someday, i will update you.

but that day is not today.


this is awkward, but hilarious.

on a stressful day, i can expect kaylee to send me awesome links to cheer me up....

here's the link.

or if you want absolutely no context to the video, which is quite possibly even more hilarious, here you go:

by the way, it worked. totally cheered me up!


we're staying in iowa city!

the fact is actually kind of old news for us, but i realized that i should probably update you all since you so faithfully read and supported me through my time of emotional explosions. sorry about that, i can't realistically say it's going to end anytime soon.

as you remember, since last october really, we were considering our job options in seattle after bryan graduated. [oh yeah, bryan graduate from college! that happened too!] in april and may, he began interviewing at many different companies, a few in seattle, and several in iowa city, too. then he left for china, and everything he started was put on hold. then i left for china. then we came back together.

almost as soon as we got back, bryan started studying for his life insurance license exam. it is a required licenses for most companies, so he was getting a head start.

all in one day, july 10, here's everything that happened:

we received bryan's diploma in the mail! it felt pretty official-he graduated from college!

bryan called jim in seattle, to see if he had made a decision about hiring bryan. basically, jim liked him, but it didn't seem possible to make room for a new financial advisor on his team. that was the main job bryan had a shot for in seattle, so the door to seattle was basically shut at this point.

bryan had a two hour interview with northwestern mutual. bryan was super nervous about the interview, not because he didn't have confidence in himself, but more because he really wasn't sure if this job would be the right fit for him. he was basically afraid that he would get offered the job, but not want to take it.
we both had a great time with God as he prayed it out on his drive to cedar rapids. we knew seattle was out and we knew God would provide a great opportunity here in iowa city. bryan absolutely had the freedom to not accept the job and keep looking (that freedom was afforded to us mostly because we don't have any school debt). we gave it to God, trusting that He would guide us.
when i received the call from bryan, i honestly didn't know what he was going to say. when he started gushing about how great the interview was and how he got a perfect score on one of the tests and how they were really fighting to hire him and really seemed to want him. i was a little bit shocked to hear him completely change his demeanor about the job. immediately, i knew. we're staying in iowa city.

i called my mom, she screamed. i called holly, she screamed (and i heard all of her kids scream too). i told the salt staff (i was a salt), they were all pumped. i texted some of my other friends who i knew were waiting just as much as i was. it was a fun night.
the majorly bummed out pair was bryan's parents, who were obviously pulling for seattle-i'm still a little sad we won't be living near them!

two days later,  bryan passed his life insurance license and officially accepted the job. since then, he's passed his health & accidental license and started his training with northwestern mutual. he's officially a working man again, going into the office everyday. we even got him some dress clothes at goodwill and a new lunchbox to celebrate.


so i went to china. [the God thing]

yeah. that actually happened!

i'm really going to try to keep this short and readable, so it might turn into a couple different posts.

let's start this blog out with a bold statement: two days after i arrived in china, i told bryan i would move there if he wanted us to. 

those that walked through these last 8-9 months with us know that one sentence is exactly why i needed to go to china. eric & holly (aka the best connection group leaders in the world) said that almost immediately after we got back.

here's a little background. i took perspectives. it completely opened my eyes to God's heart for the world and totally shook my view on the Bible and God up. i loved it.

the class in no way made me want to go overseas. not even a little.

but it did stir my heart for the nations, and i began to support others with prayer and money with excitement. i was 18, working a fulltime job with no plans of going to college. and i wanted to be a wife and a mom. i remember saying that i didn't have any desire to go overseas myself, but i think i would be more willing to follow someone overseas (in other words, i want to get married and if he wants to go overseas, well, i guess i would consider that).

well, easier said than done.

last semester, God did A LOT in my heart regarding following my husband. a lot. it was the source of a lot of my tears, anguish, and worry. but God was working and just like Elizabeth George in A Woman After God's Own Heart, i was fully prepared to receive a call from bryan while he was in china asking me to move there and say, "yes!" ha. hahahaha. hahaha.

actually, i thought bryan was crazy for even thinking we could move overseas. what would he do? what would i do? when would i get to have babies?


i know, i know, i wasn't exactly the picture of an awesome wife. i was more like, sure, go to china, i'll stay here and cry until you get back.

i just needed to go. and here's what God showed me:

my husband KILLED IT. and by killed it, i mean, SAVED IT. because he was a part of saving eternal lives. and he was really, really good at it. he was bold, direct, honest and loving. and his impact was great.

i actually love asians! it's not that i didn't love asians before. it's just that i didn't love them NEARLY as much as a lot of my other friends. i think i was a little intimidated by my dear friends who are simply put, obsessed with all things asian. i was all, "if that's what loving asians is, i'm out." but God provided such sweet girls and guys that it was impossible not to fall in love with the people and culture there.

the fact that bryan went for five weeks and i went for one was just perfect. bryan had a enough of life there to become a little more grounded and a little less idealistic about overseas life. he got a realistic idea of what it would be like (somewhat), talked to the long-termers about their struggles, vision and advice, and had good days and bad days there.
and i went for one week and was prettily easily sold on the idea. i was all, "I LOVE THE FOOD. I LOVE RIDING BUSES. I LOVE SWEATING. I LOVE THE PEOPLE. I LOVE THE FOOD."


thanks Father, we really appreciate it.

[as a point of clarity for the sake of our moms, we currently do not have plans to go to China at this moment. more on that later.]

coming up...
so i went to china [the experiences]


so i started running.

right now it's midnight, and i'm still up because my husband is driving back from chicago and i've got some nerves about it. those nerves are apparently turning into adrenaline which is fueling this writing spurt. lucky you.

normally it wouldn't be a big deal that i am up this late. but it is a big deal because i'm looking forward to a 5:35am wake up call...to going running. by my own choice. my eyebrows are furrowing in confusion too.

here's the story:
in late march, i got a call from ashley, one of the pastor's wives from veritas. she told me about this idea she had to start a run/walk club this summer and how all of our veritas ladies would get together and run/walk and get fit and we'd all do a 5k at the end of the summer.

sidenote: as the very general "coordinator" of a church, i get to hear a A LOT of these "ideas." and really, they usually mean, "lisagrace, here's something else i'd like you to magically organize and make awesome like you do." but you see, ashley is awesome (not JUST because she remembered "administrative professionals day" and made me a heart shaped sucker). no, ashley is awesome because she read my mind. she was all, "you won't have to do anything."


this is me after a run, my face is way more red than instagram makes me look.

well, anyway, i was excited about this little club, because although i look skinny and tall and athletic, it's all a lie. so i went the first week and told my friend kaylee to make me run.
needless to say, it ended in me, keeled over and gagging, while kaylee ran ahead because she was so grossed out.

the second time wasn't much better. nor the third.

but i'm pretty competitive and i was going to run without almost dying! and after hearing about it a bunch on facebook and all that jazz, i decided to download an app on my phone. and it's working. the app is called 5k Runner or "Couch to 5k." i was convinced by the name, because i was all, "hey i like couches and sit in them a lot currently."

i hated running (and almost all forms of exercise for that matter) for a long time because i wasn't good at it, i always quit too early because i felt like i was going to die, and i never knew how to breath while exercising.

but this little 8 eight week program is all i needed apparently. that and an iphone. here's how it's helped and made me believe that i can run a 5k.

