June 30, 2011 § 2 Comments
Pattern: Sixteen Cable Hat by Circé Belles Boucles
Yarn: Cascade Eco+, purchased at Close Knit on Alberta in Portland.
Thoughts: Another successfully slouchy hat! Cute pattern, though the huge cables are annoying as anything to work. I’m stoked to have a hat in a fairly neutral color, and I’m sure I’ll be wearing the heck out of it next winter. Ignore the slight wonkiness in the pics… my head is just a funny shape. 🙂
Also, don’t forget that today is the last day to enter the Sharing is Caring Giveaway for June! Share, share, share, and get your name in the hat!
June 29, 2011 § 11 Comments
“Why do we often assume someone is being honest when sharing their crap and assume someone is being fake when they are joyful?”
My insightful, and hilarious, friend Joy posted this question on Twitter last week, and it’s been bouncing around the walls of my brain ever since. As a person who has a hard time being unhappy for periods of time extending beyond twenty minutes, I’ve been accused of “being fake” on more than one occasion. There’s an attitude, albeit a quietly-whispered-behind-your-back-instead-of-told-to-your-face attitude, that in order to be truly deep, truly honest, truly real, a person must be contemplating the misery of their darkness generally all of the time. Bounce around a little, proclaim a love for something silly like Disneyland, seem generally content, and soon enough someone somewhere will dub you shallow, vapid, ignorant and unenlightened, or just plain dumb.
Don’t get me wrong: I wildly appreciate the value of honesty in community. I know that the place where most of us struggle to be open is the place our thoughts are darkest. Favorite put it well in the car the other night: “People don’t have a hard time sharing their joy, it’s the difficult stuff that they hide.” Being in a community that allows me and encourages me to share my messes is an invaluable gift. There’s a power in sharing your failures, and strength in admitting your struggles. It’s a beautiful, wonderful thing.
But I’ve also seen it get competitive. Have you ever been in a room where someone shares something really difficult, and suddenly everyone else is sharing really difficult stories, and the whole thing seems to spiral as folks compare darknesses and emphasize hurts and reopen their wounds so they can bleed with the cool kids? I have. I’ve also watched as someone reports that things are good and they’re generally really happy, only to have that statement picked apart by well-meaning friends as though it was a veiled confession to murder or some sort of incredibly cryptic suicide note. Sure enough, if you pick at someone long enough, you can convince them that their life is pretty screwed up. But, dare I say it, what would Jesus do?
Have we trained ourselves to focus on the sin in our redemption stories instead of the healing? Are we more impressed by people who will proclaim that they are miserable than those who strive to be joyful? Do we have a personal responsibility to focus our efforts on gratitude, even when things are incredibly difficult? Is there a way to balance honesty and optimism? Are we telling the wrong story?
I’m aware of the slipperiness of these questions. I know that it’s incredibly difficult for folks to feel safe enough to open up, and I would hate to sound critical of that fragile process. But once we’re there, once we’ve shared those things we’re afraid of and learned we won’t implode, once we feel safe in the knowing that our community will surround us in hard times, I believe we have a responsibility to be grateful. I believe we have a call not to wallow. I don’t think we should be self-indulgent, hurtful, or whiney under the banner of honesty. The word honesty shouldn’t trump familiar words like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control that are meant to be the fruit of the Spirit within us. If we’re being mean, or accusatory, or belligerent, or lazy, or ungrateful, or straight up rebellious, and we’re justifying it by slapping on the old I’m just being honest label, I submit that we’re missing the point. I’m guilty. Are you?
I’m not trying to come down on folks who are having a hard time, who struggle with depression, who are trying an failing and suffering. There is nothing wrong or shameful about legitimate pain. I just pray that no one stays in that place longer than they have to because they feel like it’s the only way to have their community rally around them. I pray that we are obvious about our desire to celebrate the joys as much as we communicate our ability to walk through the fire. I pray that we aren’t teaching anyone that healing would be a hinderance.
