But I am almost sure
There were tears in your eyes.
As Jesus took your hand
And you stood before the Lord.
He said, "My child, look around you.
Great is your reward."

Thank you for giving to the Lord.
I am a life that was changed.
Thank you for giving to the Lord.
I am so glad you gave.
Thank you for giving to the Lord.
I am a life that was changed.
Thank you for giving to the Lord.
I am so glad you gave.

This is the photo of Laura used in the obit and was on display in front of the church for the service. Someone aptly spoke and said "Those of you who knew her...that is not Laura Cari." Those of us who knew her laughed! It's so formal...she was never formal. It is a lovely picture though. That dress is her square dancing dress. Her husband wore his matching shirt that day. It was really appropriate! I think that is her wedding ring in the frame. Posted by Picasa

There was a nice trifold display of various pictures of Laura's life.  Posted by Picasa

Laura's family. Posted by Picasa

Laura loved rubberstamping and here are some of her creations. Posted by Picasa

I did okay until I saw this...This display represents a lot of areas of Laura's life and was a nice idea. I saw her purse, with the butterflies on it...left just as she last used it...just as she would always find a place for it on our washing machine when she came in the door to visit and play with us! That pierced my heart like a poisonous arrow. Her purse looked like it was waiting there for her ready to use, waiting for her to take it out of the case and use it. Do you see the lamb card behind the butterfly...that made me feel good...I know she loved that picture that I took of her little lamb. That was sure a fun day and so I am choosing to hold on to those types of memories! Also pictured, flowers from her garden, some of her canning, a butterfly (because she loved them and her hat that she wore to the Red Hat Society meetings. I don't know the story behind the teacup. When this isn't so raw, I am going to get all my pictures printed up and I am going to make a scrapbook for my son about all the times with Laura. I will also make a couple smaller ones for my daughters. My son spent the most time with her and I want him to be able to look back and see God's faithfulness in his life, in our lives and how He reached out in His love through Laura. Like Pastor Edwards said...Laura was "the real deal"! :o) Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 04, 2006

Okay...humor me once more. My Mom reminded me of her favorite Laura pics with the kids...she has them in her "slide show" on her screen saver. This is J playing with Laura...notice they both have butterflies on their shirts. Laura and I shared a love of butterflies. That is DS with a book on the step. The grief is still raw. I look at the pictures and I first think, "Man! I can't believe how much the kids have grown and changed! Look how small they are!" Then I am overwhelmed. I look at Laura's face and I cannot believe that she is not here and that I cannot pick up the phone to talk to her, ask her questions, laugh with her or cry with her. It seems unreal. I know this is normal when grief is fresh. But it doesn't make it feel any better to know it's normal! Thanks for humoring me once again. :o) Posted by Picasa

You can see how much fun they had with Laura...L to R are J, D and A. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Yesterday one of the most beautiful people I have ever known, Laura Cari, went home to Heaven. I met Laura while attending Sun River Church...first in Sunday School and then in Precept Bible studies. By the time I had a 1 year old and found out I would soon be expecting twins, Laura had just retired from years of working as a day care provider. Laura was definitely gifted by God to work with children and she had a degree in education. She loved working with the preschool age and helped her family by working at home. She hardly knew me on a personal level, but she saw a need. She began by coming to play with my DS because Mommy just couldn't get around much, she helped me when I had so many doctor's visits because identical twins take additional medical monitoring. I felt like I lived at the doctor's office. The OB office is not the place for a one year old! LOL At some point in time she began coming almost every Monday. As my daughters grew, she included them as well. When she saw the pay check would not make it to the end of the month she brought me veggies and fruit from her garden. When I had noone to talk to she listened. She never told me what to do. She never criticized. She never judged. She just accepted me as I am...she knew God would take care of the rest! Laura was very down to earth, practical with no air of pretence about her. What you saw was what you got. She never expected the worst in people. Most importantly she loved God with all her heart, with all her mind, with all her soul and with all her strength. Yes, I know she had faults. She was human so I know she sinned. I am not saying she was perfect, but I am saying that in my life she was the hands and feet of Jesus. She loved me in a way that noone else ever has. Her love and acceptance has been healing and instilled confidence...not in my self, but in the God who upholds me, the One who walks on every journey along with me, carrying me when necessary. She walked her talk and my faith is stronger for her example. I am so thankful Lord that you chose to make Laura a part of my life and in the lives of my children. Laura lived life large. She struggled like the rest of us, but she kept on living until her body would not allow her to. She took food to the elderly, she helped young Moms and children, she taught Sunday School and VBS, she served on committees in church and she and her husband Mitchell not only danced (square and round) but also served as presidents and vice presidents of their dancing association. Laura had an urban farm, just a half an acre, but it included a couple dozen chickens, a pig, a few sheep, ducks and rabbits as well as fruit trees, beautiful flowers, a large vegetable garden and rows of berries. Today her earthly life is in our memories. The cancer won last night, but she was escorted into glory in a beautiful fashion. I am told that her pastor, family and Bible study group were with her, singing, praying, reading scripture and encouraging each other. In her sleep she left the here and now and journeyed Home. For the believer in Christ there is already victory over death...for if we die with him, yet we will also live with him in his resurrection. I sure hope that when we get to Heaven we get to see the ones we knew and love because I would love to share with her the trickle down effect her love will continue to have in our lives through the years. I so miss her and I have cried rivers today, but I rejoice in her healing and her victory. I have included some pictures that I feel have captured some of the essence of who Laura is. Posted by Picasa