  1. it starts off really easy, which made my ego shoot through the roof
  2. i don't have to think about it, all i have to do is run until my phone buzzes in my hand. then i walk until it buzzes. and all of sudden, i just ran for 8 eight minutes straight and i am in shock.
  3. it's not distance, it's time. i can go as slow as i want, as long as i'm still running. i take advantage of that as much as i can. i believe my friend sarai calls it wogging (walking+jogging)
  4. it's pretty much a built-in idea that you pace yourself and that is what improved my breathing the most. it still takes some focus, but my breathing is much improved and i don't gag anymore!

i actually also have a really spiritual post in my brain related to running, but i'll save that for another time. 



my latest self discovery is that i am a perfectionist. but i'm kind of a weird version of a perfectionist, because i'm also a very fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind-of girl, which often warrants a lot of imperfections.

the perfectionist part of me can.not.handle. too much. which is what my life is right now. bottom line: if i can't do everything perfectly, i don't want to do anything at all.

and the worst part, the part that gets me in trouble, is that i want to do EVERYTHING. it's not just that life has given me a lot to do right now (which is part of it), but it's also that there are just so many things that i like and even love doing! so i say yes, yes, yes, and more yes...and then (you can probably guess) i end up crying in yet another staff meeting and this time it's all about how hard it is to be a wife and have a job and do every hobby and hang out with every person that i would like to.

and while in the past week my life has actually had somewhat of a routine to it, and i'm actually doing things i should and want to be doing, there is still so much i'm not doing and i'm just trying to sort it all out. sheesh. it's time for me to make a list. or several.

help people with crafts.
spend time with people.

making dinner.
grocery shopping.
having energy to love and care for my husband.
helping my husband with whatever he needs.
cleaning my house.

reading the Bible.
journaling to Jesus.
confessing my sin.

painting my bathrooms.
fixing all the slightly damaged clothing we have.
getting our back door fixed.
continuing to de clutter.

being a good friend.
being a good family member.
staying calm and collected under stress.
convincing bryan to get me pregnant.

right now. i'm working on 'write.' we'll see what i get to tomorrow.


a bit of awesome for your monday

I'd thought I'd re-enter the blog world with a bit of awesomeness.

So, I sent this picture (how talented am I?!?) to some of my friends that I wanted to make sure I see when I'm in Ames "on business" (how fancy and professional am I?!?!) this week:

and this is how one of my favorite people on earth, paige van voorst replies:
I will also note that the picture filed is name "BRING IT ON."

If a picture is worth 1000 words, then you just received 1000 awesomes.


weak week.

"we can be imperfect christians because we cling to a perfect Christ."
-Gospel Centered Discipleship, pg. 16

i just started reading the above book, and that sentence is just a perfect way to start this blog. i was thankful to read it, as well as many other good one-liners about authenticity.

when i wrote my last post, it was midnight at the end of the hardest day i've had in a long time (obviously). and i really wanted to share how i was feeling. i generally dislike relying on other people (and God) when i need help so in some ways it was a challenge to myself to write about how horrible i was actually doing.

and you know what? after i wrote that post, the rest of the week i felt so...guilty? frustrated with myself? weak? helpless? insecure? at least one of the above, though i'm not sure which one.

it was so difficult to go to salt the following evening and hear from James 1:1-18: joy in suffering. don't get me wrong, i was amen-ing just about everything drew said, but i just kept thinking, really? i'm supposed to be joyful right now? are you kidding me? i honestly had a pretty sassy moment with God about it...

at the same time, i was so convicted by my lack of dependence on Him. it's really stinking obvious that i rely and depend SO MUCH on my husband to de-stress me, encourage me and all around hold me together, isn't it? i mean, my entire blogpost was basically declaring that. several times last week i thought, i don't think i could survive if bryan died, i'm such a wreck right now. and yes, i'm so thankful that i love and miss my husband that much. and i really believe it's glorifying to God when i depend on my husband. but as i continued to feel incredibly alone, God continued to speak to me, I'm here, lisagrace, I'm right here. and He is! but i wan't necessarily ready to be excited about that truth. i still really wanted my husband back.

and that was pretty much my week. i battled the guilt i was feeling for being such an explosive mess of tears and not depending and having joy in Jesus. and i tried to keep my ears open to hear God speaking into me, telling me how much He loves me and how much He wants to hold me. and everyday, it was hard. and everyday, i didn't know if i could handle it.

but you know what i just love? that i don't have to be perfect. so maybe i'm not the picture of "joy in suffering" right now. because if i'm not that, i am a picture of God showing great kindness to a dearly loved child (who is truly acting like a child). in this extreme weakness, i am experiencing God's love more than ever. it's not every day or all the time but in these dark days, i hear Him.

i hear Him say, I am enough. and hearing that from the King makes me start crying almost every time. today, He said in 1 Peter, cast all of your anxieties on me, because I care for you. and in that moment, i truly believed that my Jesus cares for me. and i'm standing in that truth right now, because i'm so, so, so in need of his care right now. when i read that and heard Jesus really say that to me, i felt an arm go around me, and i felt the freedom to cry on His shoulder, and I heard his comforting words speaking into my fears and anxieties and loneliness and sadness.

and maybe to everyone else in the coffee shop, i looked like a girl in the corner sobbing over a book. but to me, all of a sudden i was experiencing the gospel. i was experiencing relationship with Jesus. just me and Jesus, living life together. just me, crying on His shoulder, and just Jesus, speaking truth into my life, because He is always truth.

i have a pretty great life. on a normal day, i have the best husband in the world to comfort me and calm me and lead me. and i have a ton of other great blessings too. every so often though, God brings me these horribly uncomfortable and dark and lonely times to bring me all the way to Him again. i need the darkness to appreciate the light.

so, you know, i'm glad you got a taste of how sad i was last week. because that's me. that's true. and i absolutely should have more joy in Christ, yes, but i didn't last week. i'm glad you know that. i'm glad you prayed for me.

i'm so thankful i have Jesus, because He is moving in my life, even on the darkest of days.


blog it out

well, i had plans to blog a bunch while i'm alone with nothing else to do, but as you may know, i kind-of fall apart when bryan's gone. this time, it's been no exception. up until this past weekend, i really didn't do anything productive, except at work. i've actually been working a lot.

but anyway, today was the worst day i've had so far. i cried or was about to cry the entire day. literally. and i'm here to blog it out, while simultaneously updating you on all of my feelings about everything happening in my life.

we think bryan might get a job offer in seattle. it's still quite up in the air, because the man bryan interviewed with would have to create some sort of position for him, but he really, really seemed to like bryan. (of course he did, my husband is awesome and fantastic and so, so, so amazing) in fact, i'll share what he said about him to bryan's mom (who works at the same company):