I’ve always been the girl with the rosy colored glasses, but I’ll confess that I’ve often wished I could be more serious. I’ve played up my dark stuff and cynicism in certain circles so as to be considered deep or intelligent or, shamefully, cool. My bouncy brain doesn’t make me any better than, say, my husband, who sees the world from a much more grounded perspective, but it doesn’t make me lesser, either. Some people are wired with optimistic, Pollyanna spirits. Others are built of more contemplative, melancholy stuff. Both are valid, both are important for well-tempered, effective conversation, both are necessary to make life interesting and educational and balanced. But let’s stop dismissing the folks who feel that life is beautiful and God is good and the sun is shining, even though they might be annoying in their cheeriness. Let’s lay off the judgment for those who don’t seem to fully appreciate the gravity of a situation. Let’s stop calling childlike joy and unapologetic faith and a propensity toward giggling an act and start calling it awesome. Let’s start embracing what we can learn from the folks who are honest about their struggles and the folks who are honest about their joy. And let’s make sure we’re encouraging each other to tell the right story, a story of a life that, while full of human failure and shortcomings and tragedy and sadness and pain, is curated by a big, beautiful, wildly reliable and generously good God. And let’s let our joy be full.
Joy is great at asking questions that make you go on long rants like this one. In need of a thought catalyst? Visit her rad blog at www.joyeggerichs.com.
June 28, 2011 § 2 Comments
Ok, so this might sound silly coming from someone who has been complaining about the lack of heat for weeks now, but Portland has a way of going from chilly to muggyasallgetout in no time at all. Since the lot of us here are basically climate pansies, we freak out the minute the pendulum starts to swing into “too darn hot” territory: “Hot? We can’t be too hot! Wait, we ARE hot! What do we doooooooo?” whine whine etc. etc. etc.
So today’s cheap thrill is a list I’ve compiled from friend, the interwebs, and trial and error, of my favorite free or cheap-o ways to combat the summer heat and survive life without air conditioning. It can be done.
The “Stay Cool! Have a Great Summer! xoxo Karyn” List
1. Learn to work your windows. Sleep with them open, shut them once it starts to heat up in the morning. Close blinds and drapes during the hottest part of the day to further insulate. Don’t get lazy and leave them open/shut (heh hemmmm, self.)
2. Cuddle with your freezer. Before bed, place dry sheets, pillowcases, or a tshirt in the freezer for 15 minutes or so, then remove and don right before you pass out. If you’re super smart like a few of my friends, you’ll freeze an additional shirt in case the heat wakes you up – instant cool down, no shower required.
3. Plan your daily shower for the hottest part of the day, if at all possible. That way, you get the cool down benefit without wasting extra water. Embrace cold showering. Do it.
4. Make popsicles! Get creative freezing juice and fruit and going cold for your meals and snacks. Freeze some bananas and blend them in a food processor – creamy yummy goodness.
5. Cold brew your daily coffee. Fill your french press in the evening and leave it in the fridge overnight. Dedicate one ice cube tray to coffee ice cubes and voilá! Cold coffee, first thing in the morning, that won’t water down as the ice melts.
6. Keep a cucumber in the fridge. Slices are great for sticking on your face, neck, arms, whereev, for an instant cool down.
7. Put mint in your ice water! It’s super tasty, helps to make water more exciting to drink, and mint has cooling properties. You can also seek out lotions, shampoos, and even perfumes with a minty kick to keep you feeling refreshed (and smelling lovely).
8. Two words: Water Balloons. Cheap, fun, done.
9. Two better words: Super Soaker. Fun, plus no clean up. Win
10. Hang out in the library, Starbucks, Powells, the mall (cringe), the movies, or anywhere else they have AC.
Remember, this heat is what we’ve been begging for over the last several months, so when you can, try to enjoy it… find a pool to soak in, or a beach to go to, get a cute hat and some fabulous sun glasses and live it up! We’ll be shivering again before we know it.
June 27, 2011 § 5 Comments
Summer is my favorite time for reading.
Having just rediscovered the library (I’d been under a self-inflicted ban due to my inability to return books on time, but I’m giving myself another go), I’m beyond excited to get my hands on some of the novels I’ve been dying to read. I wanted to share my summer list with you! Every Monday this summer, In Other Words will be devoted to the discussion, review, raving about, or criticism of one of these novels. You are welcome, encouraged, begged to join me on one, two, several, or all of them. I’ll be reading them (hopefully) in the order below. Clicking the pictures will link you to Powells.com. Yay for lazy afternoons in the sunshine!
