On mendfullness…

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 A recent article by Katrina Rodabaugh in the most recent issue of Taproot has been wending its way into my bones. It was a wonderful piece in which she discusses her journey into sustainable fashion in which she “abstain[ed] from any new clothing for an entire year.” If you’re curious about how your clothing choices affect the world and vice versa, her article is a great place to start (and also begin to learn the art of mending clothing, as well). As a mama to a large family, I’ve been mending hole-y knees and cuffs and all sorts of things on my boys’ clothes for years now, but I’ve never really thought about the process in my head or my heart.

It’s her closing section that wound deep in the sinews:

In researching the definition of the word “mend”, I loved the long, poetic, inspirational list of synonyms: re-form, correct, repair, cure, heal, doctor, fix, patch, recondition, renovate, revamp, and rebuild. I love how the list conjures images of building houses, casting broken bones and going to the voting booths all at once. I see hammers, scaffolding, herbs, salves, notebooks, declarations, pencils, erasers, threads, needles, and even a trip to a nearby gym.

But mostly I like to think of mendfulness as the intersection of mending and being mindful. That there is an intention in our repairs and that we are attempting to pay attention, to witness, to be thoughtful, and then to act from this place in our mending. That, through mendfulness, we can patch, darn or stitch, but we can also strengthen, heal, and rebuild.

-Katrina Rodabaugh, “Mendfulness”, Taproot; MEND::Issue 11.

What a powerful thought this is. I have long appreciated Makoto Fujimura’s idea of culture care- of being stewards and keepers of beauty- and this idea of mendfulness joins beautifully with it, does it not? Especially as a mama and a parent. So often we find ourselves stuck in reactive mode- this idea of mendfulness is helping me to shift my perspective to a more peaceful place when faced with broken-ness without and within. The falling autumn leaves remind me that even the seeming broken is beautiful in its own way, each a gift.

Hello November days…

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It was a good but intense week last week. I was grateful when Friday came. We had a great time trick or treating in the neighborhood this year. We had more adult hands on deck- and we went before twilight. It was really lovely.

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Isaiah is reading like crazy these days. I don’t know why it took me so long to put two and two together, but one day while we were at the library, it dawned on me that most of our favorite books had audio book companions. Isaiah has long struggled with fluency (putting sound and meaning together) and we’ve all racked our brain for ways to help him. That day it struck me all at once that he could both listen to and ‘read’ the book. It’s been amazing to watch how it has improved his reading of everything else by leaps and bounds. Just throwing it out there if you have a reluctant reader too.

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We were tremendously blessed to be able to source wood through a friend with a dead standing tree that turned out to be hickory. What a boon! It was already dry and mostly seasoned having stood for over a year, and we were able to chop most of it down with plenty of time to rest and season a bit more before we started burning. It was such a headache last year keeping us in wood in this urban area. Knowing that we have one less thing to worry about this winter is true gift.

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The fall color is so beautiful this year. Last year it seemed like we went from green to yellow-brown mush in two weeks and then the rain never stopped falling. This year it has been so pleasant and just glorious. Such riotous color everywhere. I miss watching the mountains turn, but the view all around town has made me feel less homesick.

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Ellianna caught a cold from all of us and since her immune system is still depressed she caught it quite a bit worse than we did. Lots of rest and napping needed. I came around the corner from doing chores to find her piled up with blankets and lots of good books piled next to her. We like to start the book-eatin’ young ’round here! Raisin’ her right! She is definitely improving. It is still touch and go at times (more due to the anemia than due to the Celiac’s) but it is so gratifying to be able to actually help her now instead of be at a loss for what to do. Everyone who knows her remarks at how she’s back to her old self. She was so so very quiet for most of the year- it is so much fun to hear her talking and singing to herself all the time and have her drag me on walks instead of having to keep a slow pace for her exhausted little self. And she does drag me- she is getting so strong. It is such a gift to behold. We still have some more procedures for Josiah in November to determine some things, but I definitely feel like we’re finding a new normal and are moving out of crisis mode. Fhew.

This Week in My Kitchen (Oct 19)

Joining with Heather in sharing a love of whole foods and the kitchen arts.

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Have you eaten a rainbow today? is the question I use to check in with myself and my needs each day. It’s a simple reminder to make sure that my food choices are as colorful and healthy as possible. In the fall season, things lean decidedly towards the orange and earthy colors. We really enjoy butternut squash this time of year, and as I’m sure you’ve noticed from week to week, it is making a regular appearance. Don’t let perfect be an enemy of good. As I said on Instagram in regards to the Shepherd’s Pie- colorful? Check! Frozen? Check! Is my family eating healthy tonight? Check! We’ve basically been eating the same variation of meals for the last two or so months, and we’re all happy with that. Things will be changing soon as November and December come on with the holiday flavors. Soups are starting to feature more prominently. Do the best you can with what you have.

Our dinner plans this week:

Taco Bowls

Butternut Squash Enchilada Casserole

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

Red Beans & Rice

Elegant Chicken

Stirfy

Sharing with Heather.

bloghop

Yarn Along: Third Time’s a Charm

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The cowl is finished, and just in time for the weather to turn cold. This is the first piece of knitting that I made expressly for myself, and I dearly love it. When it was finished the other day, I laughed to see various family members stopping by the knitting basket to ‘pet’ the super-soft, warm cowl. I’m not sure what I’d like to start on next. I was gifted some glorious Madeline Tosh yarn and I’d like to make Katherine’s Martinmas sweater, but I swear, I’m almost afraid to mess up the yarn trying! I seem to make so many (easy, rookie) mistakes (like yarn overs) and I just…it’s so pretty and nummy and what if I mess it up? Decisions, decisions.

I finished Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games). It seems my predictions about Gale were true. I was so unbelievably sad when Finnick died- after all he had been through and experienced and sacrificed, to die in the sewers seemed especially unjust. At least he had some time with Annie. And Peeta. Man oh man oh man. Wow. And Prim! And President Snow! And, and, and, and….wow. It is definitely a roller coaster ride to the end. And Katniss. I have to say, she’s the first heroine in literature lately that is represented honestly. I deeply appreciate that as a woman. She doesn’t win on beauty. She doesn’t win on wit. She doesn’t even on win on skill. She doesn’t win, period. She loses so much. In the end, she lives, and that is enough, and that is the brave thing. To bring forth life into so much death and brokenness-that was her true act of bravery. To let love win. If there’s anything I carry away from this series, it is that. So so good.

Sharing with Ginny.

More buried treasure and why I need a better system…

I keep thinking I’ve found the last of my completed pages waiting for albums, and then I find a few more. I really think this is the last of them, because there are no more un-cleaned-out storage boxes that could fit 12 x 12 pages…but…I could be wrong. These were completed this February, I think. I never would have thought I had so many little cubby holes that these got shoved into. I have more than enough to go into an album, but some of these belong in the children’s albums. Currently all of our albums are stored in a leather ottoman behind our couch. When we found the ottoman originally, it was the perfect solution for the scrapbooks- they were perfectly accessible but also protected. Alas, alack, I have very rough and tumble boys and that poor ottoman is a lot worse for wear. I need to have a better system for storing completed pages until they can get put in the albums and I also need a better system of knowing what stories need to be told from what has already been covered. Don’t even get me started on my digital files…anyways. Enjoy!

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