THE ISLAND WRAP – Free Knit Sweater Pattern

THE ISLAND WRAPAll-focus

By: Bo Peep’s Bonnets©

The pattern and photographs contained in this document are the property of Bo Peep’s Bonnets©. This pattern is available for personal, non-commercial use only. No unauthorized reproduction or distribution, in whole or part of this pattern is permitted.

If you need any help with my patterns, please feel free to contact me: www.etsy.com/shop/BoPeepsBonnets 

Copyright © January 2017 Bo Peep’s Bonnets

Materials needed:

  • US 15 (10 mm), 29 inch circular needles
  • Bulky weight yarn (approximately 400 yards for the small/medium, 450 yards for the large/xlarge) Pictured Yarn: Lion Brand Scarfie
  • Tapestry Needle

Gauge: 2.75 stitches = 1 inch

Abbreviations:

K – Knit

P – Purl

Baby Cable – k2tog (knit two together) but do not drop stitches off left hand needle, knit the first stitch again, then drop both

Pattern: With the U.S. 15 circular needles cast on 82 stitches (Small/Medium), 90 stitches (large/Xlarge). Work the following pattern back and forth in rows. Do not knit in the round.

Row 1-6: Knit

Next repeat the following pattern sequence until work measures 32 inches (Small/Medium), 34 inches (Large, Xlarge).

Pattern Sequence

Pattern Sequence Row 1: *P2, K2, repeat from * all around

Pattern Sequence Row 2: *K2, P2, repeat from * all around

Pattern Sequence Row 3: *P2, Baby Cable, repeat from * all around

Pattern Sequence Row 4: *K2, P2, repeat from * all around

Once your work measures 32 inches (Small/Medium), 34 inches (Large/XLarge), knit 5 more rows. Next bind off all stitches as if to knit. Weave in all ends. Lay your work out with the garter stitch portion at the top and bottom. Fold in each corner and make a 9 inch arm seam with extra yarn and tapestry needle (picture follows).IMG_20170513_212531IMG_20170513_212614

Approximate finished measurements:

End of arm to end of arm = 33 inches (Small/Medium), 35 inches (Large/XLarge)

From top of neck to bottom = 30 inches (Small/Medium), 33 inches (Large/Xlarge)

If you enjoyed this pattern please check out my Etsy shop for more patterns and cozy knits. The sales from my Etsy store completed fund my charity for cancer patients – Hand Knits for Hope. If you or someone you know is currently dealing with hair loss due to cancer chemotherapy or radiation treatments please CLICK HERE to request a free hat for them. XOXO – Bo Peep

Copyright © January 2017 Bo Peep’s Bonnets 

All rights reserved.

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Cat Scarf Knitting Pattern – FREE

If you know me, you know I’m a crazy cat lady. My husband often comes home from work, sees the happy grin on my face and says, “Uh oh. She’s kitty drunk again.” Hey, there are worse things than being coo coo for kitties, aren’t there my friends? 😉 p1160833

Needless to say, when I read about a recent trend in Japan where you accessorize your furry felines in handmade scarves, I knew I needed to get my three boys on point.

I made up a pattern up in less than 30 minutes, and I think it makes my boys looks even more adorable than normal (if that’s even possible). It’s an easy, fast knit for beginner knitters and cat enthusiast alike. I think it would be especially great for kids who are just starting to knit. Who doesn’t love a project that can be completed while watching just one episode of The Cat Whisperer (I’m really starting to sound crazy now aren’t I)?

Ok, enough of my babbling on about my furry BFF’s. Here’s the FREE pattern!

SUPPLIES:

  • US 13 straight needles
  • Appox 25 yards of super bulky yarn (pictured yarn is Lion brand Wool Ease Thick and Quick)
  • 3/4 inch or 1 inch button (don’t go any bigger than this or your button won’t slip through the stitches.
  • Needle and thread

GAUGE: 2 stitches = 1 inch ( don’t worry if this is off slightly)

3 Sizes: Young Cat (6-12 months), Small/Medium Adult Cat, and Large Adult Cat
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PATTERN:

With the US 13 needles cast on

  • 3 stitches (Young Cat: Age 6-12 months)
  • 4 stitches (All Adult Cats)

Knit back and forth in row until work measures

  • 16 inches (Young Cat) pictured
  • 19 inches (Small, Medium Cat)
  • 20 inches (Large cat) pictured

Bind off all stitches. Weave in all ends. Sew a button onto the scarf 3 inches from end (young cat), 4 inches from end (small, medium cat) 4 1/2 inches from end (large cat). Curve the scarf around your cats neck and push the button up through the stitching to secure. Be careful to not make it too tight for your furry friend! **Please note: That as with anything around a cats neck the cat should be supervised by a responsible adult at all times**p1160841

That’s all there is to it! I just loved this project! Did you? Share your pictures on our Facebook page, or #bopeepsbonnets on Instagram so we can see your furry friend in their new scarf!

