Monday, September 8, 2014

broken places.

My daughter sent me the most beautiful cups from Anthropologie. 
When I unwrapped them, the handle had cracked on the blue one.  I didn’t want to tell her so when she called I just focused on how much I liked them.

'But did they get there in one piece?' she asked for the second time. 
She’s very direct.
Her response was typical, 'Why didn’t you tell me in the first place?  I’ll get another one and bring it with me when I come!' 
And she did.
It’s sitting here now, full to the brim with coffee and cream and it’s beautiful. 

But after two days it developed a hairline crack.  I think Anthropologie needs to get their act together.  
But it won’t stop me from using it.

And the one with the broken handle?  I’ve planted it with grass seed and set it on the window sill…

After all, the most beautiful things have broken places.

gathering days.42

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

bubble man.

He stood at the edge of the pond in the early morning quiet, a battered white bucket at his feet.  Slowly he leaned down, dipped and straightened.  I watched as a bubble sailed from the rope he held, bounced twice across the surface and took flight.
Another followed.  So wide it would be the span of my arms if I could catch it—I couldn’t.

I should take a picture, I thought.  I could put it on Instagram.
But I just walked slower, and watched--and took another turn around the pond.

I could take a picture, I thought, and put it on Facebook.
But I didn’t.

‘They’re beautiful,’ I said instead.

The old man smiled.

I took another turn around the pond, watching color leap and bend and soar.

And let it soak into my spirit, tucked in the pocket of my soul.


Saturday, August 9, 2014

the summer dress.

The quintessential summer dress. 

It floats from the shoulders and it doesn't squish the waist,

gives room to explore...

and dream.

The pattern is from Oliver+S with one revision.  Instead of placing the front and back pattern piece on the fold as directed, I carried it all the way to the far side of the fabric and gathered in the difference under the yoke.  
This gives a lovely, airy quality to the dress that is cool on the hottest days.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

the outside place.

We were walking through the Cosmosphere when I read about one of the early astronauts and the trouble he had getting back into his capsule after finishing a task on its exterior.

'It was both physically and emotionally difficult to re-enter,' he said,'Physically because the suit had expanded; emotionally because it was so beautiful outside I could not bear to go back in.'

The capsule was his lifeblood for the moment, but was really only a vehicle winging him through space.  The world he yearned for, had worked toward, the summation of his life’s work was outside those walls.

It made me wonder how I define the walls of my world, drawing lines and making demands that shrink life, when the goodness of God is a vast place calling me outward.  It’s not a cramped little cell spinning me forward.

His goodness is the outside place.

The difference is that I can live out there in that beauty, and don’t have to come back in to the smallness I create in order to survive.

gathering days.45

Sunday, July 6, 2014

'Anne roamed through the pineland
 alleys in the park and, as she  said, let that great sweeping  wind blow the fogs out of her  soul.'

-Anne of the Island, 
 Lucy Maud Montgomery

Friday, July 4, 2014

I found you.

'I found you.'
I turned around to find a set of blue eyes peering from behind the kitchen chair.  He had wedged himself past the table and around the legs of grown-ups to the chair nearest me at the sink.

'I found you.'

I finished spinning the lettuce for salad, watching him play on the floor nearby, my thoughts whirling as I realized I don’t say it enough. 

I found you. 
There you are. 
More often what I say is, ‘Here I am.’

We all want to be found, to know that we are sought out and noticed.  That our presence is noted and a glorious addition to someone’s day.

There you are, I found you.  And I’m stopping just a minute to really see you today.  Because the world is better because you’re in it.

gathering days.38

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Love is holy because it is like grace--the worthiness of its object is never really what matters.

-Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

Sunday, May 25, 2014

a place to land.

My daughter-in-law wears her youngest wrapped tightly to her body with a long, black band.  And Dori is happy there. Sometimes on the front, sometimes in back; she's tucked near the heartbeat of her mom where the motion, voices, and chaos of what happens around her are secondary to the quiet port in which she's docked.

My grandson Luke likes to ride high on his dad's shoulders.  The view is different up there with branches to duck, tall people to encounter, balance to keep.  Every so often his hands reach down to grip the sides of his father's face--and settle back into his spot.

The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by Him, 
who shelters him all the day long; 
and he shall dwell between His shoulders.
Deut. 33:12

We grow up and take pride in walking solo.  But there is a place held for each of us, a port in the storm, a place to reach out and see that we're not alone.

...and he shall dwell between His shoulders.

Pulled closely to the heart of God.  
Held with care.


Saturday, May 24, 2014

little birds.

