A Squadron of Knitters and Readers

foefrontI guess one of the best ways that I can always be pushing forward, to find some safety, to build a dream, that I can help my little family, is to always be promoting my books. We sold a good ten copies of “FOE” coming out of the great. I find that respectable. Of course, The New York Times isn’t going to be taking a look at me anytime soon, but that’s fine. In this new world of online media and grass roots efforts, we don’t need the big guys to approve of the little guys like me anymore. We just build our little squadrons of loyal readers until someone up in the mainstream building takes a peek down and asks, “Who is that guy?” So, while working hard on some much delayed bears, I focus my attention now on promoting my books, while I get caught up, then I can go back to knitting up new bears to be adopted and loved.

willknitcoversmallI really like these two books of mine. I really do. I think it’s some of my best writing. I have to say I’m proud of both “Foe” and “Will Knit For Food,” because I think it’s beautifully written and painfully honest. It’s as if I wrote those books with only one person in mind to read them: myself. I have a lot to learn, and I love watching the path of life turn, tumble, then level, and that, I feel, is what my writing is all about. A catalog of emotions and events that are recorded, then sent back to anyone whom might wish to follow.

I’ve put my books on sale so we can get a little more 10 sold before the end of the month. I think a million copies would be delightful:), but I think the fact the are being read is what gives me greater pleasure. Cheers! Read on!

If you appreciate this blog and would like for it continue, please donate. Every single bit helps.

 

vlcsnap-2016-02-23-20h57m24s717

Life is Better With a Dream

I just wanted to take a moment before settling in this Saturday night. Yes, it’s just shy of 6:30pm, but we’re headed to settle. I’ve had a long bath, in my pajamas, we’re going to watch a film, nibble on our famous tortizzas (that’s a great blog, you should read that one), and dream before a televised screen of greater things to come. Last Saturday we watched “A Room With a View,” (hey, it’s Spring, it’s E.M. Forster time), and decided we would name our little place in the country, should we ever get it, “Honeychurch.”

Can you not see me, knitting against a crepe myrtle, down wind of jasmine, shaded by a light pink bougainvillea, the thick grass and wild weeds as my cushion; the dampened air alight with the sun, bees swarm through the early buds of spring, shy to those glare upon them; winged things dance atop the sharp blades of stems, and you steady your gaze, asking, “Is that a pixie?” Strolling out of the thick brush comes Mario, languidly sliding through the grass as the little leopard she is, to rest beside me. I sit down my needles, soften my eyes, pull my ball cap down, my hands then rest on chest, as I feel the warm of the air, smell the fragrant hint of citrus blooms, and hear the rustle of a busy oak in the distance, bowing down, saluting up, bustling in his stand against the wind. And I fall asleep, I fall away….

Yes, I see myself there.:)

But, as I started this blog, I wanted to take a moment before settling in to thank you for that dream. You’ve all been so kind to Phillip and me. I don’t think I would have that dream were it not because of you. You give me hope that one day I’ll be there, I’ll make it. You give my dream the depth and possibility that I never would have thought possible. So, I cannot thank you enough for allowing me to dream, to hope for better things. You’ve been so kind and I am so grateful. You’ve all been so supportive of me. And who would have thought these little words I type quickly across a screen would have brought so much joy? So many connections, so many new friends, so many well wishes, and hopes for health….So many beautiful lives in my life. Who knew that’s what I would have been blessed with? So many beautiful lives in my life.

We’ll get to Honeychurch one day. We will. Because we have a dream, you, Phillip, me, (all of us!) and a dream is but the birth of visualized hope.

Thank you, again, all of you for the dream.:) Life is better with a dream.

vlcsnap-2016-02-23-20h57m24s717

If you appreciate this blog and would like for it continue, please donate. Every single bit helps.

 

 

The Distraction of Hope

I haven’t written a blog in 10 days. Sorry about that. I’ve been in some pain, and pain can be distracting. It can drive your focus to that and only that. Pain. I’d be knitting and focus hard, VERY HARD, on the counting of rows, on the complexities of increasing and decreasing.I was trying to distract myself and it would work….somewhat.

In the middle of a bad day of pain, Phillip and I were discussing getting married. When? How?