"He said that he was really impressed by Bryan, and that Bryan is really mature for his age.  I started to say something about Bryan's hard work, and he acknowledged that, but brushed it aside.  He said that he was impressed by Bryan because he could tell that Bryan really cared about people.  Jim said that in this business, you have just a couple of minutes to gain someone's trust, and that Bryan's caring came through so well and so quickly that in Jim's opinion, Bryan will be very successful, especially as a Financial Planner.  Jim went on to say that he met with another possible candidate right after Bryan, and there was such a difference that he didn't even tell that guy about the job, instead he just talked about careers in finance."

when i read that email from bryan's mom, that was my first good cry about bryan being gone. i was reminded of how awesome he is and how much i love him and that just made me really, really miss him. 

and then i cried when i heard his voice the next morning. that was so good. 

and then i cried when i read the email to our connection group. 

and then i was okay, at least, i wasn't crying. i was surviving. i've received so many offers to hang out, to come over for dinner, to do whatever, and i really didn't feel like doing anything, but i did it anyway and was and am so thankful for and loved by the offers. it was good. 

and then i got to talk to bryan for around 40 minutes. and i cried. a lot. but it was the best thing for me. i realized how much i need to vent and talk through everything with bryan, and i was actually able to do that a little bit last friday. if you can't already tell, bryan is my best friend. he is the only one who truly gets all of me, the good, the bad and the ugly-cries. and i need him to have all of me and hear all my fears and stress and everything. and for a month, i have to deal with all the stress by myself. 

and after a productive and also somewhat trying weekend, i lost my sanity a bit this morning. and it lasted all day. i just couldn't stop crying. i felt so overwhelmed and so alone at the same time. and i know i wasn't alone. in fact, i was surrounded by a staff that cares about me and is praying for me. but i'm without my other half-the one who makes me so incredibly happy when i'm so incredibly stressed. and i just lost it. 

i think i'm just really tired of life right now and my natural inclination is to give up and want some extreme change. so, if i'm honest, i want to move to seattle. because i'm tired. 

but i don't get to choose. i have the privilege of following my husband (who loves me and wants the best for me and hears every fear and struggle i have). 

you can see how bi-polar my thoughts are right now, and you probably aren't surprised at how this mixture of thoughts and life-happenings is causing me to erupt in tears that last an entire day. seriously, my eyes looked bruised with redness underneath them after today. but i'm okay, and i'll make it another 12 days. and i cried in front of everyone i was around. and i got my haircut and i had dinner and watched steel magnolias with holly and eric and that was good. i'm good, but only because God is good and He knows me too. He knows the desires of my heart. and God is leading bryan. and God knows our future. and He is my hope and all i need. 

so there is my depressing blogpost for the week. you're welcome. love you all, thank you for your prayers. and sorry if i cry on you. 


The Fly-Over

Here's a quick fly-over of our lives over the past few months...

1. Filled 210 Easter Eggs   2. Remade a Dress   3. Sold our TV   4. Found a Giant Bird Nest in our Grill   5. Went to Audrey's Bridal Shower   6. Family Time   7. Hosted Layla's Bridal Shower    8. Started Cross-Stitching    9. Bryan finished College!   10. Found 6 Eggs in our Grill    11. Saw a Red Panda   12. Bryan had 3 Interviews in Seattle    13-20. Explored Oregon


and the plans change again.

and just when you thought you had at least one solid plan for the near future...

the plan changes again.

for the last six months, bryan and i have been preparing our hearts, minds, and marriage for a 12 week time apart for the sake of the nations. we love the world, and the people in the world. we love God's plan for the eternal salvation of all nations, and we want to be as much a part of it as we can.

so, as you know, we decided last december that bryan would go to east asia for twelve weeks to share the gospel with the unreached with these lovely people:

we never had a second thought about this decision. when you're convinced of the extremely good news of salvation through jesus christ, decisions to share that good news in a largely unreached nation is very close to a no-brainer.

sure, i've cried. a lot. but i knew that the gospel was worth missing my husband. as for our marriage, our plan was to talk to each other weekly so that we could stay as one minded as possible. we knew it might be hard to communicate with each other, but we could make it work. we are convinced the gospel will prevail in east asia and in our marriage. 

twelve weeks. this was the plan. actually, it was one of the only plans that was a "sure thing." we still don't know if we're going to move in the fall, we don't know if our lives are going to stay very much the same or be very different in six months from now. but we did know that bryan was going to be in east asia from may 21st until august 6th.

or so we thought.

i have never taken for granted the fact that bryan and i are apart of an amazing church. we go to a church where the elders pray for us specifically, they know us by name, they genuinely love and care for us and our well-being. and our church loves the nations too. bryan is one of 29 students going overseas this year with the support of veritas. how awesome is that?!

but we experienced just how awesome our church is and definitely felt just how much our church loves is. and the verdict is...

bryan is going to east asia. and so am i. and we'll both be back by june 24th.
bryan will leave with his team as planned on may 21st. and i'll leave sometime around june 13th to meet him there. we'll work together for about a week and fly home together. in the end, we'll only be spending about three weeks apart!

there were many people that voiced their concerns and opinions and love for us. and we were not hesitant to change our plans and submit to such awesome, prayerful, and wise leadership.

we'll be sending out letters to all of bryan's supporters to share this story with them but if you are one of bryan's supporters, feel free to let us know if you have any questions.

we have felt so supported and loved by our supporters, our friends, our families, and our church throughout these past six months. it is truly exciting to live in step with God, and we pray that this summer would only deepen our relationship with our God.


greeted from afar.

i'm re-entering the blogging world with a more serious post. God's been faithful to speak to me through His word, as He always is. what have you been reading lately?

every time i go back to hebrews, i find a new reason to call it my favorite book of the bible. this time, it has allowed me to get outside of my own head and simply hear truth. i can barely get through a chapter in many other books of the bible (new testament, especially) because nearly every sentence convicts my heart just as it was intended. this is really good for me, i assure you, but reading hebrews, i felt as if i was getting to know my jesus again.

hebrews is like a 13 chapter overview of the gospel (aka the entire bible), the great story throughout history that is always pointing to our salvation. i loved each and every bit of this book even though in my lack of discipline i usually only picked it up about once a week.

two weeks ago, i found myself sitting in this room reading hebrews 11.

i literally escaped from the world around me. i was in a perfect room, an hour away from iowa city with no cellphone or internet and two uninterrupted hours to spend with the Lord. God gave me a special treat that day, i left feeling incredibly refreshed, and also with a clear word from the Lord, which doesn't always happen when i read the bible, i'll admit.

the sentence i discovered was "ordinary people with an eternal perspective." i'm sure i'm not the first person to stumble upon that truth, or even form that sentence. but that day, it was like God had formed that in me, word by word.

