The Space In Between

I never thought I was one much for silence. The radio blaring, a classroom full of elementary school musicians, my boys hollering and shrieking, my own mouth running a mile a minute….noise didn’t bother me, so I thought little of silence.

But raising three boys, especially three very, very busy boys makes for some crazy in this household. And I often wonder, why does this household feel so chaotic, so much sometimes? Why are we always living in pandemonium? Why can’t I seem to grab a sense of calm for myself, and more importantly, my boys? 

And then, last week after a particularly challenging 4th grade music class, I stood chatting with their classroom teacher after school about how awful they had been that day, arguing, fighting, bossing, tattling….unproductive and unhappy, both students and teachers. “Yeah, ” she said, “I think I need to do a silent day tomorrow.”

Huh? Silence, the entire day? With 4th graders? HOW? She explained that she has to plan the lessons specifically to be able to teach that way, but basically, everything for the day is typed out on the board. It is a day designed to calm, to restore order, to regain the peace. “It’s almost magical,” she said. “But I can’t say one word. As soon as I do, it’s over.” 

And it got me to thinking, not just in my own teaching, but in my own life, how much I might be able to gain from silence. Letting there be space between the words. Listening. Writing it down. Drawing a picture. Not repeating myself 20 times or having the same argument for 30 minutes. What might it bring? What might I hear?

And so this is an experiment. Playing with silence, seeing what we can gain from it, how much of it we can find. Looking, listening for a little peace.

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Yarn Along

Are you a Project Runway fan? I normally shy far away from any reality show, but I do love this one. And Tim Gunn….I absolutely adore him. He’s a total gentleman, (read his guide to life! so good!) and you don’t get that enough these days. This week i’m enjoying Tim Gunn’s Fashion Bible, which is a great read. The title doesn’t give it justice, because it is really a history of Western fashion, and a fascinating one at that. I need to hurry though, it’s due back at the library in a few days. I think this one might have a few overdue fines!

 

The knitting is yet another Windschief, this one a cowl for The Skeptic to keep him cozy in his winter biking travels. He requested one that is tighter and won’t slide down; I believe this will do the trick.ImageWow…I am filing this under category of “worst pictures I have ever taken!”

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Winter

It’s below zero today in Minneapolis, something that happens less and less these days, which means I love it even more. The winters of my youth just don’t happen these days and I miss it. I want lots of snow, and lots of cold. So when I have a day like today when I can wear two pairs of wool socks I am happy. These is just something about the cold. It clears my head and gives me an energy that I just don’t have in the summertime. I know, a crazy idea to most of the world, but I do love it.

The best part of being a northerner is that we get to wear the most wool! And since I have some Christmas gift money to spend I’ve decided it’s time for a really nice new sweater to knit. I’m torn between two patterns, what do you think?

Both are from Brooklyn Tweed (and I’m treating myself to his yarn too!)

  Fairfield        or      Tilda??

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  I do wish I could knit both……which would you pick? I’ve always wanted a classic cabled sweater like Fairfield, but I do love the simple details on Tilda. 

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Yarn Along

It’s the weekly Yarn Along

I am plugging along at my brother’s Christmas present. He was the one who got a ball of yarn this year for Christmas, which he knew exactly what to do with: hand back to me so I can knit him something. When finished, it will be Windschief by Stephen West. I also need to finish a cowl for The Skeptic. 

Which reminds me. I took no pictures of  my Christmas knitting! And I knit some seriously cute stuff for my niece…..

 

Anyway, my book is The Power of Less by Leo Babauta. I mentioned him in my previous post and I am finding this book pretty inspiring.

Funny…when I was taking this photo I kept thinking that there was a glare on the book, blocking out the end of the last S in the title. After 5 minutes of trying to take a glare-less picture, I realize that the end of less is faded out! (Get it, less??? I’m a bit slow today!)Image

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2013: Focus

Happy New Year everyone!

I love a new year. Just like the first day of school, it has always been the time of fresh starts, reflection and  hope. While I don’t consider myself to be the type to make official resolutions, (I am so not the “lose 10 pounds by March 1st type) I do like to reflect set some goals, and begin anew.

However, I am the “try to do too much, get overwhelmed and freak out” type. My dearest friend Annik and I were chatting over the noisy play of our children on New Year’s Eve.  I was listing off the various “21 Steps to This” and “10 Steps to That” and the yoga and the no more gluten and this e-book ad that e-book and…..She very calmly said “That sounds like a lot of anxiety.” And I paused, because she was right.

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So later that evening after Annik was home, all my children were sleeping soundly and the poor Skeptic was stuck working at yet another New Year’s Eve concert, I thought  little harder about it all. And I realized I would never do anything I wanted if I couldn’t chill out and get a little focus. Trying to do 10 different e-book programs all at once is just not a good idea. And my Feedly stream has been full of them the last week…all of them sound great, all of them promise me a clean house, a calm mind,and balanced budget, lots of time to play with my children and never wondering what is for supper again. But all of them together would probably just give me a stroke.

I figured out there are two things I need to do:

  • Calm my mind down, paying more attention to the great things in my life with less worrying about I am not doing.
  • Clear out the clutter and busyness that has built up over ten years of being a parent, and try to get some organization and simplification in my life.

So rather than take on a piles big books dealing with everything all at once, I returned to my three favorite blogs:

So, I have three things to write down every day, and two new things to try each week. Not too crazy or overwhelming, is it?  I have other things I’m interested in, and some helpful links to share, but less is more, right? That’s for another day.

In the meantime I’ll leave you with one powerful short article about time by my favorite writer, Anne Lamott. And I would love to know your thoughts on the New Year!

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Wishing all of you a 2013 filled with joy, grace, peace and love!

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Where I’m at

You can find my guest post, Balance,  at the Minneapolis Modern Quilt Guild blog today. I know most of my readers aren’t in Minneapolis, but I think that no matter where you’re at it’s a great blog to follow. Lots of great tips and tricks!

 

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Have you been thinking of your crafting year in review? Usually I take a look back at the year, and then ahead at my goals for 2013. I do have some things for the future in mind, but funny, I don’t feel as if I have much to say about what I did/made in 2012. This year was an odd one and my mind was often elsewhere.  So perhaps I’ll think on it a few days. In the meantime, I’m going to finish up my Christmas knitting, as my brother was this year’s winner of “Who will get a gift still on the needles?”

 

And I will wish you all al Happy New Year today, as I know the next few days will be a busy one! See you in 2013!!

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