Birthday Socks

This last week was my husbands birthday. He's quite the funny man, and doesn't like a big fuss to be made about him, especially on birthdays and holidays and what not. For the last few years of knowing and loving this dear man, I have had a hard time figuring out how to actually bless him on those days,with out him worrying about how much something cost, or missing the mark with a gift. For his first father's day I wasn't working yet and couldn't figure out how to get him a gift with out him seeing the amount missing out of the account and come asking questions. I was a clever girl and asked a friend of ours to pick out a pedal board for him, and that I would pay him back later. Well, come father's day I presented him with a small gift of a new pocket knife, and then brought out the new and very expensive pedal board. He was excited about it but then asked me how I paid for it, to which I replied, "Well, we still have to pay for it, I told Chris you would write him a check tomorrow". 

You can have your chuckle about it, go on, don't worry, I know that was a pretty funny thing to try and do. Well, this year, I decided to try and actually do something special for him that was really economical ( which actually blesses him more than me spending money we don't have on a big gift like the pedal board ). The first birthday we spent together I knit him a huge and luxurious scarf, made out of a heathered mossy colored alpaca wool. He is pretty hot blooded, always complaining about being too hot, so as you can guess, he never wears it because alpaca is extremely warm! So, a scarf or cowl was out of the question. My sweet friend Elise just made her husband a pair of socks for his birthday, and they went over very well, so I figured that would be a great place to start. I knew I couldn't spend any money on the kind of yarn I wanted to make him some socks out of, so I looked through the sweaters I had collected for unraveling and settled on this really handsome and tweedy silk/ wool blend. The color is really beautiful, it has flecks of gold, which I am assuming is the silk because it has the slightest of sheen to it. I got to unraveling it, washing it and hanging it to dry while I looked for the right pattern for his socks. 

Now, let me tell you, these socks are pretty ridiculous looking when they are not being worn. They are heavily ribbed so they are really skinny and long, and look like hilarious and expensive clown shoe socks. Xaiver had a good laugh when took a tape measure to his foot and then after I finished the first one demanded he try them on for fit. Then he asked that I put it on and do a little dance, which I am ashamed to say that I did, but in my defense, putting on a funny looking sock that is way to big for your foot is pretty chuckle inducing, and even got the baby to laugh. Thankfully, the ribbing did what it was supposed to do and they stretched and fit his foot perfectly snug, the gusset was perfect and comfortable, so he said. I finished the second one and felt pretty proud of myself, and excited to present him with his first pair of hand knit socks from his wife for his birthday. He said he liked them and thanked me, but his reaction wasn't what I would have liked (any one who is a fellow knitting gift giver will relate to that statement). I felt a little sad and thought that maybe he was just humoring me for my effort.

Well, the next day I find them all stretched out and looking worn. I don't think I have ever been so happy to find his socks strewn about on the floor. He actually did like them, liked them enough to wear them to work even! That is a pretty big deal considering he works on his feet all day, lifting and roasting literally hundreds of pounds of coffee. I usually don't share too much about our marriage in this space, but I thought this was a nice and fitting story to tell you. Now I get to figure out what to use the rest of this really gorgeous yarn for, probably a pair of the same socks for my dad, and brothers for Christmas, I will probably have enough for them all which is pretty exciting.

Have any funny birthday or sock knitting stories? I'd love to hear them!
Thanks for reading, 


All willy nilly

Has a week slipped by with out me posting?! I guess it has. Let me attribute that to a dose of flu like symptoms and the turmoil of the last month catching up with me physically. I am thankful though, to have a few days to rest and take it easy. I didn't mind plopping my sniffling self down on the couch while Julian naps to read East of Eden for a few days, or hearing my husband tell me to rest, that will never get old! A few other things happened this week, like my dear one's 35th birthday! I only got to knitting him one sock...the other is on the needles, he was not surprised. We had some lentil soup and lamb samosas with friends, followed by a very manly and seriously minimalist but equally delicious chocolate cake. Julian said "Choco lot" for the first time, he is more like me that I realized, and has learned to put his cup IN the sink when he is finished with it. This is a major accomplishment, considering he kept misunderstanding me and putting in the trash bin at first. We also conquered his fear of the toilet monster, he will actually sit on it! There is no potty business going on, just sitting, and reading his new favorite (although we have had it since he was born) book, Sushi for Babies. I think its pretty funny that he wants to read about sushi while sitting on the potty. Oh! And, this is perhaps selfish of me to be excited about, but he is following directions so well these days, I can actually send him in to fetch a rouge knitting needle or ball of yarn from under the couch! What a blessing indeed. 

How has your week been? 
Thanks for reading, 


Friday Senses

Making: These simple color block mitts, minus the color blocking, for my mother. 

Seeing: Everything with a different perspective these days. 

Smelling: Coffee & a heavily spiced apple galette in the oven.

Tasting: Salted Caramel Lip balm, this lovely balm lasts for hours. 