"eternal perspective" was the first thing i was struck by. in hebrews 11:13 it says, "these all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth." (emphasis added)

this really spoke to me. "these," our fathers who have died in faith greeted the promises from afar-like an old friend. they lived for these promises, only to never receive them in their short lifetimes here on earth. but they greeted them from afar. i was really hung up on these few words. do i greet the promises from afar? would i recognize them up close let alone from afar? am i living for what i can see today, or what i know to be the greater truth?

i was baffled, convicted and in awe of the eternal perspective our fathers of faith had. chapter 11 goes on to list people in our great heritage of faith and i was overwhelmed by how ordinary everyone was. these were normal people that God did great things with! it says again in verse 39, "and all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised." could i do that? and more, do i consider myself ordinary enough to simply know and do God's will? 

ordinary people.
eternal perspective.

today, i'm thankful for God's living and active word.


see ya later, #19.

i've got a rotten tooth. you can see the cute little swell on the side of my gums. sick.

i went to the dentist on tuesday, and they didn't tell me anything i didn't already know (because there are three dental students in our connection group and they know what's up). the verdict is that i'm getting this sucker ripped out next thursday. super fun.

tooth #19 is my arch-nemesis. almost as soon as it grew in when i was a kid, a huge cavity formed, for no apparent reason. so i got a filling. then, when i was 18, the existing tooth around the filling just broke off when i was at a barbecue with some friends. cute. so i had a root canal, refilled the tooth, and put a nice crown on top of all of that. and now, 5 years later, the infection is back with a vengeance and the dentist recommended that we don't give the tooth any more chances. and although i'm pretty sure it's a heck of a lot more expensive to get an implant, i'm pretty convinced it will be better in the long run.


spring break adventure

last week, i had a great week of work. i got so much done, was rarely interrupted (due to spring break), and just generally felt well rested.

to celebrate, my sweet friend kaylee and i went on a "spontaneous" road trip on friday and saturday. this little trip was exactly what the doctor ordered. it was so incredibly relaxing to just be away from everything and to have no real plans for the weekend except to have fun and hang out with each other.

some highlights of the weekend:

  • ikea. enough said.
  • spontaneous stop at the quilt shop where it just so happened that a charter bus of ladies was also stopped and they even had a cheese ball to celebrate. 
  • two new cute dresses (and a really memorable story that goes along with them)
  • uptown exploration: urban outfitters, calling "aunt sue" to get a good tea suggestion, saying we should take pictures of everything and not taking any. 
  • crafty planet! a super wonderful craft shop, where i got needle felting supplies and kaylee got super cute sushi fabric
  • finding a really cute scarf and a vintage suitcase at great prices. 
  • hanging out with kaylee all weekend long, and lovin' every minute of it. 
  • the weather was 75 and sunny-couldn't have asked for a greater gift from God!
  • neither one of us cried all weekend long!

hooray for friends, roadtrips, and fun. 


i haven't been crazy for nothing.

maybe you've been reading this blog for the past couple weeks and thought to yourself, "why is this lady so cray-cray?" (that's the cool way of saying crazy, and i know that everyone who reads this blog is super cool.) or perhaps you've thought, "what's her problem and why does she cry so much?"

i completely understand. and i would like to explain myself. my friends have asked me (after i cried all over them), "what's wrong with you?!?!" many times, so i pretty much have the answer down-pat.

what's wrong with me? everything.
or, in short, a trifecta of huge things.

#1. work.
i love my job so much, and i love being great at it. but right now, that means working really hard, stressing myself out so much, and overextending every part of myself. i'm totally cool with it, but i may or may not have had a few breakdowns in front of the entire staff team about it. whatevs.

#2. the impending 76 days without my husband.
i'm really trying not to think about it. but bryan and i have been having so much fun together lately. we're growing together, laughing together, making fun of each other. our relationship has never been better and that usually makes me think about how much i'm going to miss him this summer. and from what i've heard, this is the worst part, the waiting and anticipation. i really think i'll be fine when he's gone, but i can't keep my mind off the fact that he's going to be gone.

#3. the job hunt and possible move across the country
this isn't something i've blogged about yet, so for those of you who don't know, we're strongly considering moving to seattle, wa after bryan graduates and gets back from east asia. crazy, huh?! maybe it's the coffee on an empty stomach, but i'm jittery just thinking about it. the biggest stress about this is that we may not even know until august that we're moving. in august. the thought of deciding to move and moving all in the same month is really overwhelming to me. we could totally decide to stay too, but this is the biggest decision we've ever had to make in our marriage together, and the future is completely grey right now.

so there you have it, i'm extremely stressed out because my mind is always on one of those three things right now. if i'm not thinking about everything that needs to be done for work, i'm thinking about everything that i want to be doing to prepare for a possible move across the country, or i'm thinking about how i'm going to be completely alone this summer, or i'm thinking about how i don't actually know anything that is to happen in the next 6 months of my life.

so i beg you for prayer. please, please, please pray for us. we desperately want God to share His vision with us in all of this. we want to see our future through His eyes, and make each decision in light of that. God has already been good to unite bryan and i all the more throughout all of this. pray that we would continue to glorify God with our marriage and in our ministry. and if you want to add more to your prayers for us, please prayer that my mind doesn't explode with anxiety or stress, because there are days when i've come close to brain explosion.


trust me, it's normal

if you've seen me in person in the last month, and asked a simple question like, "how are you doing?" you've probably seen me burst into tears.

i seriously don't know what's wrong with me! well, yes i do, i have absolutely no control over anything in my life, and i'm emotional wreck. i've never been this emotionally unstable. i would even say i'm a generally strong person. i've always been great at holding it together for everyone else, bearing burdens, dealing with them myself on my own and living happily in front of everyone else.

so i'm terribly sorry for freaking everyone in my life out.

and even though it's completely involuntary, i'm so thankful that i've been able to be vulnerable.

i was telling bryan yesterday afternoon (as we were sitting outside on our picnic table because it was 80 degrees and AWESOME!) that i have felt SO. ENCOURAGED. AND. UPLIFTED. by everyone in my life. and i mean everyone. my dearest friends and family who read this blog and are certain i'm going insane have been so willing to let me burst into tears all over them even if i haven't seen them in months. my connection group and the veritas staff who have watched me completely melt down about all the stress in my life. even just all the veritas people i've interacted with over the last few weeks (which is a TON of people, because we have so much going on right now) have constantly been reaffirming how great everything is going.

all of this has made me cry all the more and at the same time has been absolutely essential to my sanity. so thank you.

and i want to say it's over, that i haven't been bursting into tears as often and that i'm back to my normal, don't-worry-i-can-handle-everything-and-be-wonderfully-happy-all-the-time self. but i'm afraid i'm on the verge of tears right now just thinking about all the compassion and support i've been shown over the last month. so i'm sorry, but i'm not quite over the crying phase of my life. this is just the new normal for me, crying about everything. i hope you're okay with it.  because even though it makes you really uncomfortable, it's actually been really good for me to rely on other people.

thanks for listening, i hope to continue to find time to write out my feelings but also update you about more than just my emotional instability.


winter got a fall out of me.

