Nov 13, 2016

The True Love Story of Me & Yarn - A Letter to Grandma

Dear Grandma,

I know your essence and love lay in sewing, but I know you also loved knitting and crocheting, too. I can tell by all the hooks and needles, stitch markers and the two beautiful afghans.

I remember in Colorado you tried to teach Dawna to crochet a doily. I remember I wanted to learn, too. But being only two years old at the time I realize it would have been a hopeless business.

But I want you to know that I've learned since then to knit and crochet.

And I love it.

And since you're gone now, your yarn things have come home with me.

I just wanted to tell you that all those crochet hooks, needles, stitch markers, and that huge safety pin? They're not lying still or forgotten.

I want you to know that the love they once wove together is still weaving its way on. That the legacy you began with a few thin pieces of metal has not stopped because your hands no longer hold them.

I didn't want you to worry that no one would care. Because someone does.

I want you to know that even though you're gone, the work you did and the pleasure these little things brought you are still delighting and are not idle or lying listless, forgotten.

They are still creating, they are still held, they are still weaving your love, your essence, and your memory into everything they make.

I want you to know that you will always be felt through everything I've made with them. Through the countless scarves, hats and gloves. Through afghans and baby blankets. You are as much apart of them as the person who made them.

The needles still click, and someone still counts knit one, purl two. The crochet hooks still slip-stitch granny squares into blankets, and the stitch markers helped me knit my first pair of gloves. They've not stopped since you've gone on home.

And your gifts are still being spread, still warming souls, and making smiles. And this age old tradition, this legacy, didn't end with you in the wake of modern technology and modern ways of life. The old life, the one we used to know, it's still being knit together and casting a big blanket of warmth on the world.

Thank you for all the love, Grandma, and for the gifts that keep on giving.

Love, Kayla

Oct 12, 2016

How to Have a Perfect Autumn Harvest

You just feel it in your bones when you wake up in the morning.
It's just the most perfect day to harvest the garden.
You stand outside in the morning sun, greeting the day with a cup of tea.
You're wearing a sweater but, oh, you know it will be off soon and your skin will be soaking up the sun.

Your hair is a messy knot on your head from sleep and sister's laughter at it can't be equaled.
But first, breakfast. And the muffins don't really taste like Peanut Butter Oatmeal and the eggs have a little too many red pepper flakes in them, but your tea is still warm and it's just the right kind of day to be home with your sister.
You swipe some music and listen to your brother's Spotify playlists on shuffle.
Take pictures.
You laugh.

You work those arm muscles within an inch of their strength.
You soak up the sun because maybe this is the last day you'll have of it.
You decorate your yard, your house, your front door, your mailbox, with the fruit of your labor.
And most of all, you're just so happy to be home. To be here. Because maybe in another life you wouldn't have had this. ALL this.

Because maybe there's not anything even just a little bit better than living right here. With this sister. In this home, with this prairie, in this life all around you.

Because maybe even though it's just so ordinary, quite possibly the most boring ordinary there is, it's just plain extraordinary.

Sep 3, 2016

Ode to the Last Days of Summer {In Pictures}

It's a kind of end of summer cleaning day, and it's just kinda overcast outside. Still warm with the breath of summer, but as if the autumn is fighting to come out.

I look at the trees and the flowers and I just see it, in the light of this cloudy warm day, the first signs on a September day. September, the in between month.

The month of the last summer bonfires and star flung skies, the last days of the wind in green leaves, and the smell of fresh cut hay. The month before things just really start changing, and you can feel it in the morning as the harvest moon fades, and the wheat lays cleared and shaven, and the blackbirds wave in flocks over sunflower fields as you drive by on your way home.

And I'm the one who just wants to savor the in between, to let anticipation build for the first, honest-to-goodness, blessed first day you can just really call chilly. And I can look out at the day and I can smile back, because this is the first day of autumn for me.

We just brush by it all too soon, just like Laura Timmins said. We have to write it down, we have to capture it because someday I'll have someone asking me questions, just like I ask them now, "What was it like? Back then?"

And when the seasons tick toward their beginnings, I'll have something to answer them.

Jul 6, 2016

Books I'm Reading This Summer

It's strange how when you have lots of time to read you don't read and when you don't have lots of time to read all you want to do is read, and your to-read list grows by leaps and bounds. But I think I've narrowed the summer reading list down to these eight.

Sorry I haven't been around much. I have been greatly enjoying my new job, my boss and co-workers. My computer is kaput at the moment and that's been putting a hold on a lot of my plans. But I hope to get some posts up in the near future.

Happy summer reading, in the mean time!

1. Six of Crows - Leigh Bardugo
I've seen this book around and it sounded quite interesting, mostly because the plot sounded a bit like a fantasy I wrote a few years ago. But this one sounded more clever and epic. Then my little brother brought it home from a book store and so it has a home here where I can enjoy it at leisure.

Do you like lovable thugs and thieves? Me, too. That's why I'm reading this. So you should, too.

2. 7 Women - Eric Metaxas
This book had me at the introduction. "When I consider the seven women I chose, I see that most of them were great for reasons that derive precisely from their being women, not in spite of it; and what made them great has nothing to do with their being measured against or competing with men. In other words, their accomplishments are not gender-neutral but are rooted in their singularity as women. All of them existed and thrived as women . . ." Eric Metaxas, Seven Women: And Their Secret to Greatness

3. Emily of New Moon -  L.M. Montgomery
I will admit I bought this entire series at a second hand book store not only because I love L.M.M. but because of Perry Miller. I am not ashamed. After an agonizing watch of a few episodes of the TV series the only reason I continued watching was just to be delighted by Perry Miller. And so I will read the books for, mostly, the same reason.

4. The Highly Sensitive Person - Dr. Elaine Aron
If you like MBTI and personality typing, you should read this book, too.
Are you an HSP? Take the test to find out.

5. Jack and Jill - Louisa May Alcott
I love the simple, delightful innocence of Lousia May Alcott's story-children. The simple, delightful, peaceful innocence of her story-worlds. And I will always love going back in time to the days when children were really children.

6. Anne of Windy Poplars - L.M. Montgomery
I've gotten back on my Anne kick. I just finished Anne of the Island, and now I cannot wait to see Anne and Gilbert's relationship grow. I love discovering all the scenes in the books that were not in the movies and I shall forever bemoan Phillipa Gordon being cut from the films altogether. WHY? I hope there is more of her in Anne of Windy Poplars.

7. Cold Sassy Tree - Olive Ann Burns
I've been looking for a new author to get into and Olive Ann Burns seems like just the one I've been looking for. Southern, grounded. Gritty and real, can't wait to dig my fingers into this book.

8. To Have and to Hold - Mary Johnston
My sister read an excerpt of this novel and had to get the book. A runaway ward of the king who becomes the bride of a gentleman in the American colonies. It was a bestseller in America in 1900 and I cannot believe I have never heard of it till now. The gentleman, I hear, is quite the chivalrous man, and just a bit refreshing.