June 24, 2011 § 2 Comments
It’s Friday! You’ve almost made it! You’re amazing! 🙂
Happy Friday, friends. I hope you have wonderful times in store for you this weekend. Here are some lovely things from the interwebs to keep you entertained while you wait for the fun to begin:
How completely adorable are these homemade goldfish crackers?
If you love Seattle, or beautiful gingers, you’ll love this engagement shoot.
There is nothing in this apartment that I do not looooove.
My new favorite way to wear my hair.
This fabric has me wanting butterfly curtains.
Maxwell is one of my favorite people to read.
I’m weirdly obsessed with old tickets.
A brilliant choose your own adventure guide to landing a husband.
Wishing you tons of laughter this weekend!
Photo by the incomparable Shannon Hannon.
June 23, 2011 § 1 Comment
Pattern: None, but I was attempting to copy this beautiful shawl by BrooklynTweed… and then he went and wrote out the pattern. Go figure.
Yarn: Rustic Tweed by Queensland Collection in Wedgewood Blue, purchased here while on a day trip with my lovely friend.
Thoughts: This yarn is ah-mazing – super squishy, and gah! That color. I’m such a sucker for grayish greeny blues…love. The shawl itself was quick and painless and came out cute. It’s also perfect to fasten with my vintage feather hat pin, which is rumored to have belonged to my great grand someone or other. Happiness all around.
June 22, 2011 § 6 Comments
Dear beautiful, broken girl-
I’ve seen you. I see the way you stand just a little apart from those kids you’re with, the way you obsessively check your reflection for flaws in store windows, the way you slump your shoulders forward to hide the body you wish you didn’t have. I see you in the center of the crowd, working your fans as the life of this party, slipping away with some no one to sacrifice yourself yet again in the name of “why the hell not?” or “I just want to feel wanted” or “it doesn’t matter anyway.” I see you following him around while he makes fun of you to his friends because you think you can’t do better. I’ve seen you curse your image in fitting room mirrors. I’ve seen you cover your mouth with your hand to cover a laugh that, to the casual observer, is so perfectly beautiful. I’ve seen you.
I’ve seen you, and I know. I know the part of you that can’t stop comparing yourself to everyone and anything, the part that squirms and quits in the face of imperfection, the part that is bravely trying to quiet the little voice in your head that is constantly insisting that you don’t really deserve to be valued. I know the part of you that feels like you’ve broken everything and nothing you can do will ever atone. I know the part of you that envies her, that girl who everyone thinks is so pretty, or so smart, or so perfect. I know there are parts of you you don’t let us see.
I know there is someone who will tell you a story about what you’re not, a tale about how you will never be a “smart girl,” or attractive, or successful. I know something someone said once will stick with you, will resonate in all your weakest moments and affirm the part of you that doesn’t believe you are worthy. I know someone will celebrate, exaggerate, and prey on your failures. I know that part of you will believe them, and be ashamed.
I know you have a secret you haven’t told anyone. I know you think if you tell it, you’ll be rejected. I know you are afraid of being discovered.
I want to tell you another story.
You are a masterpiece. Your fingers, your freckles, your sense of humor, your crooked teeth, your quirks, your best ideas, your biggest flaws, your darkest secrets – they’re artwork. You were knit together by expert hands, painted into being by a love so big no insult or failure can possibly break it. You are fearfully, wonderfully, intentionally you – what you can contribute cannot be measured, because you have never been before, and you will never be again. No one can limit the necessity of your being – you are part of a symphony, of an epic, of a perfect pattern, a phenomenal plan. You are small and insignificant, but you are so immeasurably valuable, and nothing and no one can diminish that value. You do not depreciate because of your choices. You are loved, wildly loved, just as you are and in every minute.
I’ve seen you, broken, beautiful girl. I’ve been you. I often am you.
You were intended. You are wanted.
You can’t be all things to all people, you can’t do it alone. You’ll never have to.