right now, it's 57 degrees. and the high for today is 66. thus i've declared it, "no coat day." and "the first day of no more winter."

but, mother nature got me yesterday, and she got me good. she probably knew full well that yesterday was the last day of winter and she just couldn't let me get away without a good, hearty winter fall.

the fall was short and sweet, a little too short and sweet. i got out of my car after running an errand and then i was on the ground. i seriously didn't even feel myself slip so my hands didn't work to catch me at all, i was just face down, sore, and unable to see because my glasses had flown off my face and it was sort of dark.

i now have four knee caps, because i have huge welts on both of my original knee caps. i even iced them down last night, which is hilarious in it of itself because i've never had to ice anything in my life because i never work out/exercise/play sports. and i'm sore all over, once again, not because i tried to be sore for good and healthy reasons, but because i have the worst balance and reflexes of anyone ever existing.

thank you winter, for reminding that i suck as a human being.


trailer park life

you know you live in a trailer park when...

you turn in to the park entrance around midnight on a friday night, only to see a man in a cape walking on foot determinedly out of the trailer toward the nearby bowling alley.



bring on the college freshman

first salt ever!

i've known anna since she was in eighth grade so it is super weird that all my little, tiny, wide eyed eighth graders are college shopping right now. God is so good to lead her to iowa city, where i can kidnap her and make her hang out with me all the time.

i love this girl, and i can't wait for fall 2012!


the panic attack

have you ever been so overwhelmed with life and work that you want to curl up in a ball and forget all your responsibilities and pretend like everything is going to get done anyway?

okay, well, have you ever actually curled up in ball and desperately tried to wish away everything you had to do? because that's what happened to me this past weekend.

there is a lot going on in Veritas right now because God is trying to show us that He's all "crazy awesome" and "has way bigger plans than we do." [no blaspheming intended, i think God understands my sarcasm] seriously, we've had baptisms, sending 19 people to brazil in less than TWO WEEKS, 95 students going on our first ever spring retreat this weekend, an upcoming women's retreat and more.

i admit that i've been waaaahayyyyy overwhelmed with it all. there has just been so much to do and so little time. last week felt completely nutso busy and yet i left on friday at 5pm with so much undone. i said to myself, "i'll work on this at home, and then i'll just go in and print everything." and then...

then, i proceeded to FREAK OUT about everything that i still had to do and i handled it by curling up in a ball, watching insane amounts of tv and profusely asking bryan to not talk to me about anything i should or shouldn't be doing. i did this until 8pm on Saturday, because i had thankfully watched every episode of "New Girl." after that, i was out of things to distract me from everything i had to have done for sunday.

so, i slipped my laptop in my bag, and went to the church offices, at 8pm on a saturday night. what can i say? i work best under pressure. the following is a true account of my saturday night adrenaline-filled work hours, for your enjoyment [because i know you read this blog for my crazy]

7:56pm: arrive at offices, lock the door behind me
7:57pm: turn on hall lights, my office light, and copy room light
7:59pm: put dishes away, break a glass (shoot!), get a glass of water
8:02pm: open up the laptop, turn on local natives pandora station, dance a little, start working
8:34pm: find myself dancing as i cross things off my huge to-do list, i started with easy things like ordering a new address stamp and a paper folder
9:15pm: i'm reminded of the bubbles jenny tokheim left for us, and i blow some for fun. it makes me happy
11:47pm: clint comes into the offices to get some things for sunday morning, asks me if anyone got towels for the baptisms tomorrow, i add that to my to-do list
12:05am: i think i'm almost done, and then i remember 4 other things i should do
1:26am: i head to walmart so i won't have to in the morning, oh wait, it already is the morning
1:47am: i check-out at walmart with 19 pocket journals, 2 handsoaps, 4 lanyards, and 4 luxury towels. i'm sure the check-out lady was judging my weird purchases, but on the positive side, the night shift employees are much nicer than the day-shift employees.
1:53am: arrive home, not tired at all, write some blogs, go to bed

the moral of the story is, i'm crazy, but everything is done. success.


the response

i absolutely LOVED the response i got from my post about going insane. i thought you'd enjoy some highlights from my week [it's still incredibly weird to get a real-life response to my blog, rather than an internet one, but hey, keep it coming, i'm glad you read]

tuesday night at salt:
my friend emily tells me she saw my post on facebook ["i haven't had a meltdown...YET"], but didn't read the blog and asks me how i'm doing.
i say, "oh i just wrote about how bryan is leaving me for the summer..." and i'm down, as in, tears are welling in my eyes as students call out my name asking to register for the Salt Retreat. i escape to the bathroom and try to control myself.

wednesday night at craft night:
i'm knitting with gig, victoria, and kaylee. victoria notes the blog and asks me how i'm doing. i talk about it a little bit and joke about my line about constantly being on the verge of tears at all times. the room gets kind-of quiet and victoria so adorably points out, "oh, you're crying now..."
"yep, i am" i respond and proceed to cry it out.

thursday morning at work:
one of our elders passes by my desk on his way out the door, and says, "i read your blog, that was HILARIOUS, but very true, so we'll be praying for you." his good sense of humor and compassion almost made me cry again.

on friday, i was finally able to talk about the impending east asia trip without crying, which was super nice. thanks for all the love and support, my friends, you've proved yourself thus far.

and for the cynics out there, NO, it wasn't hormones. sometimes a girl can cry without that particular excuse.


happy haircut

last sunday, at 10:30pm at night, i gave bryan the best haircut of his life. it looked great, and he asked me to trim the sides a little more. we were watching the oscars, and he was talking about something and then, i gasped.
that just happened.

first, i thought i could fix it, but bryan quickly stopped me after he heard the horrified gasp escape my lips. i said, "don't look at it! i can fix it!" and he said, "i need to look at it." after five agonizing minutes alone in the kitchen after the incident, he came back out and said sweetly, "i can barely tell, it's not that bad. but where's the little mirror?" [for a visual, he said this to his crying wife who had buried her face in her hands]

i helped him look at his hair in the mirror so that he saw "the patch" in its full glory. he continued to be ever so sweet and say things like, "you can't even tell from the front." and "it's not that bad." in contrast, i hurdled myself facedown in our bed, crying, and started to mutter, "it's so bad, it's so bad, i'm so sorry, i'm so sorry. don't worry, i won't ever cut your hair again."

he comforted me until we convinced ourselves that he could go to a salon or something the next day, and this would be something we'd laugh about in years to come. "the patch" only lasted about 12 hours, thankfully and in the end, he's still as hot as ever.
thank you twin image, for fixing my husbands hair.


trailer park life

you know you live in a trailer park when...

you call the city to see why the water pressure dropped dramatically only to find out that the city doesn't provide your water. you then easily connect the dots between the fact that your trailer park has a lake, the fact that you've seen brown water come out of your spicket, and the now obvious reason why water is "included" in the lot rent fee.

sketchy trailer park water...


can i just say?

Let's talk about the fact that my husband is leaving me for what is officially 76 days. SEVENTY SIX DAYS PEOPLE!

