1/2 Hour Knitting

Last week I received brand new knitting yarn in the mail. I love its soft texture and the muted colors. I’ve started using it to knit a sweater for my soon to be one year old son.  A part of me feels guilty for not having completed a knitting project for him. The other part of me feels like I’m being too hard on myself. (I’m leaning towards the “being too hard on myself” category!)

I enjoy knitting. I first grew interested in the craft at eight years old. As a youngun’, I checked a knitting book out of the library, bought some yarn and needles and made a simple scarf. In the years since then, I let my knitting fall by the wayside. I recently picked it up again in 2008.

Now, it’s an obsession. Well, not exactly an obsession but the mechanical activity of knitting stitches calms my mind and soothes my spirit. It’s a great way for me to focus, especially when most of my days are filled with juggling multiple tasks at home. When a long stretch of time passed without picking up my knitting stash, I found myself missing my hobby. So, I’ve decided to carve out a half hour a day, six days a week, to knit. That may not seem like a lot but it totals up to three hours a week. Over the course of a year, I can complete a lot of knitting projects with three hours a week. I just needed to stop thinking about the “bigness” of the project and break it down into smaller, more reasonable increments of time. Increments which would fit a busy mother’s lifestyle.

Is there a project that seems overwhelming for you to accomplish? Try breaking it down into smaller time increments. Even fifteen minutes a day can make a great impact. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish as you consistently work at the project in tiny chunks of time.

Every so often, I’ll post pictures and updates on the progress of my knitting projects: starting with this baby sweater. Right now, I have a fresh stash of yarn. I’m excited to see what a half an hour a day can produce.

The Gratitude Journal

Last year, I got our family started on a Gratitude Journal. I decided we should keep one after reading about the physical and psychological benefits of practicing gratitude. A Gratitude Journal proves helpful in many ways. It challenges the idea of having a “set point” for happiness. Meaning, all humans have a perceived level of contentment they believe they deserve. Some people believe they deserve a lot of happiness. Others, not so much. Keeping a Gratitude Journal challenges our perceived notions of self worth.

I can attest to this. Keeping a Gratitude Journal has taught me a lot, especially when I have a particularly rough day of motherhood, wifehood, writerhood…lifehood! Whenever I have had a bad day, my wonderful husband opens the Gratitude Journal and asks me what I’m grateful for – and then I have to think.

Hard.

(I forgot to add, one of our “rules” for the Gratitude Journal is we have to say something we are grateful for in the past twenty four hours. So we can’t say general things like “I’m so grateful for my family..or my house..or for my salvation.”)

Like I said, I have to think hard…challenging my own “set level of contentment.”

So, after wracking my brain, I say something simple like: “I’m thankful for seeing our son smiling today.”

Or: “I’m thankful for the sunlight streaming through the kitchen window this morning.”

Or: “I’m thankful for my husband helping me out with the dishes today.”

It’s at this point I realize those things aren’t so simple. They are wonderful gifts which indicate a few things. First, my child is happy and I’m able to witness his joy. Second, I’m alive and able to enjoy God’s creation. Third, I’m blessed with a supportive, loving husband.

Not such a bad day after all.

When the laundry and the dishes and the screaming babies and the dust make you want to crawl back in bed and wait for tomorrow to show up, give thanks..in everything.

(And write it down!)

The Literary Mama’s Bookshelf

Winners get to choose novels from this list. It will be updated regularly.

The Chic Shall Inherit the Earth by Shelly Adina (YA)

Final Touch by Brandilyn Collins (YA)

The Pirate Queen by Patricia Hickman (Women’s Fiction)

Pure Serendipity by Becky Melby and Cathy Wienke (Heartsong Presents)

Almost Forever by Deborah Raney (Women’s Fiction)

The Weight of Shadows by Alison Strobel (Women’s Fiction)

Plain Perfect by Beth Wiseman (Contemporary Amish Romance)