Friday, December 24, 2010


For several reasons, this has been the most stressful holiday season I've experienced in years. And I haven't liked it one bit. Since Thanksgiving, a small voice inside of me has been repeating one word over and over again. "Focus, focus."

"If I could only focus before Christmas day gets here," has been my urgent thought. And then it happened. While listening to Handel's "Messiah," I heard what I needed to hear.

"Immanuel, God with us."

I reflected on those words. What does it really mean to have "God with us?" Just imagine - the God of the universe, maker of heaven and earth, the God that is full of power and wisdom, and might. The God that is the embodiment of love. That

...With us.

What an amazingly wonderful thought. In that moment, I slowly exhaled as a smile made it's way across my face.

NOW, things are in focus.

Aaaaaaaaah! Immanuel...the magic of Christmas.

IMMANUEL," which translated means, " GOD WITH US."
Matt. 1:23

May the blessings of the season be with you now and in the New Year.

Until next time...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Shirley in Review

I have been waiting all year to meet her. Her name is Shirley Paden. For those who are non-knitters, she's a world-renowned hand knitwear designer. And I had the privilege of attending her Design Basics Course which is based on her best-selling book, "Knitwear Design Workshop: A Comprehensive Guide to Handknits".

I love learning, knitting, and learning about knitting. And there's nothing like learning from the best. Shirley Paden is certainly that. Anyone who knows her work knows that her patterns are not for the faint at heart. Just in case you didn't know, her class is no different. Take a look for yourself...

We spent an entire day learning to take accurate measurements, configuring garment pieces, and crunching numbers in specific mathematical formulas. But it wasn't all for naught. Despite our bewildered expressions and Shirley's gentle (and at times, not so gentle) nudging, we were able to translate those formulas into actual knitting patterns. In the end, she "felt our energy" and we did her proud.

I now have a greater sense of design technicalities such as the importance of swatching. I am also inspired and encouraged in my ability to envision a garment and create it. In looking back, I'm determined not to let the time, experience, and money invested go to waste.

I LOVE to knit!!!

Until next time...

NOTE: I was unable to reformat the video image.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Kitchen

Those who know me know that I spend LOTS of time at my parent's house, the same one I grew up in. Even my husband and kids enjoy going. It has become our second home. Because of the time that we spend there, my mother and I are often planning our meals together, haunted by the question, "What are we havin' for dinner?" Which brings me to the subject of this blog.

My mother's kitchen is where I spend most of my time when we visit. It has become a womb of sorts for me. She and I are there together. It is warm. And we are intimately connected. We cook and we talk. We watch the small television together and we laugh. I ask her opinion, get her advice, and curl her hair. She asks my opinion, makes suggestions, and sneaks treats to my children. We shop in bulk and split our purchases in the kitchen. We plan, we dream, and we catch up on the family. I correct her knitting mistakes. She models the depth and breath of motherhood. Sometimes she stands at the sink and I at the stove. Side-by-side we simply exist in the same space amidst the sounds of running water and frying fish.

I drink in these moments, savoring each as if my life depends on them. In so many ways, at least for now, it does. I recognize that they won't last forever. But in the meantime, if you're looking for me and I'm not home, chances are I'm in the kitchen.

Until next time...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mission Accomplished!

The final rescuer is on his way out of the San Jose Mine. The world needed to witness and experience what has taken place over the past 24 hours.

Thank You, Lord!

Until next time...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


There is no other word to describe the demonstration of the human spirit and the will to survive exhibited by the 33 Chilean miners. They have been trapped several thousand feet below the surface of the earth in the San Jose Mine for more than 60 days.

I have been captivated by the story since first learning of it. As I pen this post and watch the rescue live, I am filled with awe at what man is capable of overcoming when sustained by the hand of God.

Until next time...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Miss Y'all!!!

Warmth is what I felt as I read the get-well wishes sent to me by my knitting friends after my surgery. It made me smile to know that my absence had been felt. I pondered the fact that I was worthy of the investment made: a greeting card, a postage stamp, and hand-written sentiments. These acts may seem small but the thoughtfulness that they represented are not.

