Lately I’ve felt the immensity of the privilege of holding my two-year-old daughter in my arms.

I call her “baby”, but she’s not properly a baby any more.

What was once chubby and dense and swallowed by my arms now rests there jumpy and long, arms and legs spilling out and wrapping all the way around. Overflowing.

She’s all action and exuberance, but she still slows down, grinning, and lets me take her in my arms and rock her and say, “this is how I held you when you were a little baby” and then sing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.



We celebrated our 6 year anniversary this past weekend.

On your anniversary you’re supposed to write a sappy post about how you married your best friend and how you couldn’t imagine doing anything with anyone else.

Well, that’s true. I did marry my best friend and I can’t imagine life without him.

But mostly all I can think to write is that my marriage started hard and stayed hard for five years, and now it’s a lot better.

I’ve cried more than I’ve ever cried in my life, learned to love by sheer force of will without expecting consolation and kept my eyes on God.

That’s my blood there, smeared right across the page.

Those vows are serious business. Worth the trouble, too.

Good enough

Scrapped the original baby gnome hat and started another pattern.

The problem with the original pattern was that you had to knit it flat and then take it off the needles and sew a seam.

I run by the motto of good enough, and one of the rules that I’ve adopted for my life is that if I am going to knit up my own fabric, I’m bloody well not going to sew it together afterwards. Seamless or nothing, baby. Knit that hat in the round. I can barely manage to weave in ends afterward without complaint.

It’s probably a good thing that I live in Texas and don’t need sweaters.

Good enough knitter. Name it. Claim it.

Threads of grace

An atheist cousin of mine wondered recently about what could induce someone to turn from simple deism to Christianity and ultimately Catholicism.

It’s easier for me to describe the progression from Christianity to Catholicism than it is for me to describe the journey from a multifaceted “none” to Christianity. It was like a cast net spread flat in the surf, shifting under the sand and invisible and then suddenly pulled together by an unseen hand. It was like a million different threads converging to one, or a handful of single digits that add up to one perfect sum.

It wasn’t linear.

Confession line

Today I was fortunate enough to make it to the sacrament of reconciliation at a nearby parish.

I ducked in the door a few minutes after 4:30 and immediately encountered a long line composed mostly of people with gray hair.

As I stood in line I prayed the rosary and asked my favorite saints to pray for my courage. The line didn’t move much. I checked the time on my phone. Still, the line hadn’t moved. I prayed for everyone waiting with me to have courage as well and mentally documented the saints staring down at me through the stained glass windows. The line stubbornly stayed put.

I started fretting. Would I make it before the confession was over? I had a fairly weighty question I wanted to ask. Would I be able to ask it?! What do these people possibly have to confess that is taking so long? What do you confess when you’re 80 years old, what sin can you possibly have committed?

Then it occurred to me. Repeated exposure to the ocean of mercy in the sacrament has the power to change hearts. There is a recently vacated gnome sized hole in the land of boring indifferentism and there-is-no-such-thing-as-sin and clearly-I’m-a-good-person-I-haven’t-killed-anybody. I have felt my conscience sharpen since I was snatched away by baptism.

I recently asked my agnostic husband how often he would say he commits a sin and he replied, “maybe once a month.” That one made me chuckle, I admit.

It takes time and exposure to mercy to mold and strengthen the conscience.

Maybe after 70 years of being repeatedly reconciled to God you become keenly aware of any sin which separates you from him. What a trip.

A good pairing

I am now 7 rows and 539 stitches into a an overambitious baby gnome hat that seems to want to become a toddler gnome hat. As long as it fits somebody in this house.

Taking gauge would probably kill me.

As I knit I think of past projects.

I used often to knit while sitting in the car and listening to audiobooks, and then after library school finals when seeds of faith were planted, Mother Angelica. I remember that, “faith comes from hearing,” and the way the stitches calmed my anxious movements enough to slow down and listen and come gently, gently to know Christ.

Coffee and donuts and yarn and Mother Angelica and most of all, Jesus Christ.

Faith comes by hearing, especially hungry and non-defensive hearing, like desert sand open wide for rain.

Living water.

A Life Preserver.

These words are basically my life preserver.

I have been spending every day increasingly irritable, living life hopping from nap time to bed time. Today nap time didn’t happen as planned. I spent it helping my toddler poop in the correct receptacle (the potty) instead of the wrong receptacle (the pull up). By the time that was over and one with baby Cara started coughing and woke herself up. After 30 minutes.

In my irritation I looked down at myself. I hadn’t showered in days, hadn’t had much time alone, hadn’t brushed my teeth or fixed my hair into anything other than a messy bun. Hadn’t had the opportunity to be creative. I realized that I hadn’t cared for myself, and now the lapse was turning to desperation and transforming me into some gruff ogre of a mother who was holding on for dear life until naptime.

I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in almost a year.

I let baby cry for 10 minutes while I took a shower. God was in those droplets.

I scooped baby out of her temporary bed and brought her to the kitchen where I plopped her down and searched desperately for flour, sugar, anything to bake. We were out of flour. Next I grabbed a random skein of Red Heart and feverishly knit 40 stitches, joined them in the round and ripped them out again, feverishly trying to make something. Anything.

Clearly creativity needs to become a priority in my life again.

It seems like every time I make one thing a priority, something falls off the edge. Really, there must be a way to make room for all the things, but in proper proportion.

I oughta make baby a red gnome hat.