Today marks the anniversary of my son’s near fatal accident and his dramatic rescue. It feels like a birthday. I feel like celebrating.
The weird thing about this past year since his rescue is that I have not simply lived the grateful happy life I sort of expected in light of what happened that day. In fact, for months after the accident, I think I was actually dealing with some post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms. I kept thinking I should just get over it already. Just be happy. My son was almost killed, and instead of having to live the grief of that I was dealing with happy things like the start of preschool, and the success of potty-training, and the celebration of Christmas with two little boys instead of just one. But still, I felt a gnawing anxiety and even grief. Sometimes I still do, even in the midst of overwhelming gratitude and relief.
Throughout the whole strange journey this year has been, I have found myself sustained by good friends. Two communities of friends in particular have been invaluable to me. The first community is you guys – the craft community, both virtual and real life. You folks were among the first I told in detail about what happened at the beach. I had to get it written out, and even though that was painful and made me feel vulnerable, you were unbelievably supportive and kind. You celebrated with me. You freaked out with me, too, over the awful thing that happened and the death that nearly resulted from it. And when I was ready to move forward and get back to my knitting and knitblogging, you were still there for me, no matter how inconsistent I was with either of those things. The craft community for me took a leap into real life as well this year, as I made actual knitting friends in Real Life, both in my neighborhood and through our Co-Op preschool. To have friends that have nothing to do with my work but only with something that is purely joyful to me has been a brand-new and wonderful experience for me.
The second community that has been there for me this past year (and for many years prior) has been a group of 29 female colleagues from across the U.S. and Canada. They are clergy, like me, and they, like me, are in the minority in their profession – only 13% of all ministers are women (that number if somewhat lower in my own denomination). Several years ago, a Catholic nun in Beech Grove, Indiana, had a dream of having her own monastic community reach out to Protestant clergywomen in order to help nurture and sustain them through the sharing of the rhythm and traditions of the monastic life. It was an unusual idea – to bring together Protestant clergywomen and Catholic women religious, two groups who have an awful lot in common and much to learn from each other but typically very little interaction with each other. Sister Mary Luke won a grant to fund her dream, and Women Touched by Grace was born. Starting in November 2003, (when I was 8 weeks pregnant with twins) we gathered twice a year for 10 days at the monastery. The program culminated with a trip to Italy, where we studied the life of St. Benedict.
These women (both the clergy and the nuns) were there for me during my pregnancy and early motherhood. They were there for me during my husband’s frightening medical problems and hospitalizations. In the past five years, three of the women have battled cancer, while others have gone through divorce, job loss, brain surgery, and betrayals. Through all of it, they have remained a rock-solid community for one another. It was a gift given to us by Sister Mary Luke and her fellow sisters, and it is a gift that keeps giving. They, like you, were among the first I shared the news of our son’s accident with. They supported me in my strange mix of grief and relief, and they provided a sounding board when I needed to talk, when I needed to cry, and when I needed to write.
That program has officially ended, and a new group of clergywomen has been invited to the monastery to receive the gifts the women there have to give. Their program has not been fully funded as ours was. So now I finally get to the reason for this raffle!! This is not a religion-related blog, and I do not share my religious views here (in fact, there is much to say about the spiritual value of the Women Touched by Grace community, but I refrain because I don’t feel this is the forum for that). The proceeds of this raffle will go towards a religious institution, but I hope that even if you are not Christian or religious, you might consider participating. Because in truth this money is meant to help women who need as much friendship and support as they can get. The whole program is based on women reaching out to women. I want to celebrate how women have sustained me in difficult times by trying to reach out and sustain other women too. These women need this time away and the nurture it will provide. They need community – both that of their colleagues and that of the nuns. They need the rest and renewal. They need the support that will keep them from burning out and from failing in the midst of isolation and other challenges. Want to help make it so? (and win fab prizes in the process?)
All right then!
Disclosure: Big love goes to Sister Mary Luke, who gave some of us some “seed money” to use to raise additional money however we could. I wish I could claim to have used a few hundred of my own dollars to make this contest possible, but I did not. The money funding this little venture has been given to me, and I hope to at least double it (though I’m hoping you guys may surpass my wildest dreams).
How it will work:
1. $5 buys one chance to win.