Easy. Phillip suggested we get married on the 22nd of September. It’s the Autumnal Equinox, when there is both exact amount of sunlight and darkness. Balance. Nothing is greater than the other. Equality.

I thought that was sweet, kind, thoughtful. So, our day at the courthouse will be on the 22nd of September. Now, there won’t be a ceremony, just the two of us exchanging our sacred vow of, “I promise to be with you as long as you want me!” (It’s a joke between us :))

However, we are going to have a little reception that following Saturday. Nothing fancy, just blue jeans, boots, beer and barbecue in the little strip of grass next to our apartment where we’ve been growing our garden. We’ve invited a few members of our friends and family community. And you know what? The moment we had it settled and decided, I was so focused on the future, so greatly smiling over hope, that my body didn’t hurt so much anymore. Hope distracted me from the pain, and I have to say, I haven’t felt better in a long time. I kept thinking, soon, on a cool day in September, that garden will be filled with people wishing us well.

I picked up my knitting needles, went out to the garden, sat among the green and felt better, working up hope in the shape of teddy bears, working up hope in my books, and in the form of tomato plants and green beans, in the form of the best relationship  I’ve ever had that needed very little work, with wishes for a little plot of land for ourselves, that my work brings me peace, and that whatever I learn about the world, how ever I may feel, that my spirit is always lifted with the distraction of hope.

If you appreciate this blog and would like for it continue, please donate. Every single bit helps.

 

And Hope Grows a Garden….

In an effort to finish getting rent paid, I worked up a couple of bears with some yarn that had been donated to me. I know I have some outstanding orders, but I still need to have funds coming in to pay off my monthly bills, plus my tax bill. But, don’t worry. As long as I’m knitting, we’ll survive another month. And as long as we survive another month, everyone’s bears will get to them in time. I’m sorry I’m late with some of them, but my energy level isn’t what it once was. (Hence why I’m trying to push my written stuff as much as possible). But, I’m still working hard on this end.

foefrontSo, If I get these new bears new homes and sell 20 copies of the re-issue of my first book, “FOE,” we’ll be ok. And hopefully, the sooner the better (it’s already the 4th of the month).

I’m sorry I’m not as eloquent as I usually am with this blog. I’m a little tired today. I stayed up waiting for Phillip to come home from work so I could spend some time with him, but I still ended up waking at my usual time.

So, my brain is a little off today. And a little stressed. But, somehow stress has become a constant in our lives. But, it does not drain us too much. We keep our heads high, knowing this situation of ours isn’t forever, just for now. One day we will have our little one room house in the quiet of the country, feed off the land.

IMG_2606As a matter of fact, I should show you some pictures I took of Phillip’s garden. See, in order to save money, we’ve been growing some of our own food in the strip of grass next to our apartment building. He grew the garden in pickle buckets Phillip snagged from work, for we didn’t want to harm the property, and so they could be moved if someone objected.

IMG_2607So far, we’ve had cucumbers, beans, tomatoes, onions. A few squash are starting to grow, and an eggplant is starting to peek out of it’s bloom.

IMG_2611The other day, I grabbed a few of those tomatoes and made a homemade chunky marinara complete with fresh basil. All grown for free. Well, the seeds were bought at the dollar store, 4 packs for a dollar, which is pretty close to free.

So, yes, we do look forward to when we’re no longer financially strapped, resting in the tall grass of a quiet place away from the aggression of mankind that we’re just not fond of. But, this is where we are now, this is our current situation and we make the most of it by staying optimistic and enjoying our hopes for the future not as if a dream, but as a solid plan.

We see a lot of hope in our future in that little garden.

If you appreciate this blog and would like for it continue, please donate. Every single bit helps.

 

 

A Different Kind of Knitter

I know I’m a different kind of knitter.

I received a message a few days ago asking when I would go back to talking about knitting.

Hmm.

I understand the reason for that question, but my own personal reasoning for writing about knitting has always been about something more interior. This isn’t a blog that you read to learn about stitches, but where you learn where those stitches can take you, emotionally and spiritually. I believe that.

