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Kate Taliaferro shares advance news about her free Advent planner: look for it next month!

For those unaware, and I realize it’s probably many, there’s this fascinating little event that happens in the world of knitting called an MKAL. A KAL, or Knit-A-Long, is something that knitters have been doing together for ages. A group of people decide to either knit the same pattern, the same type of item, or all use the same yarn, pick your theme, and then for a specific period of time do that project. People show off their finished work, help one another with new techniques or snags and generally enjoy the company of others who share their passion and craft. There’s CALs (that’s Crochet A-Longs), and SALs (Sew A-Longs); you get the picture.

But the MKAL, this is a whole other ball game. The “M” stands for “Mystery.” It works like this. You sign up to participate by buying the pattern. All you know is how much yarn you need, and what you’re making (shawl, hat, socks, and so on). That’s it. No pictures, no colors, no directions even. Everyone starts the same day when the first set of directions is sent out or shared by the designer. Then, over a series of weeks, the patter is slowly sent to you as you work. No one knows what’s coming next. It takes a lot of bravery and trust ... and no, I haven’t been brave enough to join one yet.

There is a fairly famous MKAL happening right now that I’ve been following, just to see how it all goes. I found the two phrases the designer kept repeating to the participants in his YouTube videos leading up to the MKALs start to have implications for all of life, not just knitting.


Phrase One: Just Say Yes, Don’t Stress

While many of us are very good at saying yes, and saying yes to too many things, it’s hard to say no to the people who are asking things of us. We struggle with disappointment, insecurity, not being good enough to handle all of life’s demands. I didn’t take this phrase to mean saying “Yes” to worldly things, but to God. Just say “Yes.” Surrender. Allow yourself to be led by Him and not to stress about what will come next.


Phrase Two: Embrace Your Own Pace

Within the MKAL, there are those who finish each piece of the pattern well before the next is revealed. It can be intimidating when you haven’t finished the previous section before the next one is sent out. This phrase says so much about a life well lived, a life lived for God. God isn’t asking us to live someone else’s life, even someone else like one of the saints we resonate with. God is calling us to live our life, the life He has gifted us with.


man on bicycle emerging from under a bridge


The second phrase is what has inspired this year’s Advent Journals. Each year, I create a unique and totally free Advent Journal for anyone and everyone to print and download. Everyone ought to be able to have a special and spiritual experience of Advent.

Embrace Your Own Pace journals this year are an opportunity to walk your own journey through Advent, but with a spiritual guide. It’s a bit like the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books from when you were a kid. There are four guides, or paths to choose from. You might find that one path matches with the pace of your life and you stay consistently on it from start to finish. Or, you may find yourself changing from one path to another as they intersect and your pacing needs to adjust. Briefly, here are the guides:

  • Joseph: Joseph’s pace is one of daily activity. Each day, there is an action to participate in that draws you closer to God and to the relationships you have. They also are designed to highlight the overall theme for the week.
  • The Magi: This path is a more intellectual path. Scripture and readings from saints and Church Fathers have been chosen for your reflection and growth. There is journaling space for the Magi’s path (though any path is welcome to use it, of course.)
  • Mary: Mary’s path is one of deeper pondering. Like the Magi, there is Scripture to reflect on, but also like Joseph’s there are some actions to consider participating in. Above all, Mary’s path is inspired by how Mary “pondered these things in her heart.”
  • The Shepherds: The Shepherd’s path is one of simplicity. Each week, there is one thing to do daily, or one prayer to say daily. These are small things, but hopefully habit building in that they will continue to gently reorient you to God in the midst of a busy schedule.


Click to tweet:
God isn’t asking us to live someone else’s life, even some one else like one of the saints we resonate with. #catholicmom

I hope that this idea for a journal is intriguing to you. Again, these will be free for anyone to download and print. They will be available on my blog in the later half of November.

If the idea of an MKAL was fascinating, here is the YouTube channel of the one referenced.

Copyright 2021 Kate Taliaferro
Image copyright 2021 Ben Taliaferro, all rights reserved, used with permission