Last week I promised I would post the "words" part of my "Words and Wool" post. I'm finally getting a good opportunity to do that.
Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives by Richard Swenson hit the nail on the head with so many aspects of what life is like in our super-busy, information-age world. He spent the first quarter of the book diagnosing the problem and showing how crazy our lives have become all in the name of "progress." I found this part of the book a bit slow because I already agreed with him on this point.
However, in part 2 Swenson shifts his writing and gives us the prescription for finding margin -- specifically in the four areas mentioned above. Wow! I took pages and pages of notes and need to go back and condense what I wrote into something that I can go over and over.
Without even looking at my notes the sentence that comes to mind to distill this book down is: Margin is for and about relationships -- relationships with others, relationship with ourselves (our health, etc.), and our relationship with God.
Swenson talks about how to find and achieve margin in our lives and gives lots of practical ideas on how to make margin actually happen. I thought I could probably skim his part on finances because we already have and work with a budget. But I was wrong! He goes beyond that to talk about contentment, about learning to need less and less, about choosing a simple lifestyle. Very challenging!
Another key idea Swenson talks about is choosing not to excel in one area of life in order that you may not fail in any area of life (sometimes we excel so well at our job or our children or whatever but then end up failing our spouse or God, or something else). Swenson advocates choosing to do a relatively good job in every area rather than striving for super excellence in only one or two. This is not the message I got growing up but I think it is a healthier way. It does mean sacrificing but it also means not losing. Swenson says: Productivity is not wrong but it must not be idolized.
The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less by Barry Schwartz was another very helpful book. Schwartz describes the amazing overload of choice we are offered in every area of our life from buying jeans to choosing a coffee at Starbucks to finding a good deal on a new toaster. He shows how the plethora of choices adds to our crazy lives and saps energy from us as we take the time and energy to agonize over and choose between far too many things.
I particularly thought of this problem of too many decisions for those struggling with chronic illness. When you are not well you struggle with making decisions -- in fact they can become overwhelming. This book provided helpful wisdom on how to make the decision-making process a whole lot easier.
Once again the whole idea of simplicity and contentment comes into play (some of the same themes from the Margins book).
Some of Schwartz' ideas are:
-- choose when to choose -- "two options is my limit"
-- accept "good enough" rather than expending excessive energy to find "perfect" and always wondering if it really was "perfect"
-- thinking about the attractiveness of the unchosen will always spoil the satisfaction of the chosen
--control your expectations and reduce the number of options you consider
--curtail social comparison -- focus on what makes you happy, not on what others say makes them happy
--learn to love constraints: freedom of choice leads to tyranny of choice
The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness by Tim Keller is an excellent little book on thinking of yourself less (not thinking less of yourself). He discusses our present day infatuation with self-esteem and our own egos. He talks about identity and what our identity should be. He talks about how hard it is for us to stop thinking about what others must be thinking about us. In the Christian Gospel we get the verdict on who we are before we actually do anything. In the Gospel we are declared right with God not based on anything we do, but on the actions of Christ on our behalf on the cross. The verdict for Christians is in -- we are loved and accepted by God and because of this we can go and do things for the joy of doing them -- not so we will be loved and accepted by God or others. Keller explains it all so succinctly, nevertheless I have decided that I need to re-read this several times over in order to help the truths sink more deeply in.
Well, those are my book recommendations for today. Please note that this post contains affiliate links.
Monday, March 3, 2014
Thursday, February 27, 2014
A couple of months ago Christina came up with the great idea of going on a Yarn Crawl! A number of central Indiana yarn stores had organized the "Roving Indiana Yarn Crawl" and we jumped at the chance to participate!
Saturday morning we met at Christina's and got in the van to make our way to as many stores as possible. Those who weren't driving worked in their WIP's (works in progress).
Our first stop was Starstruck Cat Studio in Greenwood.
None of us had ever been to the store before.
Inside we found a large, bright store with lots of yarn -- we especially loved the wall of Cascade yarn.
How could I resist taking lots of photos.....
Wouldn't it be fun to have a wall like this at home -- ever ready for new projects?!
It was inspiring!!!
It was nice to have our very own knitwear designer and yarn guru on hand for all kinds of advice! I know we are spoiled!!!
Janet found a gorgeous skein of yarn to take home.
And of course I could not resist taking pictures of adorable Arthur at every turn!
I mean, how cute is that? He actually looks at the camera when his mom takes a picture of him?!