Community was the word that quickly came to mind. I thought about the fact that Fiber-istas are a special group of people. We come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and walks of life but we are knit together by a love for yarn (pun intended) and the great things that can be done with it.

It's been quite some time since I've been able to sit-n-stitch with The Knitterz. I hope to make it out soon. I'll have to. I need your help on my Shirley Paden project.

Until next time...

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Crutch Dynamic

I've spent the past few weeks getting around on crutches. And now that I'm down to one I've noticed something. A crutch is a double-edged sword. It is useful for providing support but it can also create a dependency that prolongs the healing process.

My knee is getting stronger every day. However I sometimes lean on the crutch instead of allowing my leg to bear the weight that it is capable of bearing. I must consciously remind myself to "stand on my own".

While it is necessary for my mobility, leaning all the time is not comfortable. The crutch was not intended to be permanent.
Honestly, it's creating a new set of discomforts like the pain in my wrist, hand, and shoulder. I also realize how much my other leg has been over compensating for the injury.

In therapy I was given a set of exercises that are difficult and painful. And I'm required to do them every day. I was told that they important not just for rebuilding strength. They are necessary for reprogramming those movements and coordinates into my brain because I haven't done them in such a long time.

I have to admit, I'm struggling. There's a balance between allowing my body to heal properly and being sick and tired of the pain, inconvenience, and the crutch. I've been assured that if I do my exercises as instructed and allow myself the time, my knee will be as good as new.

Aaaaaah, now I understand the reference to something or someone being a "crutch". Initially it serves an important purpose but over time it impedes progress towards strength and self-sufficiency. When relied upon too much one never learns to handle the situation on his own. The crutch is always right there by his side.

If this resonates with you, join me. "Work-out" your situation and wean yourself off of the crutch.

Until next time...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Thanks Cici!

A big thank you goes out to my knitting sister for nominating me and this blog for The Versatile Blogger Award. With a silly and cheesy grin, I gladly accept.

In order to accept this Award:
1. Thank the person who gave you this award.
2. Share 7 things not known about yourself.
3. Pass the award along to another fantastic blogger.
4. Contact the blogger/s you’ve picked and let them know about the award.

Here goes...

Thing 1: I recently stopped eating highly processed foods (more than 5 ingredients), purchased a VitaMix, and have become a "green smoothie-aholic".

Thing 2: Over a year ago at an evening Sit-n-Stitch Cici talked about being a monogamous knitter and I've been one ever since, working on only one project at a time.

Thing 3: I love snacks that are both salty and sweet: kettle popcorn, pure cocoa with almonds, or dark chocolate-covered pretzels.

Thing 4: My husband truly is my very best friend. Ashamedly, I've only recently to realized it. Surprisingly, it's made me a better wife.

Thing 5: I have a small garden in my yard where I grow fresh herbs and a few vegetables. Yes, my father's southern genes have surfaced.

Thing 6: I listen to audio books while I'm in my kitchen cooking and doing the dishes. You should try it. It has turned what used to be a chore into "me" time.

Thing 7: I used to wish I could sing. I don't anymore. I relish in the gifts that I've been given.

I nominate a friend from college, Tia. We haven't seen one another since we graduated and I'm not even sure if she knows that I follow her blog. I guess she will now. Hey Tia!

Until next time...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Heal & Rebuild

Last October I pushed too quickly up a steep incline headed towards the finish line at the Marine Corp. 10k run. My previous experiences with the Marine Corp. Marathon a few years prior taught me that that wasn't a good idea. I blamed adrenaline. My knee blamed me.

Fast forward to this March on the ski slopes. The accusing knee let me know who was really in charge when I fell, aggravating the original injury. After constant pain, trips to the doctor, several weeks of physical therapy, and a cortisone shot, I learned that I would need surgery. Yaaaay! The problem was finally going to be fixed.

It is now one week post-op and I realize that I'm not going to be "shredding" anything with Jillian Michaels for quite a while (Are you familiar with her 30 Day Shred dvd?). Yes, the problem has been resolved. But now I must heal and rebuild. These are the words that came to me when I received a text asking how I was doing.

