Saturday, December 31, 2011

End of the year...

Purple Bachelor's Button Bokeh


In less than 12 hours it will be time to change calenders, get used to writing "2012" on our papers, and (hopefully) feel relief that 2011 is behind us.

I chose this picture today because it shows so well how the things up close are easy to see, and what is further down the road won't come into focus until we reach them. Each day brings new focuses and new challenges and it's not always important to know what the view tomorrow will be. Or even an hour from now. Each moment it is important to see the beauty of what is right in front of you.

I've been thinking a lot lately. About my life, the choices I made, the path to get to Here, the possible paths to There, yesterdays, todays, tomorrows. And most of those thoughts have made me glad to be who I am.

I have some very important people in my life right now. The most important ones are Anthony, Brianna, and Kevin. Coming close to them is my Dad and my chosen family (the ones I call Sisters). Without these people in my life, things would be dreary and empty.

I wrote about Kevin last month. I mentioned how he's brought me to my highest highs, as well as my lowest lows. He also has pushed me to grow more than anyone else. And has pushed me to stand my ground in times I'd normally give in. He's the first one I turn to with anything significant: ASC news, issues & triumphs with my children, sorrows and celebrations, fears and hopes. I will be forever grateful for all of that.

My children... There has not been a moment, since I knew of their existences, that has been dull or unimportant. Everything about their lives has touched my own in such a significant way that there really is no way to describe it. I have cried more, feared more, and become more angry than I thought possible. But I've also laughed more, faced more demons, and felt more love than I thought possible. I cannot imagine my life without them. I thank Spirit everyday for their presence in my life.

My Dad has come into my life only in the recent years. Through that, we've learned respect for each other, acceptance of our differences, and are building a wonderful relationship. It's like a chance to start with a clean slate with each other. We can meet each other as adults and grow from there. That is a rare and precious gift, and one that I cherish.

My chosen family... Oh, what a difference they have made to my life! The love and support from them has been overwhelming at times in its beauty. I leaned heavily on them during some really rough times. They encouraged me, loved me, and never let me down. They mean the world to me in more ways than I can describe.

This year has been tough financially, but our bills have gotten paid and we had food in the house. This year has been a roller-coaster emotionally, but I've grown through it and was able to share most of it with others. This year has been frightening physically, but I've learned so much about how to take good care of myself. And, perhaps most important, this year has really stretched my Faith, and even through that, I have felt the presence of Spirit, filling me with the strength to keep going.

Many people might look at my life as not-so-bad or even spectacular. That's really good, because then I can remember that I had a really good year. My loved ones were there through it all, and that made it an amazing year in my life.

I am looking forward to many more.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The day before the day...

Morning Mood


It's almost here. The day when we can really look at the clock and know that the day has begun to get longer. These few short days (since the 20th) have been overcast and dreary, and yet, after reading an interesting Daily Om, I reevaluated my outlook. Rainy days shouldn't be dreaded and depressing. Instead I should be focusing on how I can use the day as a time of reflection. Will this be easy? No, of course not. Few things really are.

On the 25th the days will begin to slowly grow. Oh, so slowly. But the knowledge that they are lengthening will give many people a renewed sense of hope and of peace. There are moments when I wish everyone could feel that on a daily basis. To be able to look at the dark times as a time to rest and gather their strength. Even when I forget it for myself, I still wish it for others.

I have an interesting variety of birds in my yard lately. From large crows to tiny finches, they all spend a little time here chattering at each other, plucking the last of the belladonna berries, and just watching over it all. I love watching their movements, each different from the others. There are times when all I want to do is to fly up there with them. To feel the small branches bend beneath my feet as the wind washes over me. Oh, to fly along the breezes as the world slips past me below! What a glorious thought!

Does this contradict with my fear of flying? Some people might think so. Still, I think it would be very different knowing that I am the one in control of my flight and not a bulky machine built by the lowest bidder.

I have a lot to finish this morning and so I must get going. I hope you are all having a wonderful day.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wintry

IMG_0191.JPG


"Deep in the wintry parts of our minds, we are hardy stock and know there is no such thing as a work-free transformation. We know that we will have to burn to the ground in one way or another, and then sit right in the ashes of who we once thought we were and go on from there."
-Clarissa Pinkola Est├ęs

The days are getting shorter and shorter now, of course. It's not an easy time of the year for many people for myriad reasons. I’m trying to look at the next couple weeks as a “shedding” time. For example, I’m shedding a dehydrated body by drinking more water. I’m shedding some of the cluttered spots in the house. I'm shedding some old ways of thinking that still hang on.

On December 20 the days will be at 9h10m and will hover there until the 25 when it will be 9h11m (found that info here, and yours will be different), and I will celebrate a “hesitation” of sorts and focus on how the darkness of Night affects me positively, such as time to dream, time to see the stars, time to connect. Once the days begin to lengthen, I will start focusing on how day positively affects me. And I will create new habits.