Hearing: The NPR membership drive, are you a member?! 

Feeling: A little drained, but thankful and excited for the weekend to spend with my family. 

Loving: The new relationships in my life, I've been having a few "Oh, you to?! I thought I was the only one" moments in this past week. 

Reading: Not too much this week actually.

Praying: For continued healing for those who knew and loved our dear Sarah. 

What is your Friday feeling like?

Thanks to Elise for the "Friday Senses" Idea. 


Sage Shortbread Cookies

Settling in back home, the only logical thing for me to do is to cook and bake and retreat into my knitting. I think I have said something along the lines of this before, and Im certainly not the first to say it, but food is so much more than food, it truly is a gift. This past week has given me a new set of eyes, tuned into the gradients of thankfulness. Everything is new, and fleeting, and must be enjoyed; this moment, this taste, this feeling, will be gone sooner than we know.

My sweet friend Aiyana came over for coffee to catch up on Tuesday morning. She recently started homeschooling all three of her brilliant children, so they came along too. Julian was beyond tickled to play with them all, and had what I believe may be his first crush. He got all googlie eyed at Aiyana's beautiful blonde hair, blue eyed daughter Lucy. He has great taste, but then again the Taylor family all seem to have walked out of a glossy coffee table book of iconic models or something. 

It was a little chilly in the house so I decided that because the children were coming over some sort of treat should be made. Maybe I just wanted some cookies with my coffee, and the children coming over was just a convenient excuse. Soon enough, short bread cookies were in the oven and the smell of sage was wafting through the air, ready to greet them at the door. When we took them out of the oven Aiyana and I agreed that yes, these were more than just alright, these were dangerously good. 

So of course, I'll share the simple recipe with you. 

1 c Org. all purpose flour 
1/2 c Org. whole wheat pastry flour 
1/2 cup Org. unsalted butter 
3 tablespoons of dark brown sugar 
a handful of sage leaves 
a few sprigs of thyme, stems removed 
a tinesy bit of turbanado sugar 
(or any large grain sugar)

Preheat oven to 325. Chop (or grate with a box grater) the 1/2 cup butter. Combine all the other ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to get the herbs chopped up and sugar incorporated. Toss the butter into the food processor and pulse maybe 15 times, or until the butter is a little smaller than the size of peas. Lightly dust work surface with flour and dump the contents of the food processor bowl unceremoniously onto the table. Knead until it starts to come together into a ball, it takes a minute or too and at first the dough is really crumbly but it will get there. Roll the dough out to about 1/4 in thickness. I actually used the lid of spice jar to cut the cookies into rounds because who has several different sizes of circular cookie dough cutters on hand? Not me. Throw some parchment paper onto the cookie sheet and transfer the dough rounds on to the sheet. They don't really grow much so you can put them relatively close together. Sprinkle with a little turbanado sugar and leave them to bake for about 20 minutes, let them go a little longer if they need it. Let them cool a bit and then try not to eat them all in one sitting.

I actually had some roasted butternut squash (from a pie I made earlier in the week) and since it was so sweet with nothing in it, I just slathered the puree on to the cookies and called it a cookie sandwich. It tasted like mini thanksgiving day pies on steroids. Sage and butternut squash are a classic and delicious combination, if you haven't already tried it, you are really missing out! The above recipe is really malleable, you could add almost anything into it. Id like to try it with lavender and poppy seed, or maybe some toasted pecans and cinnamon. These would be great to bring to a cookie exchange, or send to a friend because they are so simple but have such great flavor.

What are some of your favorite shortbread cookie recipes? Or memories? 

Thanks for reading.


With open hands

For Sarah
Many thanks for the sympathetic comments and emails sent through the last week, they were heard and taken to heart. What a whirl wind it has been indeed; I don't really know where to start. 
Calling Brittany with the news of our friend's tragic and unexpected passing was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, and looking back, Im a little embarrassed that I told her over the phone. I had no other choice, I was in shock, and felt that she needed to know as quickly as possible.

With in an hour we both gathered up our things, not sure how long we would be gone, but needing to leave none the less. We drove in bouts of sobs and silence, scattered with attempts at small talk as if we were strangers.  We were both so deeply diving into ourselves for a sense of preservation, to keep it together for the drive.  Poor Julian was almost silent the whole drive, not understanding why Momma was crying and why we left in such a hurry. It felt like we drove 500 miles in an hour, even though it was more like 6 or 7. What do you say in times like this, nothing. Nothing can really be said.

The visitation was indescribable. I had prepared myself for a viewing, hoping to see her for the last time, but instead I was surrounded by thousands of photos of her life, from her birth to the few days before the accident. Most of the photos I had never seen before, treasured family photos that are usually reserved for first dates, graduation parties and scrapbooks. Some were familiar, and a few made me laugh out loud between the tears. All of her favorite albums were being played on shuffle, bringing back a flood of memories, one particularly, was when she drove almost two hours to pick me up from somewhere I should have never been in first place, in the middle of the night. I called her in distress and she left as soon as we hung up. No one had done something like that for me before, but she was just that kind of person, and Im sure I'm not the only one she has done that for. We listened to anathallo and mewithoutyou with the windows down that night, and here I was, hearing those same songs again. 