See, I saw myself at the end of the process without taking into account the process itself. But now that the problem has been resolved, cuts on the inside and incisions on the outside all must heal. Only then can I begin to stretch what has become tight, increase my range of motion, and strengthen muscles that haven't been used in almost a year. If I do it right, I'll be as good as new. If I don't, I'll never be the same again.

So it is with the hurts, tears, and breaks that life brings. They too need time to heal. And only then can rebuilding take place. If done right, restoration occurs. If not, the damage remains and infects other aspects of life.

Healing requires time, stillness, acknowledging the pain, and looking forward to the other side. It is the progression that occurs naturally and it's always best when we yield to it. Rebuilding is a bit different. It requires work and determination. It is often dreaded and painful. Yet it is necessary.

Torn knee? Or broken relationship? Either way, allow it to heal and rebuild. I believe you'll be glad you did.

Until next time...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Casting On

Disclaimer: This posting is likely to bore the non-knitter.

I was excited to be able to cast on a new project the other day. To me casting on is like springtime. There's newness and excitement mixed with a bit of anticipation.

I wondered, "How do other knitters feel when they cast-on?"

So I decided to send out this inquiry in humble hopes of getting a reply. If you are so inclined, please finish the sentence below.

Casting on is like...

Until next time...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Where, Oh Where...

...has the summer gone???!!!

Was it the camping trip, swimming lessons, or lacrosse camp? Engineering, basketball, or golf camps? Paddle boating on the Tidal Basin or standing in awe at architectural masterpieces depicted in Lego? Maybe it was the trip to the beach... Oh I know, it was the "semi-extreme make-over" that occurred in my home and the 8-week summer session that I taught.

Yes, this has been a very full summer. And although I'm not ready for it to end I know that it must.

Possessions do not bring riches to our lives. Experiences do.

Now I understand. My whirlwind of a summer has made me a multi-billionaire!

Until next time...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Memoir

On July 4th my aunt, Norlishia A. Jackson, succumbed to ovarian cancer. My life and our family will never be the same.

Aunt Nor was a freelance writer. From the moment she learned of my desire to do the same, she served as a mentor and resource. She posed one question to me every time we spoke. "What cha' workin' on?" It was a gentle reminder to me that as a writer, I should always have a work in progress.

She served as an editor and contributing writer to the
Delta Journal, the primary publication of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Through the years she wrote several speeches for the sorority's past presidents and other national officers. She was also instrumental in chartering the Federal City Alumnae Chapter here in Washington, DC. Her work was so profound in Delta that prominent members of the sorority, poet Nikki Giovanni and Dr. Gloria R. Scott (the first African-American to serve as president of the Girl Scouts of America and past president of Bennett College) knew her well and made special trips to speak at the service.

Aunt Nor was creative, funny, giving, loving, and a take-no-stuff sort of woman - all at the same time. She was the best story teller I've ever known. She could tell a story that would make you laugh days, months, even years later. She loved our large extended family and kept us connected through gatherings, newsletters, and a family directory that she created. She was crazy about her sisters and even crazier about her grandchildren, or should I call them her "diva-children" (She refused to be grandma so "Diva" she was).

I could go on and on and on but I won't. Instead, with a grateful and heavy heart, I'll simply say...

I miss you and love you so much Aunt Nor.

Monday, June 28, 2010


It was our family's first camping trip. We pitched a tent, unrolled our sleeping bags, and "roughed it" with a group of friends and their kids. We had the time of our lives.

It was hot. We were smelly. There were bugs of all sorts and other small creatures. We felt sticky, a bit grimy, and were constantly covered in bug spray - the strong kind. Oh, and did I mention it was hot?

I thought about the fact that people camp all of the time and I wondered why. I slowed my pace, pondered, and eventually I got it.

A neck-craning look up at the very tall trees surrounding us put me in awe as their cone-filled tops swayed in a breeze we never felt. I shared a shower with the brightest green frog I'd ever seen, well...except maybe on the Planet Earth DVD. A lonesome stroll back to the tent surprised a raccoon who was seconds away from tearing our garbage from its post. And a walk to the bathroom in the pitch black of night revealed the brightest stars I've ever seen.

The kids ran and played and created a constant backdrop of giggles and laughter. They scootered and skated on the narrowly paved road. They tossed a football, beanbags, and water balloons. They enjoyed a nearby beach - in their clothes. And they discovered.