I'm a little obsessed with these birds right now.  I keep making them and giving them away.  

And making more...but now I'm behind.  I need to catch up with what I've given.

What's not to like?  An hour's worth of knitting and--voila!  A bird.  

Yes, the bathroom needs to be cleaned.  Yes, I should be working on that project.  But really, just one more bird... 


The birds have brought to mind one of my favorite bits from 
Emily D. 

     Hope is the thing with feathers-
  That perches on the soul-
  And sings the tune without the    words-
  And never stops-at all.
  ~Emily Dickinson

  So maybe I'm not knitting birds at all. Maybe they're just bits of hope.


  Pattern here: 
  Little Birds

Friday, May 23, 2014

broken things.

I like to watch things grow.

Granted, I don't have a garden in this aerie of an apartment, but the windowsill is wide and willing.

This morning I woke with the dark and sat in the quiet.  I was thinking about something that happened yesterday during Legal Aid Clinic.

A woman walked in.  She was kind and smiled when I asked how she was doing.  She took her papers and limped to a chair down the hall to fill them out.

She came back later and handed them to me, smiling again as she settled in the chair across from my desk, a glass of water cupped between her hands.  

The office was unusually quiet.  Not a sound from the smiling lady but I looked up from my work to see her there, a hand covering her face, her shoulders shaking.

She wasn't laughing.

Oh, I thought, Oh no.

At that moment the attorney came around the corner to call her name. Quickly she wiped her tears and smiled as she limped to meet the woman who asked, 'Your leg, are you hurt?'

'It's only what my husband did to me,' she replied.

When she was finished she came back past my desk.  She stopped to talk and asked if we could pray.  

In a quiet corner we met Jesus.  The One who understands the darkest of hidden things.

Lord Jesus...hold her fast.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

stitching in wool.

 I've started something new, something that is going to take a wonderfully long time to finish.  I like to get things done in a hurry, see the finish line and tie up all the loose ends (if you will) so I can start the next thing.

Ducks in a row.

This will not be that project.

This is going to take time and patience.  I have time, but very little patience (ask anyone who loves me enough to admit it).

One tree at a time.  Maybe a few leaves here and there.  A stream and a fish, maybe two.

It reminds of a little bit of the slow work of God. 


Tuesday, May 20, 2014


It was a grand day.  

A boy walked across the stage in cap and gown and I smiled, knowing he was no longer a boy. He hadn't been for a while really. I watched him laughing and smiling, solemn and sure in this rite of passage, college behind and rest of life stretching ahead. 

Behind my eyes, like a cloud blown in front of the sun, I saw the hard things of the past years overlay the joy.  For the briefest moment they were melded together; sorrow, loss, joy, pain and triumph--into one incomprehensible whole.

Then the picture cleared.  

Tears ran freely for gratefulness.  Not for the clearing of the image, but for the giving of it.

It isn't done of course.  We don't reach a place where we say, 'I've got this figured out, the work is finished.'  Only One could ever say that and really mean it, only One could say, 'It is finished' and see the work of God complete.

The work of Love.

The slow work of God which makes us whole.  

You have loved us first many times 
and every day and our whole life through.

When we wake up in the morning and turn our soul toward You-
You are the first--You have loved us first; 
if I rise and dawn and at the same second turn my soul toward you in prayer, You are the there ahead of me.

You have loved me first.

When I withdraw from the distractions of the day and turn my soul toward You, You are the first and thus forever.

And yet we always speak ungratefully as if You have loved us first only once.

~ Soren Kiekegaard

I watched him walk off stage and laugh with his brothers and sister and I was thankful.

For a work begun and a God who sticks.


Monday, May 19, 2014

looking out.

I love windows.  If I had my way the shades would be up and curtains drawn back every minute of every day.  

Of course one of us doesn't like the place to turn into a fish bowl at night-so down they go.

I like to drive past houses at dusk, see them lit from within like a stage ready for the players.  And sometimes you catch them, the players, reading in a chair, walking across the room, adjusting the flicker of the television. In just an eye's blink of time.

Bob thinks it's creepy.  That's probably why the shades go down.

I don't think it's creepy, I think it's interesting.  This, however, has been the source of some debate in the family at large.  But that's beside the point  

Windows are fascinating, they make me wonder about the stories going on behind the glass.  What joy or sorrow walked through that house today?

These windows are from Rome where my sister is working. I look through the glass, knowing that for one click of the camera I am seeing what she sees. 

The thing is, I want my soul to do the same. In those flashpoints of daily life, I want to step into seeing what my sister sees, my friend sees, to look through their windows. 