For more cat inspired knitting patterns please visit my shop – www.etsy.com/shop/BoPeepsBonnets

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I lost my Father to Cancer

pamI lost my Father to cancer in 1994, he was 62.   I was 28 when he passed away.  He was diagnosed in April of 1993 with colon cancer. I remember spending that Easter Sunday in the hospital with him and my mother while they were getting him ready for surgery first thing Monday morning.  Surgery came and went followed by many months of chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

I hated seeing my father going through these treatments and the toll that it was taking on him, but I couldn’t bear the thought of losing him either.

I remember our last Thanksgiving and Christmas together.  I remember Christmas Eve, he didn’t care that he was weak and walking with a cane.  He wanted to go to church that evening and we made it happen.

Then about a week into the New Year he started having seizures and was rushed to the hospital only to find the cancer had spread.  We were told at that point it was just a matter of time.  My world was coming to an end.  The first man that I ever loved was going to be taken from me.  All I kept asking was, why God? Why my dad?  I prayed for God to give me strength as in Philippians 4:13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

731-1My dads wish was to come home.  My mother being the loving wife that she was, left her job so that he could come home and so that she could be there to help and take care of him 24/7.  We got a hospital bed, arranged for Hospice to come a few days a week to help with his care and finally we were able to get him home.

Then came that snowy February day when the Hospice nurse came.  She took his vitals and came out and told us that he would probably pass within the next 48 hours. I tried to stay strong, but it was really hard. We started making phone calls to all our family.  The next morning my father started asking for his brothers and sisters.  We called and they dropped what they were doing to get there to be by his side.  Upon his last sister arriving and assuring him that she was there, we told him that it was okay and that he could go. My father took one deep breath and left out a heavy what seemed to be sigh.  This was the last breathe that he took.  He was just waiting for everyone to get there so he could say good-bye.  He passed that day surrounded by family that loved him so dearly.

I never knew hurt until I saw what my father went through.  I felt an eerie peace when he passed, it was like I knew that this was the best thing.  Never a day goes by that I don’t think of him.  I still tell him that I love him, how much I miss him, and I thank him every day for watching over my mother, brother and myself for keeping us safe.  With the help of God and our continuous prayers we were able to heal from his passing.   As well as the guidance from others who had been through this helping us to see the reality. And helping us to cope. Psalm 119:28 My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.   I now try to help others in similar situations to be there for them and help to support them during their difficult time.

I love you to the moon and back daddy, and you will always be the brightest star shining in the sky for me to see.pam7Written by Pam Faltin in loving memory of her father

Columbian Coffee Cozy – FREE Knitting Pattern

Columbian Coffee Cozy 

By: Bo Peep’s Bonnets

french-press

The pattern and photographs contained in this document are the property of Bo Peep’s Bonnets. This pattern is available for personal use only. If you need any help with my patterns, please feel free to contact me www.etsy.com/shop/BoPeepsBonnets 

Copyright Bo Peep’s Bonnets© 2013

Materials needed:

  • US. 13 (9 mm) straight needles
  • Approx. 60 yards of super bulky weight yarn – Lion Brand Thick and Quick Pictured
  • Two natural wood buttons
  • Two elastic hair bands
  • Needle and Thread
  • Finishing needle

Gauge: 2.5 stitches = 1 inch

This pattern is designed to fit a standard 8 cup French press with a diameter of 4 inches. The pattern can easily be adapted to make a taller or shorter cozy. Just add or subtract the number of stitches you cast on by 4 when altering the pattern to your desired height. If you want to make a cozy for a press with a larger diameter knit additional sets of the pattern sequence until desired width is achieved.