2. For every four chances you buy($20), you will get an additional chance free.
3. If you mention this contest on your blog (and provide me the link) you will get another free chance to win.
4. Buy as many chances as you wish!
5. The PayPal donations go directly to the Benedict Inn, a part of Our Lady of Grace Monastery, a nonprofit organization. You can be assured that this money will go directly to the program and not to my pockets.
You can print off your receipt for your taxes. Y’all, I was mistaken. Kendra pointed out that the IRS has ruled that raffle ticket purchases cannot be counted as donations. Sorry about that!
6. You may stipulate on your entry which prize you would most like to win (though I can’t make guarantees).
7. The drawing will be on August 8th – while my family is actually at the beach where the accident happened – and winners will be announces shortly thereafter. Prizes will be mailed after we return home, around August 15th.
Prizes (bet you thought I’d never get to this point!)
Prize #1 – Mmmmmmmalabrigo Magnificence
You didn’t think I’d have a contest without offering a bit of Malabrigo did you?
That’s roughly 1300 yards of buttery goodness in a deliciously deep teal-ish green, enough to make a sweater or approximately one billion cowls.
But that’s not all. If you win the Malabrigo package, you will get a knitting book of your choosing from Amazon for $20 or less. I was going to offer a particular Elizabeth Zimmermann book, but then I thought the winner may already have it and wouldn’t it be fun to get to choose what you want? Yes, yes it would.
Prize value = $95
Prize #2 – Socktacular Stuff
You would’ve had to pry this one out of my hands, except that I had to buy my own exact same items. This stuff is just that yummy.
I love Lorna’s Laces, and I really love this semi-solid purple. I made some Fancy Silk Socks out of this last year for a swap and I just adored this luscious color. You’ll love it too. But perhaps you might also like something a little less solid?
My first experience with yarn from The Unique Sheep was the yarn I got to knit Moonshadow in, Leili. I was really taken with the beautiful colors I saw on the site so when it was time to plan this raffle I decided to get some sock yarn. I chose this gorgeous Cherry Blossom colorway – and later learned it was inspired by a photograph taken by MiniLaura, who won a photo contest put on by The Unique Sheep. When the yarn arrived, I couldn’t keep my hands off of it. So I ordered some more for one of you to win. I have to say, it knits up so pretty!
Oh, and see that super-cute sock bag that the sock is in?
Yeah, you’ll be getting one of those too. (First I ordered one for the raffle. Then I had to have one myself. Y’all, the squirrels are so freakin’ cute! I LOVE this bag.)
This package also comes with your choice of knitting (or other) book from Amazon for $15 or less. I was going to put a sock-knitting book with this package, but again, I thought it might be more fun for you to choose for yourself.
Prize value = $99
Prize#3 – Fantastic Fabric
It hasn’t happened yet, but I still have big dreams of making the Color Wheel Quilt from Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts for Little Buddha’s and Tiny Dancer’s room. Maybe you might like to make one with me?
This prize is a Purl Color-Wheel Quilt Bundle plus the book that shows how to make it (or a book of you choosing, $20 or less, if you already own this one).
Here’s the deal with this, though. Purl ran out of this bundle right before I was ready to order. They are supposed to let me know when they have more ready to go, but it has been several weeks now and still none in stock. I still think it will happen (and hope it will be August 15th), but if not, you will get $70 (plus shipping) of your choosing from Purl. Still a good deal, right?
(Please note that this prize does not include the plain white fabric and the batting you would need to make this quilt. It just includes the fun stuff!)
Prize value = $95
Prize #4 – Lace-a-licious
This is the big one! I fell in love with Sea Silk at Knit Nouveau a few days after Little Buddha’s accident. I couldn’t resist splurging on some, and the stole I made with it has always felt like a celebration garment. Now’s your chance to celebrate a bit yourself.
3 hanks of Sea Silk in the gorgeous Ivory colorway – a little more than 1300 yards – plus 35 grams of silver-lined megatama beads (roughly 315 beads). And you will get your choice of one of Sivia Harding’s patterns. You ought to be able to make something really lovely with this!
Prize value = $125
Prize #5 – Non-crafty goodness
I do have some readers who don’t knit or sew, and I love you too! Don’t feel left out – you could win a little something too. There will be one drawing for a $30 gift certificate from Amazon. (make sure to stipulate on your entry/entries if you don’t want to be considered for any of the craft prizes and I will only include you in the drawing for this one)
Prize value = $30
Let’s get this party started!
Thanks, y’all, for everything!