And let the snapshot grow into understanding, into compassion.   

You told me you couldn't see
a better day coming,
so I gave you my eyes.
-Braided Creek

- lindasinklings

Sunday, May 18, 2014

a sweater for S.

A sweater for the little girl who loves fruit, finished off by an Oliver+S Lazy Days Skirt. 

Patterns Here:

Lazy Days Skirt



Friday, April 11, 2014

be the candle.

One day I prayed a prayer, Lord, light a candle within that person over there, a small flame to warm the heart.  

I prayed that prayer and waited.  Somewhat impatiently.  

I prayed again, Lord, light a candle within--a flame of hope to warm and encourage.  And I waited.

Then I woke in the night, the prayer ready to be sent to heaven once more--when the answer came.

'You be the candle. You be a light.  Let another step into its glow and gain courage.'

And my prayer was changed.

Lord make me a candle.
Kindle a flame to warm the heart.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

early train.

We took the early train and watched as houses with elbow room slipped past and grew tight in the shoulders.  Pulled into the station and started to walk, looking for coffee, the first part of any adventure.  Starbucks was directly ahead--and a quirky French cafe with a community table on the corner.  

We chose quirky.  A place inviting conversation.  No hiding behind earphones in this spot.  It was filled with quiet talk, quiet introspection, reading, and belgian waffles.  

The coffee took me back to a tiny shop in my sister's town in Switzerland.  Strong, dark and rich. It said, 'Drink me, a cup at a time, but don't hurry.  I am not brewed for styrofoam.'

So we sat at an old wooden table, my daughter and I, on the beginning of this perfect day in Philadelphia.  

And I was thankful.

Here is the link just in case you find yourself on the same corner in need of a little civilization in the midst of chaos:

Le Pain Quotidien


Tuesday, March 25, 2014


two little birds...and more to come.  

I'm thinking a little flock of them should be hanging from twigs somewhere in the house.  
The pattern is here:
little birds

Friday, March 21, 2014

henri coulette.

Recipes are like poems,
they keep what kept us.
-Henri Coulette

Thursday, March 20, 2014

pink stuff.

'What's this pink stuff?'

I looked up from swiping my card at the register to the teenager bagging my groceries.  He held up a bottle, 'This pink-drink stuff, what is it?'

'It's grapefruit juice.'

'Yeah, I saw that - you mean like the same as the grapefruit you eat?'  

I nodded, 'Yes. Same as the grapefruit you eat.'  

I started bagging my own groceries while he digested this. Then, 'You need help out?' 

And I started to laugh.  'I think I've got it.'

...after all, I've had my grapefruit today.


herb cohen.

You and I do not see things as they are.
We see things as we are.
- Herb Cohen

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

pewter and lace.

a little lace.

I started this dress last year and it was a disaster.  The pattern just wouldn't come right no matter how I counted.  I finally ripped the whole thing out and found another pattern, something sweet and simple.

But this kept nagging at me, mostly because I was mad that I had given up on it. So I started again, armed with tons of stitch markers.  

It made all the difference in the world. A stitch marker for every repeat--and I mean every single one. The rest is cake.
And now it's blocked and I love it.

Love it enough that I'm making another for little D. who is just the right size.  

The pattern is found on Ravelry here:
Muti dress

Monday, March 17, 2014


My son is grown and has a four-year old boy of his own.  This evening I got a text that read, 'So...when we were kids and threw up over eating our vegetables, did you see that as a sickness to be merciful about?  Or just disobedience?  Hypothetically speaking of course...'

I wrote back, Are you asking me as a mother or a grammy?

He replied, 'I want the historically correct version.'

Time seems to alter history. I don't remember exactly why it seemed so important for the boys to sit in their chairs and eat their brocolli. But I think it boiled down to two basics; learning to try new things, and being polite. 

Years later we were invited to dinner at the house of an Indian gentleman who worked for Bob. His wife had created a beautiful and complex meal for us.  She served it and stood in the doorway, waiting on us while we ate. Our kids didn't know what to make of this.  They didn't know what to make of all the food on the table either. Except for the rice, it was all new to them.

I watched them pick up their forks and start eating.  They ate. And ate, not realizing that cleaning your plate was the signal you were ready for more--so they had to keep eating. 

They were splendid.    

They ate the brocolli.



Sunday, March 16, 2014

victor hugo.

The word which God has written 
on the brow of every man 
is Hope.
-Victor Hugo

Friday, March 14, 2014

sweater for A.