Abbreviations and Stitch Explanations:

K – Knit

P – Purl

Baby Cable – K2tog (knit two together) but do not drop stitches off left hand needle, knit the first stitch again, then drop both

Pattern:

With the U.S. 13 needles cast on 14 stitches.

Row 1: P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2

Row 2: K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2

Row 3: P2, Baby Cable, P2, Baby Cable, P2, Baby Cable, P2,

Row 4: K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2

Repeat this sequence 10 times. Bind off in pattern. Weave in ends.

Attach Buttons – Sew two natural wood buttons in between the 3 cable rows, 2 inches from the top and bottom of work.

Attach Button Loops – Turn work to the back side (non-cabled side).  On the second row of work from the cast on edge use a finishing needle to thread an elastic hair band through two stitches, 2 inches down from top of work. Tie the elastic band into a slip knot. Do the same with the second elastic band 2 inches from the bottom.

FREE Chunky Cowl Pattern

P1160248THE GLACIER COWL by Bo Peep’s Bonnets

Materials needed:

  • U.S. 15, 16 inch circular needles
  • 106 yards of Super Bulky weight yarn. Pictured yarn is Lion Brand Wool Ease Quick and Thick in the color “Glacier”
  • Tapestry Needle

Gauge: 2 stitches = 1 inch

Pattern Note: This cowl is designed to fit snugly around the neck providing optimal warmth. If you prefer a looser fit cast on 48 stitches instead.

PATTERN

With the US 15 circular needles cast on 46 stitches. Place marker and join to work in the round being careful not to twist your stitches. Knit all stitches continuously in the round until only 4 yards of yarn are left (enough yarn to bind off with). Bind off all stitches as if to knit. Weave in all ends. Enjoy!

If you enjoyed this pattern please check out my Etsy shop for more patterns and cozy knits. The sales from my Etsy store completed fund my charity for cancer patients – Hand Knits for Hope. If you or someone you know is currently dealing with hair loss due to cancer chemotherapy or radiation treatments please CLICK HERE to request a free hat for them. XOXO – Bo Peep

Bo Peep Hits the Big Screen!

When award winning costume designer Soyon An calls – you answer! I may have answered on a flip phone that I hadn’t updated since the *gasp* 90s – but I answered like I was on the newest, most fabulous, rose color iPhone money could buy.

In all honesty, I could barely hear her assistant on my prehistoric cell! Through all the crackles and pops I managed to gather that her boss, the one and only Soyon An, who is best known for her work on “So You think You Can Dance” and “American Idol” wanted little ol’ me to design a hat for the new movie she was working on.

Her assistant gave me my marching orders and the time line was tight – super tight. I worked from the moment she called and all through the night designing and knitting samples. I prayed to the post office gods that the overnight shipping would make it into her glorious hands by morning.

Her assistant had purchased a cat hat in “Grey Marble” from me and they wanted me to take that design and their color scheme and mesh them into something funky and fabulous.

I loved every minute of it. I’ll never forget that night – just me, my needles, Red Heart Soft yarn in funky colors, and lots (and lots) of french press coffee. I made three different options and Soyon let me know her favorite in the next few days. She had me make 4 of her favorite in rapid time and once again I relied on the post office gods to come to my overnight aid.

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The three original samples I designed for Bad Hair Day

The designing was done. The knitting was done. But just wait for the kicker – I had NO IDEA what movie the hats were for! Confidentiality is crucial in this business and I understood and signed on the dotted line. I knew that Soyon was working on “Jem and the Holograms” so I put two and two together and thought the hats were for that – WRONG! 

Imagine my surprise when one night I turned on Netflix and BAM! There was my cat hat on Laura Marano in the Disney Channel Original movie Bad Hair Day! I quickly pressed play and simultaneously emailed Soyon at the same time – Could this be true? Was it Bad Hair Day I had been designing for all along?!?! “YES!” She told me!

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Laura Marano in my cat beanie for a costume test

I was so excited I’m sure I didn’t even hear the dialogue the first time I watched it. I laughed, I cried, I jumped, and then of course I re-watched the movie 10 times!

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Now two years later I’m still so thankful for the opportunity.  I offer handmade reproductions of the cat beanie I designed for Laura Marano in my Etsy shop and every time I get to make one a big smile crosses my face. The only difference is I’ve finally  upgraded to that smartphone I swore I would never get – but hey – I kind of love it because it helps me stay connected to all of you – and as an added bonus I get to look at lots of insanely cute cat pictures on Instagram  while I sip my third french press and knit away into the night 😉

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Reproductions available in my shop

 

Top Ten Things to do (with kids) in Lancaster PA

When I moved to Lancaster, PA 10 years ago there was no looking back. The Amish fields filled with corn and tobacco, the train whistles in the background, and the hot air balloons drifting slowly into the sunset made life feel like we were living in painting from an era gone by.

But don’t let the vintage feel fool you – there are plenty of things your modern family will enjoy when they come to visit. Here’s my Top 10 Things to do (with kids) in Lancaster PA. I’m putting the kiddos in parenthesizes because even if your sans diapers and duffle bags (does anyone use those anymore??) you’ll still enjoy these places!

  1. Cherry Crest Adventure Farm – A giant corn maze, a petting zoo, tractor pulls, huge jumping pillows, lots of outdoor games for the whole family, and an awesome atmosphere are just a taste of what you’ll get at this one of kind farm attraction. They have family friendly food and drink and plenty of places to sit and enjoy a laid back meal. When my daughter was younger she especially enjoyed the Lil’ Farmers Playland with activities perfectly suited for toddlers. An added bonus – #2 on our list runs right through it…SophieKeeton
  2. The Strasburg Railroad – If you’re driving around Strasburg you are sure to hear a train whistle coming from one of the old steam locomotives. You can of course ride the train (so fun), but there are also places to eat, shop, and a playground. Thomas the Tank Engine comes to town a few times a year and they have extra booths and activities for his visit. I really love the Christmas Santa Train as well. The first time we ever rode it we were sipping hot cocoa and eating reindeer sugar cookies when all of a sudden it started to snow – talk about magical!
  3. Dutch Wonderland – This amusement park is great for kids and fun for their parents too. It’s geared mainly towards younger kids and has a water play area and live entertainment.dutchwonderland
  4. Longwood Gardens – Oh how I love you Longwood Gardens! I would have put this at #1 but it’s about a 45 minute drive from Lancaster so I’m gonna push my obsession for this place down on the list a bit ( but make the drive and go!) This award winning 1000 acre garden does not disappoint. You can spend all day breathing in the fresh air and looking at all the beautiful flowers, fountains, trees, ponds and so much more. There are two restaurants on site ( I recommend the cafeteria with kids and 1906 for couples), and two distinct play areas for kids (one inside/one out).  In the summer they also have a concert series, and at Christmas it’s lit up like nothing I’ve ever seen before. In the summer you can definitely spend all day here – in the other seasons I would say 3-4 hours at the least. Close by are Winterthur and Nemours Mansion and Gardens (you have the be 12 to go there) that are also worth a visit.P1010037
  5. Turkey Hill Experience – Ice cream samples, ice tea samples, a ball pit, and a make your own ice cream taste lab are on the menu at this attraction. I would say this one is about a 2 hour visit and best for preschool/elementary kids.
  6. Hershey Chocolate World – This one never gets old. I went here as a kid and now I take my daughter whenever I can. It’s a little less than hour from Lancaster but worth the drive. They have a free ride where they show you how chocolate is made and you get a free Hershey’s treat at the end. Lots of chocolate shopping and eating are on the menu when you visit this attraction! If you want to spend all day in Hershey also check out Hershey Gardens, Zoo America, and Hershey Park.P1010559
  7. Pottery Works (and a trip to Lancaster city) – My daughter and I love to go paint pottery here. Pick out a mug, ornament, vase, or other ceramic and let your inner artist out. You paint it and then it takes a week for them to glaze it. Located next door is a nice cafe and down from that is Lancaster Cupcake where your little one can enjoy playing with a cupcake kitchen just her size. Once you find a parking spot you can check out some other great eateries like Rachel’s Crepery, Prince Street Cafe, and Central Market. If you can grab a sitter go with just your honey to The Belvedeer or Aussie and the Fox for a great dinner.
  8. DJs taste of the 50s – This throw back diner is sure to delight young and old. My little one loves the “bendy toy” and balloon she gets at the end of the meal. For an added bonus check out the Cruise In’s they do a few times a year.
  9. Kitchen Kettle Village – Try jams, salsas, honey, cheese, and fudges galore as this unique shopping village. When you’ve have your fill of relishes you can grad a cup of Joe at the Cafe and take the little ones to the playground and small petting zoo on site. A few times a year they have special festivals filled with music and extra activities which are always fun – but of course can get crowded. Visit on a weekday if you like to leisurely peruse or visit on Saturday if you want the extra action.
  10. Cherry Hill Orchard – Pick your own apples, peaches, berries, pumpkins and more at this awesome attraction. You can also sample a wide variety of apples in the store and peruse their garden center. About an hour maybe 2 for this one and then you can head back home and make a wonderful pie, cobbler, or crumble with your freshly picked goodies.P1010794

Well folks – that’s it! Come on out and see what Lancaster is all about. XOXO – Bo Peep

Bo Peep’s Bonnets is a hand knit hat and cowl company in the heart of Lancaster PA. Her charity Hand Knits for Hope provides free, fashionable hats to cancer patients all over the USA. If you or someone you know is currently going through chemotherapy and would like a free hat click here.  Support Bo Peep’s charity by shopping all her handmade hats and scarves here. The proceeds from her online store completely fund her charity. 

The Chicago Cowl – Free Knitting Pattern

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I’m always so thankful for the love and support my Etsy customers show me. To show my appreciation I’m offering this knitting pattern for The Chicago Cowl for FREE! Happy Knitting Friends!

THE CHICAGO COWL by Bo Peep’s Bonnets

Materials needed:

  • U.S. 17, 24 or 16 inch circular needles
  • 100 yards of Super Bulky weight yarn in the color Butterscotch (Pictured Yarn: Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick and Quick)
  • 40 yards of Super Bulky weight yarn in the color Wheat (Pictured Yarn: Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick and Quick)
  • Tapestry Needle

Gauge: 2 stitches = 1 inch

PATTERN

With the US 17 needles and the Butterscotch yarn cast on 48 stitches. Join to work in the round being careful not to twist your stitches.

Round 1-4 : *Knit 2, Purl 2 repeat from * all around

Next – Repeat the following Pattern Sequence 6 times

  • Pattern Sequence Round 1: Knit all stitches with butterscotch
  • Pattern Sequence Round 2 -* Knit 1 with wheat, Knit 3 with butterscotch repeat from * all around
  • Pattern Sequence Round 3 – Knit all stitches with butterscotch
  • Pattern Sequence Round 4 – (Knit 2 with butterscotch) *Knit 1 with wheat, knit 3 with butterscotch, *repeat until last two stitches then knit 1 with wheat, knit 1 with butterscotch

After you have repeated the above pattern sequence 6 times knit one round with butterscotch. Next work in a Knit 2 Purl 2 rib for 4 rounds with butterscotch. Bind off all stitches. Weave in all ends.

If you enjoyed this pattern please check out my Etsy shop for more patterns and cozy knits. The sales from my Etsy store completed fund my charity for cancer patients – Hand Knits for Hope. If you or someone you know is currently dealing with hair loss due to cancer chemotherapy or radiation treatments please CLICK HERE to request a free hat for them. XOXO – Bo PeepP1150694

 

Amazing Grace: My Granddad’s Legacy

The month of November is probably my favorite month of the year.  I can’t tell you what my reason is, other than the fact that Thanksgiving falls in there!  I have always loved Thanksgiving more than any other holiday.  Just thinking of it and how it is quickly approaching nearly brings me tears of joy! While the food is always glorious (and much anticipated!!), my love for Thanksgiving is definitely because of my family.  

And, did I mention that every single family member is AMAZING?!

I am giving myself permission to brag about all of my family members because, well, someone should!  I mean, we’re talking engineers, nurses, teachers, aeronautical engineers, successful business owners, actors, an aspiring doctor, singers, a film maker, songwriters, artists, ……..are you catching on? Not only do they do all these things, but they do their crafts WELL!  And, don’t even get me started on their hearts. The love from our family is beautiful, and I feel honored to be in it.  I blame my Grandma and Granddad for all this success.

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Me, my Grandma, and my Granddad

It’s true.  These two.  If I could sit down over a cup of coffee (or tea!) and share with you every detail of this dynamic pair, I would.  But, for now I simply need to share the amazing legacy my beloved Granddad has left behind.  As I attempt to put all my big feelings into text, I wonder what he would say about his life that he had. Would he tell the same details I have found so pivotal to his life? Did he know how much I loved the way he nurtured his garden, or how a concord grape picked from the vine will always make me think of him, or how I have to stop dead in my tracks to see a plane flying overhead? How would he share his story? Well, for anyone that knew Granddad they would expect to be sitting for hours. Hours I tell ya. The man could talk.  He would tell every single detail of his beautiful life to you.  As a child I would dread having to sit and listen to him, but as I grew older I never wanted him to stop telling his stories.

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My Granddad, Jack Seifarth

Granddad was born in 1928 and grew up in the time of the depression.  He didn’t have much, but his family always had food on the table.  As a family they cared for a thriving garden and had some of their own animals for meat.  They worked hard for what they had and were forced to live a frugal life.  Although life had it’s struggles, Granddad found his joy in airplanes as a child.  He built himself a shed on his family’s property to house his model airplanes that he would assemble.  Because he didn’t have money, he would go door to door selling seeds, replacement windows, and other random things to earn the funds to buy his model planes.image3
 His passion for planes grew from childhood through his teen years so much so that he
was offered a scholarship from Johns Hopkins University for aeronautical engineering.  He worked hard studying during the week and worked hard to earn money on the weekends.  Meanwhile, he couldn’t suppress his desire to fly.  Roughly after his second year studying at Hopkins he applied for a spot in the NATO Cadet program.  He got into the program to train in the international cadet program. His dream was being fulfilled!  He trained on the T28 and T6 and went through all the technical classroom training.  He eventually was certified in prop planes.  He then went on to train for more intensive evaluations, which included turns and dives, so the standards were quite higher in the fighter jet program.  These tests were apparently hard to pass and unfortunately was one of the many who couldn’t sufficiently move on.  His flight training lasted for two years, but even though he couldn’t move on, I would imagine that simply flying was his dream being fulfilled.
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After his training he got offered a job designing planes at Fairchild-Hiller.  He had the opportunity to be on the team  designing passenger planes and cargo planes such as the F27, F28, C130, C119, C123 and the A10.  He had a successful 20 years there doing what he loved.  In the midst of all that he found my Grandma and they made 6 incredible people.
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With 5 of his 6 kids and my Grandma

After his time at Fairchild he got another job working in the engineering department for Mack Trucks.  He worked there until he was 60.

I could share even more details of his career with you, but I also need to express that he was an even better Father, Granddad, and Great-Granddad. Any picture I come across of him with my aunts, uncles, and dad you can see how hands-on he was.

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With some of his grandkids

I believe our family is so tightly knit now because of the foundation that Grandma and Granddad made for us.  They made family a priority.  They made God a priority. They shared the importance of hard work.   They allowed us to pursue our dreams.  They made it necessary to make traditions together and tell stories of their lives to us. They constantly have supported us.  For example, when I made the choice to leave college to pursue my desire of performing, he (and Grandma) supported me.

I’m slightly going to switch gears here.  I left school to begin working at a theatre.  He was so proud of me and I felt pride in knowing that.  He and Grandma saw all of my shows while I worked there, right up to nearly the very end of my time of employment at that theatre. I remember the last performance that he saw and how I knew it would be his last time there.
In 2005 Granddad found out he had prostate cancer.  He began radiation and over the course of a couple of months had 41 treatments.  Eventually it metastasized and was very aggressive.  By the Fall of 2009 he began deteriorating very rapidly.  In October of that year I was about 6 months pregnant with our first baby.  I had seen him during that time and happily listened to him tell me some elaborate story.  Some of his thoughts were beginning to become disconnected and he had trouble piecing information together, while I tried holding onto every word.
November rolled around and Granddad was there for his last Thanksgiving with our family. Granddad was not very clear headed at this point or as lucid as he once was.  It was almost shocking to see how much he had changed in as little as a month. I remember that year a bunch of his grandkids did a show for everyone, but it was specifically for Granddad.  Some did skits and several sang.  The talent from our family is ridiculous.  Nearly everyone can sing.  I watched in pride as everyone did their thing for Granddad, but I couldn’t bring myself to sing for him.  I would sing for him at any time, but I was selfishly refusing to sing because I didn’t want to cry.  I even got a look from my uncle as I sat there, but I just couldn’t do it.  Had I sung for him it would have been “Amazing Grace”.  His favorite (or so he told me anyway).  It still haunts me that I never got to sing for him and look at him.  I look back and so wish that I would have done it for him, no matter how much or how little he was aware.
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Granddad’s last Thanksgiving

I called him sometime after Thanksgiving to share with him our baby names, keeping in mind that he may not live to meet baby.  Grandma did most of the talking, but I knew he could hear me.  I told him that if our baby was a girl that we would name her Cora, after his mother.  Grandma said, “Jack, did you hear that?” He heard it and I could almost HEAR his joy! 🙂
By the next month, December 26, he passed away.  Thankfully he wasn’t in much pain in the end.  It happened so quickly in the last couple of months.  Even though he was sick, it was still a shock and it was still a time of grief for all of us.  But even now I can still feel him anytime I hear Patsy Cline sing, or anytime I eat a tomato from a vine, or I make his famous recipe of vegetable soup!

Someone told me that, “Cancer is different because it affects the whole family. It’s a family disease”.  Well, it’s true.  While I wasn’t there for his radiation treatments and witnessing the worst of it, it has still affected me.  But, I know that when Thanksgiving rolls around again I’ll be reminded of his unending love for all 40 of us!  We will celebrate our time together and we will fill our hearts even more with the time we were blessed to have with Granddad. – Leslie T.

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Jack Vincent Seifarth 1928-2009 “I lift up my eyes to the mountains – from where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1,2

COURAGE EARNED – A Breast Cancer Survivor’s Story

She regretted giving me the gift so late. “I’ve had this bracelet for months, and I’m so sorry that I’m just getting it to you now.”

I had been on Rebecca’s prayer list for the past eight months. She wasn’t the only friend praying for me ever since the breast cancer diagnosis hit me from out of nowhere. No, I made a point of never saying “I have breast cancer”. It was always “I was diagnosed with breast cancer”. I didn’t want to call it mine. I didn’t “have it”, and I certainly didn’t want it to “have me”.

The shining silver bracelet that Rebecca gave me had a pink stone and a charm shaped like the awareness ribbon. The word “courage” repeatedly engraved across a heart was what caused me to tell her that the gift was not late at all. It was right on time. I had earned this. IMG_1527

Before breast cancer I would have never described myself as courageous. I had that adjective reserved for the adventurous, the daring risk-takers, those gutsy girls who live for the moment and don’t care what people think. That wasn’t quiet, safe, routine-entrenched me.

However the cancer journey gave me a new definition of courage. Kara Tippits (The Hardest Peace) says it so well, “It takes courage, humiliating courage, to step aside from your own sovereignty and imagined control and begin looking for the gift that comes unmerited. Yes, I’m talking about grace.”

The red letters of 2 Corinthians 12:9 gave clarity to my brokenness. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” That’s the grace I wanted and needed so desperately—sufficient grace.

The diagnosis, the doctor appointments, the surgery, the chemo and radiation took me to incredible places of weakness and humble brokenness. At the beginning, I had no idea how I was going to do all of this. But taking one day at a time, each step of the way there was grace enough to go on. A loving husband and son, encouraging friends, nutritional support and prayer lifted me along the course plotted by the helpful staff of doctors and nurses. And looking at that bracelet, I finally felt courageous. IMG_1313 “Courage is not something that you already have that makes you brave when the tough times start. Courage is what you earn when you’ve been through the tough times and you discover they aren’t so tough after all.” (Malcolm Gladwell, David & Goliath)

Now I see the other courageous ones, the women with exceptionally short hair, those wearing the pink ribbon t-shirts, running in the “Race for the Cure”, who don’t want to see their friends or family members or anyone else have to go through the fire of cancer. October is the month to make others aware of what we know every day–until there’s a cure, we’ll be in the grandstands cheering for your sufficient grace.  – Karen K

IMG_0719Karen K. was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in July 2013. After a single mastectomy, 6 months of chemo, and 33 radiation treatments, she has regained her stamina and is getting her life back to a new normal.
Karen spent many hours knitting during and after her chemo treatments and says that knitting gave her a sense of renewal. “I made so many pairs of fingerless gloves! While everything inside of me was breaking down from the chemo, I got renewed hope as I interlocked those yarns to make these beautiful personalized gifts. I thought–how much more my creator God will knit me back together more beautiful than ever!” 

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