This is Laura's little lamb. I will miss all the things about her that make me smile. I will have many things to ponder in my heart, many treasures in memories. Posted by Picasa

This is my favorite photo of DS and Laura. It shows his delight in discovering what happens when he presses the piano key...but it also shows her delight in his discovery. My son had a very special bond with Laura. It began when I was hugely pregnant with my twin DDs. She would go with me to doctor appts and would let him go up and down the halls at Kaiser as learned to walk. By the end of the pg he was keeping her busy going up and down stairs! Last summer he got to go with Laura to Vacation Bible School. Sometimes when I was took sick with a migraine to go to Bible study, she would come and pick up DS so that he could go to the kids part and have some fun and get out of the house. He loved going in her "green car"! He would watch at the window to see it go and would talk excitedly about it. Posted by Picasa

Here is DS going to help Laura feed the chickens. You can see the spring in his step...like little colts in the spring...or little lambs playing in the pasture. His face lit up everytime he saw Laura but I think he took particular pleasure in playing outside with her. Posted by Picasa

"I'm coming Laura!" Here is DS running to the chicken coop as a toddler to "help" Laura with the chicken! :o) Posted by Picasa

Laura was so patient with me. She accepted me for who I am, she didn't worry if my house was clean or about what brand clothes I wore. She just loved me. She knew that having three kids under the age of 2 was tough. She frequently gave me a break, even if it meant bundling up babies and putting them on the porch while she took DS outside to play. Some weeks that was the only real break I got. Posted by Picasa

Laura was so good at getting down kids' level. They loved her and they respected her because she spoiled them with love, but she didn't let them get away with being naughty. Here she is with DD J. Posted by Picasa

Laura and DS holding up the "Big Four" on his birthday. See the caption on the next picture. Posted by Picasa

Riding on the wagon at the Pumpkin farm. DD J is in the foreground, DS and DD A are next to Laura. This was near Laura's home and we went there for DS' 4th birthday last year. It was the second year in a row that we went for his birthday and we had so much fun we decided to make it a tradition. This year when he turns 5 we will have to have a blast in her honor. She would NOT want us to stop living. Posted by Picasa

Laura always did fun things with the kids...she brought bubbles, sidewalk chalk and balls. The gifts weren't big and glitzy and mostly they came from the dollar store, but the love and the participation in their lives was priceless! Posted by Picasa

DD A waits for Laura to come down the slide (see last picture at end of post!). Posted by Picasa

Pushing DD on swing. Posted by Picasa

Laura always played *with* the children. She was a participant. She didn't just sit back and watch them while they played. She got down at their level. I'm sure that the children in her Sunday School classes delighted in her. These are DDs, J in lavender, A in pink. Posted by Picasa

Laura tickling ds and dd J in foreground. Posted by Picasa

Playing peekaboo with daughter J...you can see the delight in J's eyes! Posted by Picasa