hello? is this thing on?

Not quite six months since I last logged in here.  I wasn't sure if I would come back, or what. I won't make apologies or explanations, or excuses. As has been said in countless places, blogging is kind of a dying phenomenon, although I still think there is so much that is valuable to be found and said in this medium. I was scrolling through my archives today and found I missed it, at least a little. At least enough to pop back in. I am pretty sure no one is reading at this point, and that's ok. 

My husband is working again, full-time, as a teacher. It was a rather circuitous route for him to find his way back into teaching after two years, but he is teaching general music and choir in a Catholic grade school and it's really wonderful in so many ways. Finances are still quite rough as he makes approximately half of what he would in a public school (which would still not be a lot of money by today's standards). As I'm typing this, I'm remembering the first time I ever wrote about his job woes on my blog; it was my blog's previous incarnation and it was in April of 2007. It seems that job stability is just not part of the game for this guy of mine. But I love him and we work it out somehow. 

These two years have been so very hard. I'm not sure I have the words to describe what it's been like. There has been so much ordinary goodness and just living life in there, that it's very hard to explain the feeling of loss and grief and dread that was always in the back of my mind, just all the time. And how even now, it's hard to recover. It feels like trying to jump onto something that's already moving. Disorienting and weird and scary. Closing the door on two years of unemployment, fear, and depression is very hard. One year ago was probably the lowest time for me; I really thought we were about to be homeless. And it's hard to process the fact that now we're not, and it's only a year on, and will the rug be yanked out from under us again? And do we deserve this period of relative peace? Hard stuff, even harder to find the words.

I'm trying to put some of this down, though, because it explains a little of where my head has been. Having four children has been a great gift during this time, because I was able to focus on them and their world. Keeping things stable for them was my full-time existence. I did not feel like making or doing other things. I have yarn here for sweaters for all four of my children, for a sweater for me, a granny square blanket barely begun. When I was in the hospital with baby John after my c-section and during his unexpected long NICU stay, my sister told my mom to find my knitting and bring it to me. But I found I couldn't knit. I couldn't make myself pick it up. It might have been good for me to do it. I know it's meditative and calming and overall a healthy thing to do. But that time in the hospital when I couldn't knit was the beginning of two years of not wanting to pick up any projects. I did knit a few stitches here and there; I completed one baby sweater for John, a couple of gifts for a new nephew and one or two friends' babies. But mostly, I had too much to process for even knitting to help. 

Today I wound a skein of the yarn I have had set aside for a sweater for myself. John, who at nearly two-and-a-half is not really "BabyJohn" anymore, but instead a delightful curly-haired imp of a toddler, squealed with glee as the swift spun jauntily on the table. I realized that he has never seen me wind yarn before. In his two short years of life, he has had a very different mama than the one his older siblings have known. It was surprising to me. Not sad, just surprising. 

Anyway, I don't know if I will get this sweater knit with any speed. I am not sure I'll even cast it on for another month or two. But I'm reminded of things that have mattered to me in the past, and things that matter to me still, if I listen quietly to my heart. Creating beautiful things is an important part of me. Maybe a part that's been resting quietly while the rest of me has been doing battle. But it's in there still. 


catching up a little


Our computer broke about a month ago. It ended up being a repair we couldn't afford, and replacing it is out of the question right now, so we've been without a computer now for weeks. A friend may have an older one she can give us, so we're keeping our fingers crossed. In the meantime, I hadn't thought of posting here via phone, but of course, there's an app for that!

Things have been mostly chugging along in a very ordinary way. I have started exercising daily. There's not much to say about that, because it feels very personal to me, but I like it more than I thought I would. So that's all I'll say about it.  

I have hardly had a moment to work on the many knitting projects I have planned, and have felt really discouraged about my knitting in general. Things not coming out in the right sizes despite careful swatching and attentive pattern-following. Things turning out differently than I'd hoped. Not enough time to finish some baby gifts I'd had planned for several months. Just discouraging. 

Parenting has been requiring a lot. It seems to be a season in our family's life. My husband is working nearly non-stop cobbling together various income streams so we can sort of keep afloat. He's frustrated as the amount of work he's doing is still not bringing in the amount of money we really need, and of course he's almost never home, so nearly all the parenting is falling squarely on me. In a way, I'm used to that as he always had to work very long hours when he was a teacher. In another way, it's more difficult now than it ever was: there are more children, they're busier, the older ones are coming into newer, more challenging phases. It's hard and lonely work, and I'm often dead tired. 

February is my birthday month and I've always loved it. But this year, I'm longing for spring and summer in a way I usually don't. I keep hoping that the next season will bring with it a turn for the better for our family. I can't give up that hope even though the last two years (and really, the two years before that, too, in many ways) have been so financially and emotionally trying in so many ways. 

Anyway, I remain here, hanging on and trying to maintain hopefulness. Wishing you all a lovely week.  

In a new space

As I begin writing in a new space, I'm thinking about what blogging has meant to me over the years—I first began blogging about ten years ago now—and what I want it to look like going forward. 

I'm feeling just a little bit shy writing here, a little bit like I haven't found my voice yet, though I've been writing in a blog for such a long time. This move is something I've been considering doing for just about exactly three years, but I was apprehensive about it at the same time. 

I've been thinking a lot about this post, written by one of my very first close blogging friends, for several weeks now. With her permission, I wanted to quote a bit of what she wrote, because she said exactly what I've been thinking and feeling. 

I’m thinking about the story I want to tell, both to myself and to others.

Essentially, I want the life of my family to be relevant, not necessarily to a wider audience, but to myself. I want it to be aesthetically pleasing. I want it to act as both record of our time and creativity and as a reference for myself. I want to inspire myself, but I want it to be useful, too.
— Kyrie Mead, Mead and Daughters

When I first got into blogging, I was doing it for me, mostly. I wasn't thinking about growing an audience, but I did. For a time, I was writing for thousands of readers. Gradually, as I was unable to keep up my pace, those thousands of readers began to move on, and I began to be there even less. But I have missed it, too, the process of writing, the journal of our days. 

My life is a little different now. Our family has grown. Our older children are busy and fun and challenging in ways that they weren't as little ones. I've said many times that I feel more comfortable, in my element, more me, with little ones. My older children perplex me. 

My husband has not had a "real" job in almost a year. We have been getting by on nothing more than the grace of God. It is one day at a time. Our needs have been provided for, but it has been very difficult. I'm in my mid-thirties, my husband in his mid-forties, and while most of our peers are moving into bigger homes and thinking about seriously funding retirement accounts, we are starting at square one. I'm stressed about that, and it's hard to put a pretty face on that kind of fear and stress. 

But I have to. I have to reclaim my will to live purposefully or I will be adrift. No one else can do the work of sainthood for me. That's my job, it's the gift I've been entrusted with. It is my grace.