My favorite part about this store was the stacks of wool fabric they had for rug hooking. Ooooooo.....I do love wool fabric! In fact, I couldn't resist. I chose two pieces to bring home to make wool roses with.
I also couldn't resist buying a very reasonably priced rug hooking kit to make the cardinal below. I bought it for James who is always eager to try whatever new craft I spring on him. He was so excited that he already has half of it done!
Here is a bit of a "big view" of the store. Christina is going to type up a proper review of each place we stopped, but we all agreed this store had many great things going for it!
Next we headed south to Sheep Street in Martinsville, Indiana. What could be better than a yarn shop right in the middle of a sheep farm???
Inside we were greeted by the familiar sight of one of Christina's own patterns, helping to advertise the Alpaca with a Twist yarn that has its home here in Indianapolis! That was fun to find!
Then came the best discovery of my day -- an entire wall of Cotton Classic!!! This is the yarn I use to make all those baby hats and it has been nearly impossible to get for several years. I was about to give up any hope and you can't imagine how happy I was to find this wall. Even better -- the shop will ship FREE to any Indiana address. Yahoo!!! I am home free! I can keep knitting baby hats til kingdom come!
Sheep Street was a large shop -- and they had all kinds of spinning wheels and looms for sale as well as lots and lots of fiber to spin.
This was certainly a shop to revisit!
The owner demonstrates some of her blending techniques.
Christina couldn't resist a few lilac colored "batts" to spin -- especially since the price was so reasonable!
Outside the weather was unbelievable -- reaching nearly to 60 degrees which seemed almost impossible in the midst of our crazy winter. We had to visit the sheepies before we left....
Aw, they were too cute! (Almost as cute as Arthur!)
Back in the car, we headed to Bloomington and a shop called In a Yarn Basket.
The shop was smaller but filled cubbies of lovely yarn.
It is hard to resist yarn when it is so beautifully displayed! The shop was quite crowded (that picture is not shown) and I think this was the shop I didn't buy anything in but Janet and Christina picked out sock yarns.
While waiting on our lunch reservation in Bloomington we stopped into this baby store. What I couldn't get over was the sheer number of cloth diapers displayed in this place! Wow!
When our turn came we headed to Feast -- the most amazing little cafe I've been into since I don't know when! Of course I had to get some Arthur time in.
And Arthur had to get some eating time in! Such a sweet picture -- and that yellow kerchief of Christina's (her Daisy Chains pattern) was driving me crazy all day -- such a perfect color for spring and I definitely need one!!!! Not to mention that it goes so well with pale pink, and it also goes incredibly well with teal.........
When our lunches arrived we were in for a treat! Here is my burger on gluten free bread with the rosemary French fries.
And here is Janet's BLT with avocado, roasted tomatoes, goat cheese, lettuce, and bacon. Wow!
Honestly, it was one of the best burgers I've had. And look at those zucchini pickles on top! I was seriously impressed with this restaurant.
By this time we realized we had only time to hit one more store -- it would be the Clay Purl in Nashville, Indiana.
This store won the prize for warm and cozy feelings. And the owner was so lovely and friendly.
It was very inviting inside:
And the linen yarn was so pretty!
Being a fan of Susan B. Anderson, I was excited to see this entire version of Spud and Chloe on the Farm!
And it was very fun to discover that the owner's husband is a pastor and writes novels! I love it! I was a bit scared by the title (smile), but will have to read this one day......
We even made it home just as the last light of day was fading from the sky -- isn't it lovely that the days are getting longer? What a special day it was! Good fellowship, good food, and good yarn! Coming after a number of very difficult months health-wise, it was a huge breath of fresh air -- and the weather was that literally!
And look what I'm working on now:
I remembered I had some yellow sock yarn in my stash so I pulled it out and grabbed the Daisy Chains pattern and I'm making myself a spring neckerchief! Yellow was my favorite color when I was a little girl so it holds a special place in my heart. I don't wear it a lot, because most yellows don't look good on me, but I do love a bit of it here and there. And I love the yellow in this painting -- one of my very favorite paintings. It's a picture of my mom when she was a little girl and the colors in it go so well with the colors of my house (you can't see the wall behind it well but it is painted a light lilac). Everything about the picture is perfect for spring.....
Now I must save my books for a separate post because they were far too important this week to tag on the end here. So, hopefully tomorrow......
For more ideas on knitting and reading you can visit Ginny's Yarn a Long.