You see, the action is one thing, the purpose and intention of that action is completely different. That’s why I always say knitters are the kindest of people because they’re always making things for someone else, or why I comment on how knitters tend to be calmer because they have that quiet space while they are counting out rows. Or why knitters are more complex people because the stitches they are working often mirror what their soul’s are trying to tell them. (Gauge too tight…..too stressed. Gauge too loose, uninspired and a bit bored.)

So, I’ve never really discussed stitches on this blog, but rather, where that stitch can take you….if you listen, if you open yourself to quiet, if you believe that what you are making in your hands now is of some beautiful benefit to someone in need. Those are the conversations you get when you come to this blog.

You can teach someone to knit….or you can inspire them to knit.

You shouldn’t be surprised if you read, “While I was knitting a thought crossed my mind,” or even better, “This life of mine would not have been saved had it not been for a knit and purl.”

Closer to dawn I find myself knitting best; it’s where a new day begins….a new project. All behind you is erased, yesterday is over….now, what good things can you strive for with your stitches, your actions, today? Yes, I believe that, and love to break from sleep early in the morning to greet the sun, to watch it tenderly rise and then burst into promising brilliance….all while knitting rounds from one bamboo needle to another, knowing that I appreciate the return of the light, the promise of a new day, because of my knitting and what it has taught me.

A knitter’s soul is a little different: it recognizes and promotes tolerance, patience, giving. It’s just who we are. We create for others to keep them warm, to shield them from harm, to welcome them into the world, or to show we love them.

Knitting taught me something about patience and correction, self confidence, and completion. Too many projects get tossed to the side and never finished, don’t they? A little bit about our hopes in life, isn’t it?

So, yes, this blog is a bit more on the spiritual side of knitting, rather than the physical. It is through my craft that I learned something special about what we do with our actions and how it affects others.

I will talk more about knitting, yes….but in a different way.

A lot of people ask about my monastery days, my references to monks. In my 20’s I went on a strange spiritual journey all brought about because of a terrifying nightmare I had while sleeping on the beach in Key West. That was a terrible time in my life. I was trying to die. Slowly.

But, then, something miraculous happened. Because of that painful nightmare I started to question, ask, search….and after much pain, I started hoping, and loving, and enjoying….and living.

In 2006 I wrote about that experience for myself, through diaries I had kept. It hasn’t been in print for a while, so I decided to publish it again. Because it reminds me of how someone is first born physically to the world, then to the intellectual society around them, then with some hope, to the knowledge of their soul.

foefrontSo, if you’d like to read “FOE” (and I do so hope you’d like to)  you can click here, or on the photo. I’m calling it an Anniversary Edition because it has been 10 years since the guide post of my path was laid. If you liked “Will Knit For Food,” then I’m sure you will truly enjoy “FOE.” Consider it a prequel.

“FOE” is hard in the beginning, dark….but then comes the light and it ends with the great moment of truth, this wonderful feeling of belonging to the human community, to this moment where I finally did it, I finally turned to the moments of my dark past and said,”……

well, I guess you’ll just have to read to find out.

 

If you appreciate this blog and would like for it continue, please donate. Every single bit helps.

 

hqdefault

In the Presence of Purpose

Among my heroes are three: E.M. Forster, Thomas Merton, and Mother Angelica. I want to write like E.M. Forster, think like Thomas Merton, and build like Mother Angelica.

hqdefaultAs some of you may know, Mother Angelica passed away Easter Sunday. If you’re not familiar with who she is, just do a search on her name.

I remember in the 90’s finding her program and watching it often. Now, this was at the same time I was finding my own spiritual path, and making strides to become a monk. And even now I watch her shows again on youtube often. (Click here to see one of her shows).

Do I sadden on the passing of Mother Angelica? No. I thought she was a remarkable woman. I adored hearing her, watching her. She brought me a great sense of relief when my soul was confused. She was charismatic and fun. She was maternal and kind, but feisty and chiding. The dear woman had a long life of purpose.

You can learn a lot from a nun.

She made many a discussion on purpose. Her’s? To build a monastery in the Southern United States (no, not a grammatical error. I’m a Southern boy, I have to capitalize Southern). Her entire purpose was just to simply erect a place of monastic refuge and prayer in the middle of nowhere. And it grew to so much larger than that. It became a television station, a network (EWTN), a go-to for Catholics. And all because she set her purpose on doing something of benefit. For the homebound, let them find a way to have Mass, and never be disconnected from the Church.