...and a tiny sweater to match.

after all, it's still a little chilly for short sleeves out east.
the arms will be warm though the toes are bare.
Find the pattern at Ravelry here:
Peek-a-Boo Cardigan

Monday, March 10, 2014

afternoon sun.

There were a great many thing to do today.  Important things, vital things.  
I went to the office and started them and just...couldn't.  Went home after 10 minutes and lay down with a fluffy pillow and blanket and a migraine that had won the day.

So many things to do-and they all had to wait.

Now in the quiet of late afternoon the sun is slanting through the window.  I look across the room and see a boy home from college sprawled on the sofa--sleeping.  
There's a breeze on my face on this winter-spring eve, a stolen joy that I wouldn't have but for a headache that put me to bed and left me with the energy of a snail.
And I'm thinking, is that such a bad thing after all?  To slow down enough that I sit in this patch of stained-glass sunlight and feel the breath of God brush my face.

I see the boy asleep across the room, and I'm thankful.


Saturday, March 8, 2014

birthday dress for A.

a birthday dress.

the front...

  the back.               


Love the back as much as the front, maybe more.
Pattern found here:
Oliver+S Family Reunion Dress

Little sweater to follow.

Friday, March 7, 2014

getting started - Family Reunion dress

So I sew.  

And this is what has taken hold of me - polka dots.  


Love them.  The pattern reminds me of the childrens's books,
Fun with Dick and Jane, with their sweet simplicity.  This one will have red buttons all the way down the back.


It was almost done, two buttonholes to go, when I ran out of thread.  
Ran to the store to buy more, ran home and put in the buttonholes.  
Cut the buttonholes and whiz-bang! Cut through the buttonholes.  

Not happy.

Spent the next two hours fixing them by hand.
I want it in the mail by Saturday so it will be done tonight, buttonholes,bloomers and all.

Not everything goes to plan.  

Oliver + S Family Reunion Dress

Saturday, March 1, 2014

looking in.

Today I heard three versions of the same story.  They were all true-but very different.  

I've never liked Rubic's Cube.  It frustrates me. You get two or three sides matched up, turn the cube and--voila! A chaos of mixed colors.  

My blocks, like my ducks, should be in a row.

There's something to be said for the way one simple turn can change everything.  What is mass chaos one minute can be ordered nine-block-yellow the next.  Just one block needs to move.

Three versions of the same story all true.  Sometimes one turn is all that's needed.  

A step back or off to the side.  A little higher or lower and things look different.

Truth stays unaltered.  
What we do with it comes from where we stand.


Friday, February 28, 2014

madeleine l'engle.

If it can be verified, we don't need faith...
Faith is for that which lies on the other side of reason.  Faith is what makes life bearable, with all its tragedies and ambiguities and sudden, startling joys.
- Madeleine L'Engle

Thursday, February 27, 2014

super heros.

 You know what I've been thinking about? I've been thinking about superheros.  Why?  I was working at a conference a couple weeks ago and it was thick with talk of them. 

I'm not much of a super-hero gal myself. Superman flies around in his underwear and Spiderman is, well my grandson dresses like Spiderman most days. Batman has his gadgets--and the rest of them seem to save humanity while breaking a lot of stuff. 

The speaker had gone through them all when he paused, swept the room in one wide glance and started talking about Wonder Woman--yes, Wonder Woman. Standing there with her lasso of truth.  

You know what I'm talking about, he said.  A woman who speaks the truth is a fearsome thing--an amazingly fearsome thing. 

I stood in the back corner of that room,clipboard in hand, and wondered, am I that woman?  Do I speak the truth, wrapped tightly in the love of God? 

I scanned the room myself, saw the faces of women reflect what was being said--and took it into my own heart.   

The thing is, Jesus never hedged. He spoke truth that went straight to the heart of the matter because love was at the root of it.  

Wendell Berry wrote:
I know that I have life only insofar as I have love.  
I have no love except it come from Thee.
Help me, please, to carry this candle against the wind.

I too, want to carry a candle against the wind.


Here is a link to Efrem Smith, conference speaker:

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


There is a twilight zone in our hearts that we ourselves cannot see. Even when we know quite a lot about ourselves-our gifts and weaknesses, our ambitions and aspirations, our motives and our drives-large parts of ourselves remain in the shadow of consciousness. 

This is a very good thing. We will always remain partially hidden to ourselves. Other people, especially those who love us, can often see our twilight zones better than we ourselves can. 

The way we are seen and understood by others is different from the way we see and understand ourselves. 