I had met her brother once before, but not the other family members. Meeting her mother for the first time was gut wrenching, all I could do was tell her how much her daughter impacted me, inspired me and encouraged me in the faith, and thank her for raising Sarah to be that way. I also met the man she had recently started seeing, and told him how happy he made her, that I could tell in the photos I saw of them together.  Her best friend flew in from Ireland, and we hadn't met yet either. We recognized each other right away and didn't need to say much, there was an instant bond knowing that we both loved her, and were loved by her. 

The memorial was a beautiful service, we heard stories and were reminded, celebrated the life that she lived, and all that she had done to inspire us in so many different ways. There was a sermon, truth was spoken and some saught Jesus for the first time in their lives, asked to know Him. This was the truest testament of God's grace and light that shone through Sarah while she was here with us, radiating through even her passing. My heart sang quietly within myself, "O death, where is your victory?".

"You do not have a soul. You are a soul, and you have a body" 
-c.s. lewis 

I usually don't get to deep into my faith in this space, such intimacy is reserved for the ones closest to me, but I truly believe that this is a time such talk is appropriate and needed. While my heart is broken in mourning, I have hope and peace knowing that Sarah is where she was made to be, in unveiled communion with God. The sting of her physical death is soothed by the truth, the truth that I although I do not see her now, in a little while, I will see her again. I know that death has no power over her, or me, through the redemption of Jesus. Her soul lives on indeed, and in the deepest recesses of our hearts and minds she lives on as well, still influencing us in the truth through her actions and love. She won't ever really be gone from us.

It still hurts. I still get that punch to the gut and knot in the throat while doing the dishes, and thinking of her. I miss her dearly, and will continue to miss her, and that is ok. It is alright to miss a friend while they are away, but in reality, she is the one who is home.

The drive home was almost as surreal as the drive there. Sarah cherished fall, it was her favorite season, just like it is mine. It seemed that just over the few days we were in Michigan the trees had decided it was time to change, and the flowers put forth the last good effort before the cold sets in. I had mentioned to Brittany that I had never noticed the dusty purple shades among the rich reds and yellows  of fall before, as we passed fields of wild flowers, and she agreed that she had never noticed either. Being forced to slow down and be thankful for the love and beauty around you lets you see those things. That is something that Sarah was constantly communicating in her photos. From now on, this color will remind me of her, and thank God for the chance to know her, and see her again. 

Thank you again, for all of your prayers, and I ask that you continue to pray for her family and those who love her. 

Thanks for reading,


Today feels like the day after surgery. 

When I was 14, I had my jaw broken in two places. I had to have major corrective surgery, mouth wired shut, the whole deal. When I came out of the sedation there was a raw, fierce pain that was overwhelming and unexpected. The following weeks were painful in healing, and each day brought a different kind of hurt, a deeper hurt, as my body tried to repair the damage. 

Yesterday I woke up to a few text messages on my phone, and I ignored them for a few minutes while I put some steel cut oats on the stove for breakfast. The water kettle was filled and started to boil, waiting to be used for coffee. I can not really explain the next few moments because they seem a bit of a blur. The text messages I had ignored were informing me of the sudden and unexpected death of my sweet sweet friend Sarah, the sender didn't want to call so early and didn't want me to find out through social media. It was heart shattering and jarring and I can not remember a time when my body hurt as much as my heart. 4 hours later Brittany and I were crossing into Michigan, fighting back the tears and trying to be strong for each other. Driving seemed to be the only thing that helped, forward motion, a way to run. 

I want to tell you about her. I want you to know what a beautiful person she is, but those words just do not do her justice. You would just have to have met her, and you would know. People keep using words like, "She has done more in 23 years to further the kingdom of God and serve humanity than most people do in 100". This is not an exaggeration. We feel robbed. She was crossing the street after her art exhibition, and was struck by a motorcyclist, who is still in critical condition. The details don't need to be communicated. The loss is devastating. It was literally a split second, a single decision, to go here, or do that, or in the case of the motorcyclist, to push the limits and go faster than he needed. He has robbed her of her life, of the chance to get married, to have babies, to create the art that she was so passionate about. He has robbed us of a million things, a million things she was to us. 

The only solace I have is knowing that she was received with celebration and jubilee, like a bride on her wedding day, into the arms of Jesus. He said to her, "Well done, dear, welcome home." 

I will be taking a break for a while, to process, to pray and grieve. Please, pray for the comforter to come, and peace to be brought on the hearts of us who love her, and were blessed by her. It still doesn't feel real.

"To give them beauty for ashes,The oil of joy for mourning,The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness"