Here Comes 40

My 40th birthday is one month away.

40 years on this earth. 40 hard years, blessed years, painful years, enjoyable years. 40 hard-fought years. In some ways, I feel like I’ve already lived a lifetime. In others, like I’m only 16 yrs old. Like, how am I almost 40?

My skin is showing her age. My hair, too. My body isn’t as perky and young. But I embrace it all. All the perceived not-so-good mixed with the very good.

Life’s journey has taught me much. It’s not what happens to you, it’s how you walk through the journey that matters. Are you humble when the good is filling your cup to the brim? Are you determined not to give up when it’s so bad you can barely stomach it?

Do you lose faith when it’s bad? Or do you hold onto to maker of the stars, always, even when nothing is making sense?

I hope to continue growing in wisdom, kindness, and patience as I age. I hope I keep growing in faith and joy. That I never turn my back on the goodness of God and keep His promises in my heart.

This is what almost 40 looks like. Happy.

Embracing Your Journey

I don’t question why I’m sick anymore. Ten years into my journey and I now think, what can I learn through this journey?

So often people question God, they wonder why He allowed something in their lives. I choose not to ponder that, pondering why something happened to me, rather – I choose to embrace the lessons through a journey and focus on what I do know – God is love.

Please don’t get me wrong, I don’t warmly embrace Lyme disease as a blessing because being chronically ill in itself is not a blessing, but God DOES bless me through the pain, He does walk with me, He does give me the opportunity to learn, to grow, should I choose to.

I find it not useful at all to wonder why something happened to me.

If you can look at your circumstances from the eyes of God is good no matter what, God is faithful no matter what, God loves you no matter what, God wants you well no matter what – you will embrace joy through pain, you will find beauty in your ashes, you will surprise yourself with your own strength and your determination to embrace whatever journey you find yourself on.

Will you have down days? Yes. Do I? Yes. Oh, absolutely yes. Overall, though, throughout the ten years, I’ve battled the disease, I’ve found more valuable lessons than painful questions. I’ve discovered more love than disappointment. I see more goodness in humanity than not. I’ve seen how strong I am rather than focusing on my weaknesses and limitations.

But, most importantly, I’ve seen how God has been there every step of the way. I’ve never been alone on this long, often, painful journey. And I never will be. And friend, neither have or will you.

The Middle Years

These middle years are wondrous years indeed.

I’m past the days of diapers and bottles and sleepless nights, yet far from days of teenage angst and peer groups and driving cars.

I’m right here in the middle, where the living is easier and the living is good.

My children are old enough to do things for themselves yet not too old to still adore their mommy, which they still call me. And although I do still have to break up fights between brothers, and help them bathe, cook them dinners, and lay their clothes out – they don’t need me like they did as babies. I get to enjoy my children with much less of the sleepless, fatigued, oh-so-overwhelmed assistance from mommy they used to need.

Now its much less about the doing and more about the enjoying and teaching. It’s less about wiping bums and picking up fallen toddlers with scraped knees and more about explaining bible stories and teaching how to forgive and showing up emotionally for my kids.

Some of us mothers seem to have specialties within our motherhood ministries. Some of us excel at the baby years. Some of us love the sleepless nights, and toddlers clinging to our legs. Some of us revel in the teen years. Really! Some of us actually do. And there’s those of us who greatly enjoy these middle years.

I’m a middle years momma.

Watching my boys grow closer to manhood, nothing quite like it.

Crochet Blankets and Crochet Bag

Are you like me? Do you see all these amazing designs by crochet designers you just adore and buy the yarn and start the project and then it just sits there? I’m ashamed of myself, but I do this far too much. I rarely get to a finished crochet project. Boo!

I have one beautiful blanket design by Jessica of Mama in a Stitch not even halfway done – and just couldn’t help myself, starting a new throw blanket by Krista of Rescued Paw Designs. And it doesn’t stop there. I also saw a stunning crochet bag by Jessica today and bought the yarn and handles for it. It’s a real problem Y’all!

Are you like me? Do you have half-finished projects laying around the house and yet still start new projects? Surely I can’t be alone.

Here’s a peek at my blankets in process of being finished and the bag I plan to make soon.

Beginner Friendly Blanket by Jessica of Mama in a Stitch

This beautiful blanket pattern is by Jessica of Mama in a Stitch, which you can find for free, here. She did a lovely yellow and white look. I chose the dark colors because they match a nursery for the gal I plan to gift this to… I better get on it, her baby is due soon!

Shop Homespun yarn below.

(Photo credit: Mama in a Stitch)

Jane throw by Krista of Rescued Paw Designs

You can see I’ve not gotten very far on this one yet, but really want to finish it! It’s beautiful. I love the stitch and the yarn choice. It’s so hard to capture the colors well. It’s big enough to cover your lap, and I plan to keep it in the living room with my leather couch.

You can find this pattern for free, here.

Shop Wool-Ease Thick N Quick

(Photo credit: Rescued Paw Designs)

Camel Bucket Bag by Jessica of Mama in a Stitch

(photo credit, Mama in a Stitch)

I’m stoked to try this bag. It looks simple enough for this intermediate crocheter and yet still looks impressive! I’m so excited to get my yarn and handles so I can get going on this pattern. I’ve done blankets before, but never a bag, so this’ll be a little extra special.

I decided on a pretty green yarn instead of the rust, but I do really like the color Jessica chose. You can find the pattern for free, here.

Shop Vanna’s Choice Yarn below.

Shop Purse Handles below.

What does your unfinished crochet stash look like?

Leave a comment below. I’d love to connect with other crocheters!

Links:

Mama in a Stitch

Rescued Paw Designs

Mama in a Stitch Etsy Shop

Sincerely Nell Instagram Account

Affiliate links:

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My First Successful Crocheted Hat

Since picking up my first hook I’ve been trying to figure out how to crochet a hat in the round. And while never successful, the desire to do it just wouldn’t leave. Something “clicked” in my mind a couple weeks ago when I picked the hook back up. It all started making sense, while prior to that, I was essentially just “winging it”. So I felt confident in trying a hat again.

I hopped over to the trusty YouTube and searched for a beginner friendly pattern. I landed on Melanie Ham’s channel. I’ll post the video that I used below, and link to her site, where you can find the written pattern. Melanie’s tutorial, one that I had tried before, finally made sense to me! And before I knew it, I had learned the magic circle, and how to crochet a hat in the round.

I’m floored to say, but I actually finished a hat today! Now, while I won’t use the same yarn again, as I prefer a chunkier look and feel, I am so happy to actually tried it and was, finally, successful! I now want to crochet some hats for my kids for the winter. We don’t get a lot of winter here in north Texas, but we get enough to warrant a hat or two. Next up, I hope to learn how to crochet a pair of mittens.

Here is the exact tutorial I used to create the hat.

And here is the link to visit Melanie Ham’s website to get the written pattern.

Thanks so much, Melanie, for such a great tutorial, and for continuing to put out free tutorials on YouTube!