At the end of the day when we zipped our tent they looked up and exclaimed, "we could live like this!" And they meant it.

Burdens come with conveniences and luxuries but we seldom step away from them long enough to realize it. In the woods, we were unencumbered. All of us felt it. There were no Nintendos, no internet, and no agendas. There was the simple company of family and good friends. And there was leisure.

The experience was invaluable. I now understand a way of existence that I hadn't known prior to that weekend. And I know how to get it when I need it. Could you use a bit of freedom? If so, I suggest you pack a tent, gather close friends, and head for the woods.

Until next time...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Sweater!!!

There are no words to describe how I feel in this photo. I'm wearing the VERY 1st sweater I've ever knit. I've been working on it off and on for over a year.

There's something to be said for pressing on even when you can't see the end. That's what I did - one stitch at a time. I had a GREAT mentor (Thanks, Jess!) who said that there are 84,000 stitches to this pattern. I doubled that number, easily. If you count all of the mistakes that I frogged, I'm sure I made it twice.

Inca (the sweater pattern) taught me more about knitting then I could have ever learned in a class; everything from knitting cables to grafting wool. I learned how to see and correct errors and how to adjust pattern instructions.

And I experienced, yet again, a key life principle: No matter what, never give up.

Until next time...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Making Adjustments

After four years I have returned to working outside of the home. And it's been a major adjustment. I'm adjusting. My family is adjusting. Even my laundry is adjusting.

Transition is not always easy. But it is necessary. When life brings change it beckons us to move in step with that change. Some adjustments are small, like a lean in the movie theater when the person in front of you shifts in their seat. Others are not so small, like learning a "new normal" after the death of a loved one.

Change is a good thing. Growing through that change is even better. For this reason, I have decided to do the best that I can at each point of decision. And when it gets tough, I'll remember that it won't be this way forever.

Just look at me. I think I've grown an inch!

Until next time...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Knitter's Delight!

Those of us in the Washington metropolitan area are experiencing a knitter's delight! The Blizzard of 2010, affectionately known as "Snowpocalypse", has altered our normal course of life and given us lots of down time. This always means more time to least for me.

Okay so I still have laundry to do and three snowed-in children. My husband is feeling "snow fatigued" and I'm cooking around the clock. But when did that ever matter???!!! I'm taking complete advantage of the situation and I invite snowed-in knitters worldwide to join me.

Dig through your stash. Find that pattern - you know, the one that you've been meaning to start. And cast on.

Until next time...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Alive On The Inside

What appears dead on the outside may really be alive and growing on the inside. There, I've said it. I've made my point in the very first sentence.

The other day I noticed that one of the stalks in my Lucky Bamboo arrangement was dead. It was yellow with black spots and it was dried out. Gone were the
firm leaves and the vibrant green color. Or so I thought.

As I went to throw it out I noticed something quite peculiar. The very top was bright green and two new leaves were sprouting from it, firm leaves. Even the roots contained new sprouts.

I stepped back and thought - Should I keep it or get rid of it? I was in a quandary.
Relationships, opportunities, dreams, and endeavors came to mind. How many things have I given up on and discarded because they appeared dead on the outside or felt dry to the touch?

How many have you?

In case you were wondering, I chose to keep the ugly stalk. And it's still alive...on the inside.

Until next time...

Monday, January 25, 2010

5 Questions to Ask Before Giving Up on Your Goals

This was sent to me and I thought it was so good that I wanted to share.

1. Do I need to break it into smaller, more bite-sized action steps?
If you force too many goals at once, you set yourself up for failure. All you need to do if this is the case, is break the goal into smaller pieces and perhaps give yourself a more palatable time line. "By the Yard is Hard, but Inch-by-inch anythings a Cinch!"

2. What is the biggest obstacle to my progress?
If your goal is to eat healthier, but if your attempts to stay on track are sabotaged by the fact that you have to eat on the run and find yourself grabbing fast food every day for lunch, or dinner (which is what we often do), you've got a problem. Identify the things that are impeding your progress.