As for sharing the journey on my blog, and through my personal groups? I’m half afraid that if I do not, I may not reach my goals. Most of my life I have gone through things without a support network and it’s been so much of a struggle. Granted, that all did its part in helping me to grow, but growth comes with knowing my friends are there, too. Now I have many friends who are working along with me in all of this. I’m thinking this way, the burden might be lighter in a way.

As the days shorten, I truly hope you are able to find the time to reflect on the deep parts of your Spirit. The parts that are Self.

Namaste.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Shocked and confused

Yes, I was shocked by one of my reactions today. Intense jealousy and pain, then guilt because I felt that way. All of them hit me out of nowhere, leaving me sobbing. Yes, really sobbing, and now I feel emptied out.

You see, a friend's daughter arrived back in the states today from Iraq. I am so filled with happiness for them, but the other feelings... Anthony won't be home for a while more. This is our first holiday without him. Brianna & I will be alone, with each other.

I wasn't going to write about it, but maybe there is another parent out there who is feeling the same way. If you are reading this, please know that you are not alone. Please know that I am so grateful to you and your support for your loved ones so far away.

And to my friend? I would like to say to her, and to all the families who are so joyful today, I am so very sorry for my reaction. I truly am happy for you all and I really do appreciate all that you have gone through. My only excuse is that I miss my son, but I know he'd not want me to be sad, so I will turn on the music and reflect on how much you have all gone through to get to this point.

Namaste.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Rainy Days

Half an Arc

Sometimes it seems that the rain will never stop and the sun will stay hiding forever. But we all know better, logically, that the sun will come back. Until it does, I'm going to do my best to look for the rainbows. To trust in the turn of the Earth. To let go of the fears of failure.

I wrote a short little poem yesterday about the grey skies and Jack Frost. It made me smile a little to think of a little sprite bringing frostiness to the mornings, even as I dreaded trying to chip ice off the Jeep windows.

I'm focusing today on so many positive things in my life that the grey skies will seem like a softness, instead of the oppressive weight I usually see.

With all my heart, I hope you are all finding some beauty in this day. Whatever it might be... a candle flicker, a unique shape in the cloud, the glimpse of an eagle, a snowflake... whatever touches your Soul, I hope you see it.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Dark Days Challenge, Week 1

SOLE - sustainable, organic, local, ethical Well, I feel that my first week was a bit of a fail. I'm still looking for some local foods (by using  Local Harvest and Eat Well Guide)  and am going to expand my circle of where to look. However, I did buy some organic foods and enjoyed a butternut squash soup, a small salad and apple juice the other day. I'll keep trying though! Here is the soup I had with lots of veggies tossed in (and mushrooms):

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Truths

Water Spout!

I had an appointment this morning with a doctor to discuss my lab results. I've been more than a little stressed about this. I've been worried enough that my sleep has been disrupted nearly every night for the last couple of weeks. Even on the days when I felt really good, I also felt that nagging fear that the news would be bad. I've cried about the fear, I've had a hard time enjoying good things around me. And, through this all, I've done my best not to burden my loved ones with the worry, too.

Luckily, the results are nowhere near what I was afraid of. Yes, my sugar count is slightly elevated, but nothing that can't be taken care of here at home. And I will be doing my best to get it completely under control.

The other symptoms? The doctor says that they are most likely stress related. I've been thinking about that most of the morning. It's so easy for me to say that I will just stop stressing about stuff. And yet, I know better. The things I do worry about are real. Some are things that I can change if I work a little harder and a little longer. Other things? Well, they aren't in my control. So... I have to learn to let them go. I don't know how, exactly, since some aspects are an integral part of my life. One way or another, I'll get it figured out. And soon.

Today's weather is not the most pleasant and we might get a little snow by morning. Not enough to stick or anything, just enough to make things more slippery on the roads. Even that won't be a problem, though. The day will go swiftly and smoothly and I'll be ending the day listening to Brianna singing at her concert.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Day 15 of 15 - Thankfulness

Purrrrrrrple Flowerrrrrrrr


What a beautiful day! The air is brisk, the house is warm, cats are purring, and dinner will be awesome.

Today's prompt is "3 things about your life right now that you are thankful for."

My family: My children are the most spectacular blessings a person can imagine. They are healthy and loving and smart and beautiful and, well, completely full of awesome. When each one was born, I knew that I was the luckiest Mom in the Universe. They have helped to keep me focused on what is truly important in life. They have brought such joy to my Spirit that I'm sure they were chosen just for me. Through the years we've shared the strongest bond imaginable. I look forward to continuing my part in their journeys, stepping back when they need to stand on their own, hugging them when they need a little more strength, loving them through it all. 
   Some members of my family have only recently come into my life and I am so glad they found me! My Dad has come to mean the world to me and I am so thankful he's in my life now.  He's been patient while I get to know him as a man. He's welcomed almost every aspect of Me without reservation, and has shown me that paternal love really is as strong as maternal.
   Some of my family is by choice and they are so very special to me. We've shared laughter and pain, we've comforted each other and cheered each other on, we've connected on a level that I never thought possible, and that is also full of awesome. I cannot imagine not having them in my life.