I live a life a bit separate from my contemporaries. I understand that. I don’t go out in public often, and when I do, it’s quite early in the morning. But, in passing people I see far too many eyes glazed with self driven moments, self obsessed reactions to simple things. Anger has begun to erupt quickly in people.

It’s amazing what you see on the faces of people who are tired of looking at other people’s faces: vacancy, disregard, trouble, a dismissal of who they are, and transplanted with who they want to be, or rather, what they want, rather than what they give.

I was thinking about when someone tells you, “It’s my job, it’s not who I am.” Well, why not? Why aren’t you taking every moment to express who you are in a most important and positive way? Why shouldn’t you take every action of your day and express with gratitude who you are, and what you’re leaving the world?

I know why….because the world has expressed in recent days that the purpose of life is not what you give to the world, but what you can get from it instead.

I have to remark that the moment that happened was when boys stopped becoming men. When women decided virtue was outdated. When children and dependents were check-marked on an application to be no older than “26.” When people found it normal to pass one another staring down at their phones, rather than up at the clouds…..on their backs, in the grass in spring, holding hands, saying nothing, observing the world as it turned….and sighing at how beautiful it all is.

This turn towards “take” took its place when no one was responsible for anything any more. Not even their own purpose. This turn towards “take” took hold when we forgot that purpose was not needing something, but giving something.

All our great technical, medical, and even spiritual advancements as people came from minds who wanted to give something to the world to make it better, easier. And somehow that all seeped to drip into a slow slap of extinction with the advent of the duck-lipped selfie, and the ill tempered Yelp review.

“I need to say something,” is a manner of saying, “I have a purpose. I matter. I exist.”

(A wise man once said, “Say nothing.”)

Purpose isn’t something you’ve said, it’s what you’ve done. How you reacted and behaved in moments NOT to be of your liking. I didn’t like that polio disease, so I’m going to do what I can to get rid of it. I don’t care for this homeless problem, so I’m going to do something about it. Cancer is a horrid sickness, and I want to make sure I put my efforts and energy into it.

And we all benefit from purpose.  We are all much better in the presence of purpose.

When I was at the monastery I noticed that most of the monks would pass in their 80’s and 90’s. And the ones that were still alive had the presence of something beautiful and youthful on their face. It was joyous. Spectacular. And most seemed as young as I (at that time in my 20’s). For years and years I have tried to precisely specify what that was. It was only recently that I realized it was purpose. 

You can learn a lot from a monk.

Every action that they made, every step they took, every interaction they encountered was met with a single idea: beneficial purpose. And let’s not forget that all of these things are done selflessly. Useless to us. But, of benefit to others. And being in the presence of purpose is to be in your own, being mindful of what benefit you offer, what goodness you leave in your tread, what smiles you leave in memory, what exalting, laughing joy you leave in memory.

If my moments are catalogued in life for all the world to see, to enjoy, to experience with me, then I’d rather them be of purpose…

(and this is where Phillip and I discussed ending this piece with the line, “Quit bitching on the internet and do something useful with your life!”)

If you appreciate this blog and would like for it continue, please donate. Every single bit helps.

 

Soft as Marshmallow

IMG_2601I was blessed with this amazing box of yarn a few days ago. A sweet, wonderful soul donated a ton of some top notch yarn. My little cubbie stash is really starting to look professional.:)

 

IMG_2600Needing to gather funds, I set down to whip up one of the hand dyed, hand spun skeins and came up with this adorable bear, who is not quite lavender, not quite grey, but SOFT as a marshmallow. Really good stuff.

 

IMG_2596Now, the next bear isn’t quite done yet, because I’m waiting for some Polyfil to arrive today. So, as soon as it gets here, I’ll stuff him up and send him in the mail. But, since we need to get these funds gathered quite fast, I decided to go ahead and list him, since he is practically done. He’s made out of a really nice, varigated acrylic.

So, if you like either one of these bears, just click on the pic. Hopefully these two fellas with have homes today.

If you appreciate this blog and would like for it continue, please donate. Every single bit helps.