In July- when I originally posted the article below, I had no idea that was God preparing me for what Erwin McManus would be sharing at MOPS Convention. Saturday morning… He spoke from his new book “Wide Awake” The story he shared was so parallel to my own experience that I have to respond. I was shaking when I left that session, tears flooded my face (Mental note- always wear waterproof mascara- to general session I forgot mine- I was a mess) — I can no longer pretend to ignore the dream that haunts, delights and compels me. I can’t keep running up to the edge and stopping just short of jumping to my dream. I have to trust that God will catch me. I have to try. I pray that as I share this re-post- that it will resonate with you the way Erwin’s story resonated with me…. Thank You MOPS International and Mr McManus- for giving me the kick in the butt- that I desperately needed to finally jump.

After reading here- I hope you’ll pop over to the MOPS International Convention Blog to read how Lynne Spears (yes- Lynne- the mother of Britney and Jamie Lynn Spears she spoke during one of our general sessions ) visit to MOPS Convention has impacted me and other moms- It was incredible.

When standing on the edge of… oh, ….ANYTHING. I get that stomach flip flopping, hands sweating, heart thumping- kind of feeling. Not the “Ohhhhh, I’m in love” feeling- it was the other one- FEAR. It could be a bridge, a cliff, or the top of a steep set of stairs. Not quite panic— but fear. The fear is manageable… but I don’t like it. It makes me feel  just a little too human and frail.

Recently I stood on the very edge of my fear. I was on vacation. We were camping and went to the biggest falls in Mighigan. It was a crystal clear Norman Rockwell type waterfall/swimming hole, complete with waterbugs of all ages, jumping into the rapids, heads bobbing up through the foaming water with grins from ear to ear. I carefully walked out to the edge of the falls- to take a pic.  I had not intention of jumping.  But as I watched… my heart yearned to get past the fear. I was missing out on half the experience. I sawthe beauty of the rushing water-but I couldn’t FEEL it.

Was I afraid of the waterfall?

No. Not a bit- In fact, I was so enraptured by it- that I totally forgot how short my legs are when I bent down to snap a pic— let’s just say I ended up a “soggy bottom mom”. It wasn’t the waterfall that had me afraid- it was the JUMPING , that worried me.  What if I got hurt? What if I looked like the pudgey mom of three I know I am- and people watched me? What if I never came back up from the river bottom?

I watched as child after child jumped and swam… I watched as adult after adult proved the safety of the jump, by bobbing back to the surface. I watched as my own friends and family rose out of the rapids- aglow with joy.  A tiny bit of courage started to well up in my soul. I wanted to do it.  I wanted to jump.

I took my camera to the rivers edge and asked my college boy to hold it- and told him NOT to miss getting my pic.  I warned him it could be the last.  He knows his mother- he was shocked I was going out there. I carefully edged out toward the middle. I looked down into the swirling water….I walked back to shore. I handed my camera/security blanket to my oldest, and told him I was going to jump. His jaw fell open and nearly hit the shore. I told him to make sure and get the shot- there would only (probably) be one take.

I made my way to the centerpoint, my feet slipping on algae covered rocks. I stepped aside as 2 9-10 year old girls jumped into the deep. (Ok so maybe it was 4 1/2 feet) I plugged my nose… I unplugged it. I stepped back- I stepped forward.  I finally went to the edge–my heart racing… then I stepped down just one rock lower (No need to make it scarier than it already was!) ….I plugged my nose. I made eye contact one last time with family and friends (just in case) .. and then? I jumped.

The water seemed to jump up to catch me. It was not at all like the tearing, torrent that I’d imagined. It was cool, refreshing. Embracing. I sank to the bottom, and my feet found a foot hold on the riverbed.  My legs, automatically sprang me back to the top. . My head broke the surface-I screamed-” I did it!”  I was grinning like a mascara streaked, madwoman. And I did not care what anyone thought. I DID IT! I JUMPED!

I climbed back up the rocks, and then? I did it again, and again.  What had been so fear filled- had become joyfilled. On the way back to camp-  I started to wonder. How many times have I stood on the edge of fun- and  joy filled experience, paralyzed by a fear? There have been hundreds.

