28 October 2011

Just Keep Knitting

If you follow this blog, you may have read Listen, posted in March of 2011. That was the beginning of my writing journey: I discovered that by telling the story of what had happened in my life, not just in my journal but posted out in the wide world where other people could read it, I felt better.

A lot better.

Not long afterwards, the outline for an entire book appeared in my head more or less out of the blue: all the chapters, the content, the shape of the tale. I know an important message when I hear one … so, I started writing.

I’ve been dealing with delayed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder since the early months of 2011. The anxiety, sleeplessness, and ongoing chest pains are the legacy of the chaos that took over my life when my first husband’s brain tumour took hold and turned him into a stranger with a familiar face. During and after his illness I had so much on my plate that I just kept on pushing through life: oh, I acknowledged that things were difficult and I did what I could to deal with the pain and loss and grief, but there wasn’t a lot of room in my life for that kind of work. I had a child to raise, bills to pay, a life to rebuild. The old troubles were tucked away in the hopes that time would heal the wounds without any further input from me.

Well, time alone didn’t do it, and in the past several months I have done a lot of work facing the old hurts and finding my way along the difficult road to forgiveness and healing. This book is the result of that work.

It is my hope that the story of my past, combined with the reflections on forgiveness, faith and fibre (knitting is indeed a healing art) will shine a light of hope so that perhaps, someday, there might be just enough light for someone else to find a way out of the dark.

Just Keep Knitting is expected to be available in early 2012—if you’d like to be notified of the official book release, just send us a note through the link on this page (or from here, if you prefer).

Until the books come out … just keep knitting!

18 October 2011

Prayers from a Healing Heart

You made me just the way I am, God, and You know me, and You love me anyway. You forgive me when I make mistakes, even when I have a hard time forgiving myself. You stand beside me when I am scared and hurting, even though sometimes I don't realize you are there. When I am afraid, when the old memories come back and I can’t breathe, when I can’t sleep at night because my chest is still aching, please help me to be compassionate towards my own feelings. Help me to sit with the old fear and the old pain, to tell the hurting part of me “I hear you, I know, it was scary back then, but it’s over now, and it is safe.”


God, please help me to forgive myself for being human and imperfect and in need - it's so hard. Jesus said "love your neighbour as yourself" and we need to hear that in both directions. If you would extend kindness to your neighbour but refuse the same kindness to yourself, well, you're still not getting it, right? There are a lot of things I’d do for a neighbour that I feel silly doing for myself. When I get like that, please remind me that you expect me to treat all of your creation well ... myself included.

09 October 2011

Too much applesauce

I made a lot of applesauce this year.

Lots of it was from the free crabapples we were given, and more was from the cheap apples I found at the store.

I discovered this awesome recipe for Applesauce Pie, and decided to give it a try. It works! It’s great!

It’s also easy. Make a pie crust. In a bowl, mix one cup of sweetened applesauce (I need to add a bit of sugar at pie-making time to most of my canned sauce to make it sweet enough) with one cup of milk and two eggs. Add a dash of salt, some nutmeg and some cinnamon and then pour the mix into the pie shell. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes then at 350 until the centre is firm. I sprinkled cinnamon and sugar over the surface of the finished pie when it was done and served it with whipping cream (because it is Thanksgiving and so of course I had to buy whipping cream for the pies).

I have a lot of fruit sauces – crabapples plain, apples plain, apples and crabapples both with peaches, apples with plums, apples with cherries. I am pretty positive they’ll all work well in this recipe (perhaps with the spices modified), as pie or as tarts for school lunches and snacks for those of us who spend our days at home.

I think the chocolate apple mousse has real possibilities here, too. Mmm, decadent. And if I decided to chocolify one of my existing sauces before making the pie, I’d just need to add some cocoa when I sweeten the sauce before adding to the other ingredients. Hmmmm … I sense some lovely tarts in my future!

What to do with all that jam

I made a lot of jam this year. Jelly, too, and applesauce – both plain and with other fruits mixed in.

There are only so many pieces of toast, waffles, and sandwiches in one’s life … what to do with all this jam and sauce?

The Reluctant Farmer and I were camping last week, enjoying the last fishing trip of the year. Sitting around the campfire, we decided to pull out the Pie Iron and make some post-supper snacks: biscuit dough wrapped around some leftover pie filling (store-bought stuff, used to decorate a birthday cake awhile back) and the chocolate apple mousse made lovely delicious baked treats. I thought hmm … is there a way to do this in the oven?

Sure enough, there is.

Make biscuit dough the way you usually do (when camping, I cheated and used Bisquick, but at home I just toss a cup or so of flour into a bowl, add a splash each of baking soda, baking powder and salt, maybe some sugar, then cut in about a quarter cup of lard and add enough of the kefir that I keep fermenting in the fridge to make it into dough – of course any form of soured milk would work in place of the kefir, but hey, this is one of the reasons I keep the stuff). Roll out on a floured board and cut circles with a big cup – I used a beer mug, but a large drinking glass would work. One of those itty bitty juice cups like you find in a hotel room will be too small.

Place one dough circle on the silicone mat you’ve laid onto a cookie sheet, and in the centre of the dough place a dollop of jam, chocolate apple mousse, apple sauce, mixed fruit sauce, pie filling, or whatever sweet yummy fairly thick substance you have at hand. Cover with another dough circle and smush the edges together with a fork dipped in flour so that you have a sealed round dough pocket. You can sprinkle something interesting on the top (cinnamon and sugar if that’ll go with your filling, plain icing sugar, coloured sugar crystals) or just bake at 350 until the biscuit part looks golden and baked (probably around 15 minutes).

Voila – you have created round sweet lovely treats that can safely go into a school lunch (no peanut butter, easy to fit into a little Tupperware in the lunch bag) or be devoured by the nearest teenager for a snack (yep, The Boy loves these things).

And since I put up new shelves tonight and transferred jam from boxes to shelves … I think I will be making a lot of these. The boys who live here said that was no problem.