3. What can I do to alleviate any obstacle to my success?
Next, address every obstacle by brainstorming for a workable solution. That means it needs to be a solution you will actually use. Be honest with yourself about what you need. And if you struggle to come up with solutions, ask someone who has already conquered the challenge you face.

4. Am I pursuing the wrong goal for me?
Sometimes being stuck is a way for your authentic self to put its foot down. If you can't seem to get unstuck, ask yourself, "Why is this goal so important to me? What's the purpose?" What's my WHY? "Who do I know that can assist me?" "Is there another goal (perhaps even a similar goal) that resonates with me more?"

5. Am I holding on to the wrong goal, or is my EGO blocking my Progress?
Don't fall into the trap of letting your EGO block you from accepting advice from others! What's more important - Your Ego, or your Success? Sticking with something that's not working, when others around you are having Success, is a Clue that YOU need to adjust something that YOU are doing!

My challenge to you this week:
Identify a goal that you are struggling to complete. Ask yourself, "Who can best guide me?" And then seek, and accept that guidance!!

Until next time...

Friday, January 22, 2010

So, What Are You Doing?

After three years of home-educating my children and being out of the workforce, I went back to work. Yesterday. It wasn't easy or convenient or without challenges. But it was satisfying. I did what I was meant to do. I taught my first class at a local university. The students, whether there by choice or necessity, were engaged and involved. Open dialogue gave way to an exchange of ideas. And it motivated me.

At the end of a very long day, I went to bed with aching feet (it's been a while since I've trekked across a college campus), a sense of satisfaction, and a knowing. "I'm doing it! I'm actually doing it!" I said to myself say as the first class ended. T
he "it" of hopes and dreams and what-ifs. The "it" of trying and failing and trying again.

I know that this is what I was meant to do and that I am where I'm supposed to be - at least for now. The many paths of my life converge on this moment. And after much seeking, I can rest.

Are you doing what you were created to do? Are you fulfilled? Satisfied? Contented? If so, revel in it. If not, go after it. Whatever it is. It's out there and it's waiting for you.

Until next time...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Lesson Learned While Knitting: More Than A Ball of Yarn

This Christmas I received a ball winder from one of my very close knitting friends. When I pulled it out to use for the very first time, I was immediately joined by my daughter. What started as the mundane task of winding yarn turned into precious moments that are forever etched in my heart.

"Wait Mom, I want to wind my yarn," were her words as she ran for her knitting bag. And wind her yarn we did...for an our pj's...while watching the Cosby Show. We worked together unraveling, untangling, and winding. We shared, we laughed, and we celebrated every cake-shaped ball of yarn as if it were a masterpiece.

To us, it was.

As a mother, I quickly recognized the sweetness of the hour and I embraced it. Soon, winding yarn with her mother will be the farthest thing from my daughter's mind. With this revelation, I looked at my little plastic ball winder and was grateful for the gift. While it was given for one intention, I received so much more.

The next time you are toiling over WIPs that happen to be for other people: a baby blanket, hat, or pair of fingerless gloves, be encouraged and reminded that it may touch in ways you never imagined.

Thank you, Thella!

Until next time...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I Told You I Was New At This...

After several unsuccessful attempts at responding to a question posed in a comment to the last blog, I decided to post my response.

Can I comment on my own blog?

Anyway, here's my response:

Letting go requires a little of both faith and hope. Whenever I'm confronted with the prospect of purging, I honestly answer one or more of the following questions:

1. Why am I keeping this?
2. Does it fulfill a need or a want?
3. Does it add or take away?
4. When was the last time I used it?

I hope this helps.

Until next time...

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Freedom of Letting Go

I don't know about you but sometimes I like to hold on to things; not everything, just certain things. "I may need it one day," is the rationale. Sometimes the items are tangible like a book or a shirt. Sometimes, intangible like a perceived opportunity or an unfruitful relationship. Either way, they take up space and drain energy.

There is freedom in letting go, a release, an unleashing. And today, I experienced that freedom. I let go of something. And I have to admit - it felt good. As a result, I've increased my capacity to receive something else in return. While it wasn't planned, it was a great way to start the new year. And I'm excited about what's to come.

There really is a time for everything - even letting go. As you embark upon this new year, free yourself.

Until next time...