I’ve missed a lot more than waterfall jumping adventures.  I’ve felt the same adrenaline rush as I stood at the top of faith leaps- watching others leap- while I stayed on the rivers edge- in fear.

I’ve been afraid to try, for risk of failure. I’ve been afraid to trust at risk of trust broken. I’ve been afraid to jump- at risk of falling… but all I’ve lost- was the joy of being caught- by much stronger arms than the arms of a river.

The waterfalls in faith leaps aren’t always as tame as the Ocqueoc Falls, that I jumped into on vacation. (and honestly- they are TINY— but it’s the biggest we have here in Michigan:P) . They can be truly dangerous. For some reason- God allows them to be. There is risk in trusting God. There are few guarantees.

But- today, as I look back at my vacation pictures… I wonder- how many guarantees do we really need- beyond this one:

Matthew 17:20 (New International Version)
He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Are you standing at the edge of a waterfall of faith? Is fear keeping you there? Are you watching as others leap into the deep and are lifted up as God catches them, jump after jump? Stop standing there.  Stop going tot he edge and chickening out. Plug your nose if you have to… but do it-  JUMP!

The risk is worth the taking:)

PS- yes- the terribly unflattering jumper in the pic? that’s really me…on my second jump-caught by my college boy :)

mosaic from weekend

 

A knitting adventure?  Is that an oxymoron?  I can assure you, it’s not.  (Contrary to the border guard who giggled on my explanation of the trips purpose.)  I know- because this weekend I had one. An international adventure of epic proportions. I went to Toronto for the More Big Girls Knit Book Launch at Lettuce Knit! Which just so happened to coincide with the DKC Knitters Frolic. (Yes- the border guard also thought that explanation equally, HILARIOUS.) 

I know, I know- I went to the first launch and wrote about it already.  What can I say?  It was such an amazing experience, I wanted more. That’s exactly what I got. MORE.  More of the same- and yet, something even better.

What really struck me this time, was the people and the knitting community that is Toronto.  Planning a trip to Lettuce Knit- was a thrill. I’m a long time reader (ok ,stalker) of YarnHarlot, Amy, Jillian,(- a fellow Michigander- but in her heart, she’s Torontonian) Jen, now also- Indigodragonfly and a number of other Torontonian knit blogs…all of whom are Lettuce Knit regulars, and share their incredible experiences there with readers.  Ocassional skeptic that I am, I had wondered if it was all hype.  I wondered “Could it really be that great?” I also wondered how the regulars would respond to a loud, foreign invader.

Actually- I was a little (ok, a lot) nervous. I mean- these people actually know each other!  They have a history together. I didn’t want to feel like a third wheel- or a party crasher.  Worse yet, I didn’t want to feel like a knit-reject. Clicks (or should I say cliques?) are an international phenomenon… one I’ve experienced before, and don’t like.  But not this weekend.  Not with these knitters and not at this shop.  By the end of the evening- I felt like one of the girls. ( except I talk funny, apparently…)

I should back up a bit.  The day had started much earlier, however, at the Frolic.  I met Danielle and Indigodragonfly and we were quick to hit it off. Danielle and I could just about keep pace with each other in the verbal arena. (I think we near wore out Indigodragonfly!)  And at one of the first booths we visited together, Indigodragonfly and I discovered we’re fibre (that spelling is for my new Canadian friends) twins!  (Which could have led to fibre fights, but didn’t, as we’re both, quite sweet.)  We quickly developed a rather symbiotic relationship- helping each other choose and buy, yarn.

Between the Frolic and the launch party- we hung out for a bit and talked – then I was invited to dinner at “The Big Fat Burrito”.  The infamous haunt of Lettuce Knitters!  I had the most incredible steak burrito- which I shared with a homeless guy.  (politics aside- we have to find an answer (answers) to homelessness…just sayin’ ) Then, we walked to the shop for the launch. 