We will never fully know the significance of our presence in the lives of our friends. That's a grace, a grace that calls us not only to humility, but to a deep trust in those who love us. 

It is the twilight zones of our hearts where true friendships are born. 

~ Henri J.M. Nouwen

braided creek.

There are mornings when everything brims with promise, 
even my empty cup.
~ Braided Creek

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I have the most ill-regulated memory.  
It does those things which it ought not to do and leaves undone the things it ought to have done.  But it has not yet gone on strike altogether.
~Dorothy L. Sayers

Monday, February 24, 2014

There is a certain happiness in knitting to make someone warm. 

I made this hat a couple weeks ago and I think she looks like a little babushka nestled in her carseat.  She's far away in the Windy City--but her dad snapped this early this morning and it met me as I opened my computer.


I like to think I knit on purpose, that there's a method to the madness.  

William Morris wrote, Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.

Very rarely do I pick up the needles just to keep my hands busy. I pick them up to make something warm, something soft, something pretty.

My daughter gave me yellow galoshes for Christmas.  I love them.  The other day it rained and I wore them to work, expertly avoiding the puddles as I made my way across the street.  Bob took a picture of me, green raincoat, yellow boots and all.

And standing there I realized, Why am I circumnavigating the puddles? That's what these yellow boots are for--making a splash!

When I knit on purpose I make a splash, it spills over onto other people.  A hat, a sweater, a coffee cozy.  Someone feels remembered, maybe they're a little warmer inside.  

I know I am.  

These days there are fewer things lying about my house, but I love each one. Some you might look at and wonder why--that won't trouble me.  If I know it to be useful, or believe it to be beautiful...that is enough.

~ lindasinklings 

You can find the pattern for the little
'babushka hat' here:

Babushka Hat

Friday, February 21, 2014

She had long accepted the fact that happiness is like swallows in the spring.  

It may come and nest under your eaves or it may not. You cannot command it.  When you expect to be happy, you are not...

...and when you don't expect to be happy, there is suddenly Easter in your soul, though it be mid-winter.

~ Elizabeth Goudge

Saturday, February 8, 2014

All the darkness in the world 
cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.
- St. Francis

Friday, February 7, 2014

When I'm tired, crabby, or just frustrated, there are few things that pull me to center better than sticks and string.  

A long, lean pair of birch knitting needles and an especially fat ball of wool; this is the start of something.

I like having a project going and one waiting in the wings.  There's no hurry in it, no desperation to get it finished, just the quiet sense of something in the making.

A couple months ago I was at the kitchen window, remembering a kindness long past.  I had opened a drawer and the memory was there waiting for me, lying in wait the way the crackle of a candy wrapper puts you back in a shop,standing at the counter with a dime clutched in your hand--sometimes.

A woman had made my life easier when I was just a girl, bringing beauty to a chaotic corner.  I stood for a while, holding that drawer, and remembered.  

I wanted to do something but what if she thought it silly?  I hadn't seen her in years and years.  The drawer won over silly.  I got out needles and wool, made her a shawl, wrapped it, sent it, included a note and let it be.

I wanted her to know she had brought beauty into my life--and that I was thankful.

A few years ago I made a tiny coat for my grandson, wrapped it and sent it off.  Every stitch a prayer for his growing up years, thankfulness for his little life. 

It was a looking-forward coat. Would he be funny? Would he like to run fast? Would he be a poet, a thinker, a talker?  Most of all, what would he hold in his heart--

The coat was meant to keep him warm against the cold, the prayers to hold him fast.

If the coat was a prayer,
...the shawl was a blessing.


You can find the patterns here:
Duffle Coat
and here:
Sandy Cove

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Even idiots occasionally speak the truth accidentally.

- Dorothy L. Sayers

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Little Brown Hat

Just finished this hat for a very small boy in a very cold part of the country. 

He goes from pulling it over his face completely to perching it on top of his head in a gnome-like point. 

The pattern can be found on ravelry for free. The original website is no longer available, but a direct PDF download is available through an archived link:  

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

We were in Chicago, the whole group of us converged together were out in the woods.  My grandson was up ahead hiking with my daughter, I could see the play of conversation as his head bobbed back and forth with a story, squinting up to hear her reply.

She pointed at something and he nodded, his eyes serious, picking up the thread of talk as he dragged his sword-stick along the ground.

We came to fork in the path, and Will yelled back, 'Which way Dad?'

Knowing it came around as a loop, his dad said to the four-year old,
'Use your judgement Will.'

Frustrated Will turned to the group at large,  
'I can't do that, I don't know where that means, judgement!'

~ lindasinklings