I keep telling people that I haven't really freaked out about it yet. Which is true, I haven't had a meltdown. But I think the real truth is that I am just generally on the verge of tears at all times but I haven't exploded yet so it doesn't really count. How's that for stable?

I could just completely throw a fit the day before he leaves for East Asia like normal people, but instead I'm slowly but surely wasting away my sanity over these next few months before he leaves. Although I've only been thinking about the reality of Bryan being gone for 76 days for about 6 weeks, I'm pretty sure this weird, elongated, insane meltdown process of mine will have many different phases.

Right now, I'm in the extremely selfish phase. Here are real-life quotes from my head:

Bryan won't be able to send me a birthday present from across the world, and he's going to be gone on my birthday, so that sucks.

Hey, Bryan, why don't you just leave for East Asia TWO DAYS before our anniversary?! That way you miss our anniversary and my birthday, that's real cool. 

Aren't you glad you aren't married to me? I'm horrible.

It is as if I keep forgetting that Bryan is giving up his entire summer to share the gospel with the lost and love on extremely undervalued orphans...I tend to forget these things in the height of my selfishness.

But even though I'm horrible and selfish, I'm still going to expect ALL OF YOU to put up with me when I explode in tears and can't stop. Especially you, Kaylee.


trailer park life

you know you live in a trailer park when...

your trailer park air kind-of smells like oatmeal in the winter.



may i not fall...

I know what you're thinking. I should probably become a photographer. Look at the depth, the adorable-ness, the artsy-fartsy angle, and the way the little birdie looks so gosh darn thin! I can't explain it, really. I was just overcome by my own raw, unbridled talent all of a sudden and I snapped this breathtaking photo of this little bird. SO, throwing caution to the wind, I'm quitting my day job and launching my new photography business which specializes in Instragram iPhone 4 Photos of little adorable crafts.

Just an FYI for my true friends out there: this is the moment when you're obligated to tell me that I should NOT audition for "America's Next Best Photographer" because I'm just NOT that talented. And Simon will mock me to the end of the age if you don't slap me in the face and warn me now of my misdirected pride.

ANYWAY, that little monologue was my way of proudly proclaiming that while I may not have a photography talent, I AM THE BEST AT MAKING ADORABLE LITTLE CRAFTS.

I mean, look at that bird. Isn't he cute? Oh, you need more pictures? Here you go...

I've been learning all sorts of new crafty things lately. I'm working on my first from-a-pattern-dress, I taught myself how to needle felt (this little bird is needle felted), and I'm working on my crochet skills.

Indeed, I think it's safe to say that I rock.


trailer park life

you know you live in a trailer park when...

the local trailer park geese [we're a fancy trailer park, remember, we have a freaking lake] are getting real comfortable where they are. they've taken over the lake, obviously, but also the playground and the soccer field, and sometimes the road. and i'm all like fine, whatevs. because really, does ANYONE have tact in a trailer park?


lately, my life...

Lately, my life has consisted of driving. Driving a total of 12 hours to Ames and back three different times in one month. Driving to pick up my friend Morgan, driving to Starbucks, driving back home and then back to campus to take Bryan to school and then driving to work-all before 8am. Driving to Coralville with my friend Kaylee to go to Target because we hate Walmart so much. Driving to Riverside, IA to help my friend Sarah finish touching up her new house. Driving to Atkins, IA to wedding dress shop with my friend Layla.

Lately, my life has consisted of work. Working to completely move in to our new offices. Working to catch up on everything I put off during the month it took to move into our new offices. Working on all the extra stuff that comes with a new year or a new semester or new responsibilities. Working on improving myself and getting better at my job. Working to keep my email inbox to under 50 emails.

Lately, my life has consisted of purging. Purging everything we don't need or use. Selling everything we no longer want. Getting rid of all things broken or cluttered or useless. Purging unhealthy eating habits. Purging my undisciplined ways.

Lately, my life has consisted of crying. Crying at the sight of my freshly engaged best friend (happy tears). Crying out of frustration or anger or stress. Crying out of sorrow for those that have lost loved ones.

Lately, my life.


January Financial Update

This just in, I think I might go back to actually using proper capitalization. Maybe.


If you divide 100% by 12 months, you get 8.3333333333333333%. I just wanted to get that out there and explain that we're not going to be able to save 8.33% percent each month. Right now, we're in a season of inching. I have a fulltime job that provides for all of our needs but leaves little room for saving. Bryan gives plasma and so far, we've been able to save all of that money. But our goals are quite hefty compared to the small amount of savings we can muster right now. 

That's okay, because the end of school is finally in sight. Bryan will graduate in May, leave for East Asia, get back in August, and (Lord-willing) get a job and we'll be a double income family. Since we quite easily live off of one small income right now, we should have no problem dominating our goals come August. At least that's the plan. 

For now, we'd like to be diligent stewards of what God has given us and save as much as we can, even if it's very little. 

Because we were on the ball in November and December, we're actually not so far behind this month. Which is always encouraging! 

Here's the update:

2012 Financial Goals:
  1. Fill all of our essential dump funds as fast as possible. these dump funds include:
    • Auto Insurance
    • Home Insurance
    • Auto Tax
    • Home Tax
    • Pest Control
    • Eye Exams
    • Eye Glasses
  2. Pay off our student loan
  3. Fill all of our non-essential dump funds. these dump funds include:
    • Christmas
    • Clothing
    • Vacation
    • Birthdays
  4. Save and pay cash for a second car
  5. Fully fund our emergency fund (6 months of expenses)
Percentage-wise, we're 7.46% completed with our 2012 goals. 


ugh. goals.

i don't think that having new year's resolutions only because you feel pressured to have them is really the point. but that's a little how i feel this year. last year i was all bursting at the seams to tell you how awesome i was going to be last year and how much i was going to get accomplished.

and i am really okay with the fact that i didn't complete most of those things. i wasn't lying.

but i would be lying if i pretended that i actually had goals for my life right now.

crap, this post is about to be long. so how about i make it a "choose your own adventure" type thing? okay, done. you can read any one of the following endings to this post:

there you go, four posts in one day. and you thought i was slacking, didn't you.

blogging is a funny sport

there are good bloggers and notsogood bloggers, but was does it really matter if you're good or no good? sure you could be making some money, but it's not like it's your livelihood. sure you could have a million readers, but if your family likes seeing all those cute pictures of your kids, that's the main goal, right?

and we get so upset if people don't read our blogs, don't we? we're all like, why don't people like what i have to say? i'm going to go on strike FROM MY OWN BLOG and see if anyone notices. and then four months later we write a post laced in bitterness to our non-existant readers, starting with:

"sorry i haven't posted in a while, not that anyone really reads this. (except you mom! love you!)"

it's just a weird thing that we take so seriously and yet we don't take seriously at all. we want people to read it and yet we say things like, "it's my blog and i can say whatever i want."

a blog can be a glorified journal, a scrapbook, a soapbox, a suggestion box to the world, a self-confidence booster or so many other things.