Lettuce Knit is located in Kensington Market.  Which- is just that- an amazing “find everything and then some ” kind of neighborhood/market. The doors are open- goods of all sorts are displayed on racks and stands on the street. There are luscious fruit stands are on every corner.  (At one stand the mangos were so irresistible- that a little guy, probably 4 or so, kept swiping one off the table, to try for a taste.  his mom kept putting them back and telling him “no”.  However, the tiny brilliant and innovative comedian, kept reaching for another.  FInally, in a Mom’s desperate move of distraction- she held his arms over his head, laughing. The brilliant creativity of Kensington must have rubbed off on him- as he immediately leaned forward, mouth open, and bit a mango “”bobbing for apples” style!  (I immediately fell in love with him, and would have tucked him into my bag had it not already contained a lifetimes worth of yarn!)

Kensington Market was a sensory overload of the very best kind,  no sense was left un-touched.  My nose was treated to a caucophony of aromas. (A pretty good trick, as I lost much of that sense, to a nose job years ago)   Scents shifted from delightful to obnoxious within just a few feet. The scent of fresh (well, mostly fresh )  fish, bread, fruit, meat and humanity all created a perfume that will be forever etched in my mind and entitled “Kensington Market #5.”  (Maybe not marketable, but definitely un-forgettable.)

In addition to sights, textures and scents- there was music both lyrical and lingual, everywhere!  It poured from the doorways, sound systems and from street performers.  Voices added to the music with a bass beat of barter and chatter. It was amazing.  It was life, concentrated.  I think it was there, that I fell in love with Toronto. (I was also glad to have someone leading me around, or I’d have wandered aimlessly -albeit contentedly- for weeks!)

Still nervous- (I was, anyways) we made our way through people and sights.  I thought maybe it was the burrito when my stomach flip-flopped as we came up to the street that houses Lettuce Knit.  It wasn’t the burrito- it was nerves. Then, I saw it. There were knitters everywhere, on every step of the porch and on chairs, in both the front and backyard!  knitters were smiling, chatting (and knitting- of course) and helping with projects and color choices.  There were kids eating cupcakes, giggling and performing. (kids love an audience, and in these knitters they sure had one!) There was much passing of babies, and I could just about hear ovaries bursting with ripened eggs at the sight of them.  (They were truly, that cute)

The atmosphere was great,  energetic and fun.  It was like Sesame Street came to life. (If Sesame Street suddenly became a bit PG 13.)  I started shopping as soon as I got in the door, ok maybe a second or two before actually getting IN the door.  The shop is tiny- but LOADED with the very best of knitterly goods. 

Soon- a fabulous Irish band arrived, and started playing the most beautiful music!  Within minutes of arriving women were again transformed by the designers magic.  There were cupcakes.  There were sweaters. (Yes- the Bountiful Bohus will also eventually be mine)  There were door prizes!  (I won the most incredible Jordana Paige Knit bag!-see pics) There were knitters everywhere. It was fabulous.

Beyond the shopping potential and pure eye-candy of the place, there was a pervasive feeling of home.  My nerves over how these knitters would receive an outsider, were totally unfounded.  It was an amazing group.  Everyone I met, had a story,  design sense, a sense of humor and or creativity that was remarkable, and they were quick to share them.   A hotbed of design and designers surrounded me.  I had a few questions about patterns (as every yarn I saw was begging to be immediately knit-up) when I threw them out to the group- each was met with, “Well, ask____ she’s over there, she designed it!”  I was amazed, and a little (ok, a lot) awe-struck.

After my visit, I think I have a better understanding of knit-community and what it can be.   I can see how this atmosphere of synergy, encouragement and creativity have birthed so many designers and artists of color, texture and word. I was sad to leave Lettuce Knit– the Knitty crew and MBGK Team .  I will miss them and the Toronto they daily enjoy.  But, they’ve inspired me to get involved in my local knit community and see what it can become. I mean- if Canadians can tolerate me… maybe a few Americans can as well!)

More after I catch up on laundry– (is that even possible? Probably only if my family spends a few days in a nudist camp- which ain’t happening…) 

PS- HAPPY BIRTHDAY DENNY!