and because there are no rules to blogging, i find myself in doubt and in indecision. do i write a blog to please people or to please myself? how diplomatic should i be? should i write to my readers or should i write for my own pleasure and good, regardless of who reads.

i think the most difficult question i ask myself about blogging is, "what should i write about?" i'm usually asking the more specific question: "how much of my life do i share with this reader's of mine?"

but that's the thing, there are actually people who read this thing [i'm still amazed]. i get embarrassed by how many people read this thing. i instantly think, oh my goodness, what do they think of me? do they hate me? do i annoy them? do they expect me to be this hilarious in real life? 

i love this whole blogging business, i keep coming back to it obviously, but i find myself trying to find the purpose of all of it. because it's just a funny thing to do when you think about it.

for now, my purpose is write about my life, to receive feedback (which so far has been good), and to enjoy the learning process. i may not do exactly what you all expect of me, like have a beautiful and well-thought out list of goals every year, month or week. but i will be honest with you and i will try my very darndest to make it funny and interesting to read. so there you have it, that's what you can expect of me this year.

blogging about my life

i so admire mommy-bloggers who set all of these goals for themselves and accomplish them every week. but it also make me feel like crap because usually one of my only goals for the week is just to blog. does that stink or what?

but i'm really not complaining. i love reading about other peoples goals and i more often feel inspired than like crap. i think it just gets me caught in a war with myself. and blogging can make it worse at times.

there is a certain expectation that comes with blogging, i hold myself to higher standards because i blog about my life. it's really good for me and i fall short in many ways to my own standards. and you actually get to see that.

it makes failing even scarier, because i have an audience. and i choose to have an audience. i pour my freaking heart out to you people! i've shared a lot of my life on here. you know that i was born at home. you know many details about our finances. you know certain organizations we give money to. you know that i set goals and fail them, very often.

and if i'm being frank, i think that's why you keep reading. you want to know what my life is like. i've got you hooked with my witt and charm and failures.

so what's the balance? how do blog about my life without boring you to death or straight-up lying? how do i blog without setting impossible standards for myself? how do i blog about the realities of life with out complaining or being super annoying or super unrealistic?

honestly, i actually think i've actually done a pretty good job of balancing all of these things in 2011, and i'm toasting to 2012 for an even better year of blogging for all our sakes! but the bottom line is, don't judge me for being an entire month behind on setting goals for myself.

the boiled down version of new year's resolutions

so far, 2012 has been about surviving for me. surviving at work, surviving at home, surviving life. it totally sucks, really. i don't want to just survive life. i want to own life, like really, own it. i want to wake up and tell life what it's gonna be today.

but alas, life has been so busy that i've had to resort to survival mode. it happens, you know? usually in january, too. i mean what the heck.

while everyone else in the world has started (and many have already failed) their new year's resolutions already. i'm staying ahead of the curve because i haven't even thought about my new year's resolutions. boom, roasted.

really, if i had time to actually think about my goals for life at this point, it would really boil down to the one sentence answer i have had time to think about. be awesome at life. that's really what goals are anyway, the means to the end of being awesome at life.

so that's what i've got for you people, four words. be awesome at life. january is over today, but that's all i've got. i don't have a list, a plan or even made up statistics for you, maybe someday, after survival mode has hit.


trailer park life

you know you live in a trailer park when...

you're driving out of the t-park at 7:45am and you see not one, or two, but SIX yellow school buses turn in to the trailer park within a three minute timespan. and at this point, you determine that at least four people in your trailer park are school bus drivers by trade.

i'm sure there are more.


trailer park life

you know you live in a trailer park when...

the initials for trailer park are T.P.

i mean, seriously.


this week, i have found myself in tears multiple times. it's hard to describe the sorrow i have felt for two beautiful families whom i hardly know. and the sadness i feel thinking of two wonderful lives ending.

jobin's [my brother-in-law] mom died early this week. i only had the pleasure of meeting lilly twice in my life, but she was such an inspiring woman. she truly lead her life humbly, serving others to the fullest of her extent. she was beautiful and wise and everyone that knew her well didn't hesitate to give her all the respect and honor she deserved.

eli horn was a precious almost-eight-year-old boy who died this morning. i had never met him, but his family attended cornerstone church in ames before they moved to a variety of treatment locations for eli. the community in ames and beyond that has gathered around this family since 2007 has been nothing short of a true church.

it may seem silly that i am so heartbroken over two people i don't know, but the body of Christ has bonded us together. lilly is my sister and eli is my brother in Christ. i feel more connected with them than i do many others in this world. i weep at the thought of them being gone from this earth, it's so upsetting to think of the feelings of those closest to them.

i'm thankful these two souls are with their Creator. i'm thankful i'll meet them in heaven, and know them even better when we're there together. i'm thankful that our God is rejoicing in them joining Him, but also comforting those of us left on this earth.

i just felt the need to share these stories on here today. it feels so strange that the whole world isn't stopped right now.

so, to lilly and eli, i can't wait to meet you in heaven!


haiku tuesday

frosty air and lips
snow in the air and my hair
winter has found us


trailer park life: the good life

you know you live you're a blogger in a trailer park when...

the answer is always YES.


haiku tuesday

sometimes i ponder
story lines fly through my mind
what will we become?


trailer park life

you know you live in a trailer park precinct when...

you hear this quote about newt gingerich at your caucus:

"some people say he's an s.o.b. but i say you gotta be one to deal with 'em"

thanks, alicia, for the inspiration!


crafty christmas: herringbone cowl+how to block your knitwork

i found this lovely pattern on one of the best knitting blogs: the purl bee. if you knit, you probably need to make it your new year's resolution to make absolutely everything on their blog. seriously.

as soon as i saw it, i knew i wanted to make it for my sister-in-law, valerie. it just reminded me of her.

seeing as i was going to have to learn a new stitch, and this scarf is HUGE, i got started in early november. i did not anticipate that it would take me forever to complete it. sheesh. consider yourself warned, this thing is huge, and harder to knit than most projects i've completed. it took me three weeks and i was knitting it every time my hands were free. by the time i was ready to cast-off, i actually forgot how to cast-off, ha.

after i figured out how to cast-off [which is a little funky with this pattern anyway], i tried it on, and it was too small. and i was all, "whhhaaaaatttt?!? this thing did not just take me three weeks to knit only be too small." i followed the pattern exactly, so it was a little frustrating.

it was at this point that i remembered the most magical thing you can do to you knitting: blocking. i had never blocked anything before, but i had heard that this extra step can make all your knits look uniform and perfect and it can help shape your work as well. and since i needed all of those things for this piece, i decided to go for it.

i googled how to block knitwork and most websites instructed the following:

  1. dampen the work with cold water
  2. lay out on a towel
  3. use t-pins to shape the work
  4. let dry completely
once it's completely dry, the knitwork keeps the shape you want it to. 

in true lisagrace style though, i came up with my own way of blocking. : ) mostly because i really needed this scarf to be stretched out. because this was an infinity scarf, i hung it [dampened] on the rod i have over our washer and dryer. i safety-pinned the sides together so that it wouldn't curl as much and i stuck my rolling pin through the bottom to make it nice and stretched. 

it worked like a charm! as soon as it dried completely, which took about 24 hours, it looked great and was stretched out perfectly! 

so there you have it! and if you're wondering if all of this was worth it, i would like to officially reassure you that it absolutely was. i loved giving this to my sister-in-law! and i loved the learning process, too!

disclaimer about this herringbone stitch: this stitch is way easier to do in the round. i think it's possible to do on straight knitting, but i don't know how.


crafty christmas: cable knit scarf

i was knitting the cabled infinity scarf i showed you yesterday over thanksgiving break while we were in ames. my mom saw it and was all like, "i want one!" at this point in my life, i do whatever my mom wants me to. and i didn't have a gift idea for my mom yet so it worked out well.

after we got back to iowa city, i went to the yarn shop and looked around for white yarn. there was nothing good. i found this absolutely beautiful mirasol yarn that was a merino, alpaca and silk blend. as i worked with it, it would change from light gray to bluish silver to silvery gray. i fell in love with it and bought four skeins.

i used the same basic pattern, but cabled 6 stitches instead of 8.

you'll need:
us size 15 needles
thicker yarn for size 13-15 needles
bigger cabling needle
tapestry needle for weaving in ends


cast on 24 stitches
r1 [back]: slip first stitch*, p6, k2, p6, k2, p6, p*
[*on every row, you'll always slip the first stitch and purl the last one]
r2 [front]: slip first stitch, k6, p2, k6, p2, k6, p
r3: slip first stitch, p6, k2, p6, k2, p6, p
r4: slip first stitch, cf6, p2, cf6, p2, cf6, p

main pattern:
r5 [back]: slip first stitch*, p6, k2, p6, k2, p6, p*
[*on every row, you'll always slip the first stitch and purl the last one]
r6 [front]: slip first stitch, k6, p2, k6, p2, k6, p
r7: slip first stitch, p6, k2, p6, k2, p6, p
r8: slip first stitch, k6, p2, k6, p2, k6, p
r9: slip first stitch, p6, k2, p6, k2, p6, p
r10: slip first stitch, k6, p2, k6, p2, k6, p
r11: slip first stitch, p6, k2, p6, k2, p6, p
r12: slip first stitch, cf6, p2, cf6, p2, cf6, p

repeat the main pattern until you've reached your desired length. when you're getting ready to cast off, stop after row 8, and then cast off.

happy knitting!


crafty christmas: cabled infinity scarf

inspired by this pattern, i decided to knit this for my mother-in-law. i saw this beautiful green yarn in my favorite little yarn shop and knew it was the perfect color. it was yarn for size 8 needles, so i held two strands together and knitted on size 15 needles. i basically changed the original pattern completely, simplifying it and making it more of an infinity scarf than a cowl.

this is one of my first attempts at writing out a knitting pattern, so please let me know if you have any questions!

you'll need:
us size 15 needles
thicker yarn for size 13-15 needles [or you can hold two strands together like i did]
bigger cabling needle
tapestry needle for weaving in ends and kitchener stitch

cabled infinity scarf pattern

cast on 30 stitches
r1 [back]: slip first stitch*, p8, k2, p8, k2, p8, p*
[*on every row, you'll always slip the first stitch and purl the last one]
r2 [front]: slip first stitch, k8, p2, k8, p2, k8, p
r3: slip first stitch, p8, k2, p8, k2, p8, p
r4: slip first stitch, cf8, p2, cf8, p2, cf8, p

main pattern:
r5 [back]: slip first stitch*, p8, k2, p8, k2, p8, p*
[*on every row, you'll always slip the first stitch and purl the last one]
r6 [front]: slip first stitch, k8, p2, k8, p2, k8, p
r7: slip first stitch, p8, k2, p8, k2, p8, p
r8: slip first stitch, k8, p2, k8, p2, k8, p
r9: slip first stitch, p8, k2, p8, k2, p8, p
r10: slip first stitch, k8, p2, k8, p2, k8, p
r11: slip first stitch, p8, k2, p8, k2, p8, p
r12: slip first stitch, cf8, p2, cf8, p2, cf8, p

repeat the main pattern until you've reached your desired length. when you're getting ready to cast off, stop after row 8, and then cast off.

use the kitchener stitch [there are great tutorials on youtube, here's one that i've used] to graft your work into an infinity scarf and give to someone you love, or keep your beautiful scarf for yourself!

happy knitting!


crafty christmas: reduce paper waste and reuse paper bags

i usually do a little shopping the day after christmas and get all the wrapping paper i'm going to need for the next year. but after having the same couple rolls of wrapping paper for three years, i realized my wrapping paper needs weren't as great as i thought. so i thought about it, and decided to use up the last bit of my wrapping paper and then stick to the three r's principle.

the stronger force behind this post though is that i live in iowa city now and the entire city will judge me if i don't reduce, reuse and recycle. just call me a people pleaser.

i think i should thank pinterest as another contributor to this idea, because i saw so many classy pins of kraft paper wrapped presents.

combining the powers of the three r's and pinterest, i believe that i made the ideas i saw even better by making this little project free and eco-friendly. [on a braggy side-note: my friend kaylee and i were just talking how we are the best at making ideas we find on pinterest even better]

i started asking for paper bags instead of plastic at the grocery store [who has too many plastic bags? i do!] in early november. i folded the bottom up and stored them flat. when i started wrapping presents i simply cut the paper bags like this:
are you wondering about the print that is usually on the outside of grocery bags? well, i've never seen one with print on the inside! flip that sucker over and you've got yourself some free kraft paper.

i doodled the names with a sharpie and used my gray industrial thread again. the cute bags in the first photo are also reused from home-ec workshop where i get my yarn.

speaking of yarn, stay tuned for pictures and patterns of my christmas knitting projects!

happy krafting! [pun absolutely intended]


crafty christmas: show off your christmas cards

i know i'm not the first person ever to do this, but it is darn cute so i thought i'd share.

do you have a bunch of christmas cards sitting in a pile? i did until a few days ago. we got back from seattle and opened the majority of said cards, and i put them in a pile with the rest of the mail.

i LOVE getting christmas letters and cards. when i was a young girl i would sit and read every single christmas letter that my parents got. i didn't know half the people, but i read them anyway. i actually think my first sure sign of adulthood was when i received my first christmas letter addressed to me at my own house.

and while i cherish these letters, they still end up sitting in a pile for a long time. and as my fridge is rather crowded, i can't put them there either.

SO, staple gun in hand, and armed with gagillion feet of gray industrial thread, i fashioned for myself a "picturesline" [as opposed to a clothesline] in my kitchen. i used the same clothespins that i hang my clothes with in the summer, so this little project was completely free, just the way i like it.

plus, this project gives me:

a lovely way to show off my friends
a classy look
a little bit more happiness and love in my kitchen

i'm satisfied!