My Self: I am thankful for knowing my own Self as well as I do. And I am so happy to be able to discover more and more beauty in that. The strength, courage, compassion, and love are amazing. The shadows only serve to show how much growth I still have the potential for and I am thankful for those as well. I love my creativity and my sensuality, and my humor, and my intelligence (even when I forget how to spell something). I am so thankful for this gift of Life and the ability to appreciate it.
   As I continue this process of growing and learning more about how I fit into this world, I feel empowered by the Spirit and by the vitality I feel.

Kevin: At no point in my life have I ever known someone like him. His intellect and love of knowledge shines through so brightly that you can't help but to be drawn to it. His passion for life is ever-growing. He has pissed me off more than any other person, and has inspired me more than any other person. As cliche as it sounds, I've experienced my highest highs and my lowest lows with him. He pushes me to be more true to myself than I thought possible. He also brings out the worst in me. In all my life, he's been the only person to touch my life as completely as this. My heart, my soul, my very essence has been intensified.

This has been a wonderful exercise in focusing on what I am really thankful for and I am so glad I participated. May you all feel the wonder of Life.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Day 14 of 15 - Thankfulness

Flowers on the Lawn


Today's prompt is "3 things that make you laugh that you are thankful for."

I have to admit that I don't feel particularly full of laughter today. Nothing is wrong, it just feels like a more somber evening than I thought it would. 

Kevin's quick wit: Many times he will catch me by surprise with something that he says with a straight face, but it's hilarious so I can't help but laugh out loud.


Brianna's snarkiness: Yes, she's a teenage girl, but her sharp tongue and quick words, teamed up with her facial expressions make me laugh. 


My cats' antics: They have me laughing on a daily basis. Between their plaintive begging, races through the house, games of hide-and-seek, and the odd positions they sleep in, they definitely make me laugh.

The morning wind

Mystery flowers in the sun


I woke this morning around 3:30 thinking that it was time to get out of bed for the day. As my mind came into focus I remembered that I only needed to deal with regular house stuff and knitting and I felt pretty happy about that. Once I looked at the clock I smiled at myself and went back to sleep.

When I woke the second time, I opened the blinds on the back window and looked out at the bare trees. Only a few leaves remain hanging on and I can't help but think about what my yard might look like a month from now. Two months from now.

My mind is whirling with ideas of a project. One that would start on the Solstice when the days begin to gain strength and would last for one year. In the past I've not had the discipline to stay with one whole year of daily projects, but the past is behind me and this is the year for being On Fire. I'm unsure of where my focus would actually be for this project since there are so many ideas. Spiritual teachings, herbs, photographs, writing, knitting, patterns, music, languages... and the list keeps growing. I have so many things I want to do and to try and to experience.

I know that I need to keep my energy balanced and not let myself give to other people to the point I've lost the desire for these things. That's a hard one for me since I express my love for them by giving of myself. And I keep giving until "I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter, scraped over too much bread". And then I'm only a fragile shell of the vibrant woman I can be. When this happens, there are a few people who help me take a step back from the worries, who help me with re-balancing, who hug me simply because I look like I need it. These people are some of the most amazing people I know. They love me and support me through those times without making me feel like I'm less

I feel good knowing that the unbalanced times are fewer. I'm learning more about staying on my path and not getting sidetracked. I'm learning that I can not hold up everyone. These are not easy things to learn, but they are vital to my Spiritual health. What do I do with the hurt I sometimes feel by someone's actions? I haven't learned how to deal with that one yet.

For the time being, I'm going to enjoy the beauty of the blue sky outside my window, the music playing through my speakers, the lovely lace yarn between my fingers, and the warm feeling that comes from loving who I am.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Day 13 of 15 - Thankfulness

Utata Speaks '08 - The Elements

Today's prompt is "3 things about your belief system/faith/spiritual path that you are thankful for."

This is an interesting question and one that really made me think. 

Connection: I feel a greater connection to the sacred Spirit than I did while following other religions. I learned to listen more and observe the way I fit into the world a little. I truly feel as if I'm connected to everything around me. Sometimes that is actually hurtful (when I see intolerance) but most of the time, it just helps me realize how special life is. For almost 14 years, I have felt that connection growing and I have relied heavily on it when things weren't going well for me. I've also reveled in the feeling of that connection during times of great joy.

Flexibility: I love the fact that I can follow a strict set of guidelines for a ritual, or I can totally wing it, depending on how I'm moved at the time. This allows me to enjoy the practice even more. I know that I can take my time when I feel the need for more structure. I can also feel sure in knowing that even a few moments of my time can bring me closer to my center and help connect my Spirit.

Natural: In so many ways, I feel that my chosen path has brought me even closer to nature and living a natural life. I've learned even more about natural healing, have been able to identify more plants, and have been more prone to put my knowledge into action.

-

I know this one is short, but I have several things that need to be accomplished today, and I really need to focus on them. I hope you all have a great day!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Day 12 of 15 - Thankfulness

Winding into the Rain Forest


Today's prompt is "3 things found in Nature that you are thankful for."

If I just put Nature, Nature, and Nature, will that count? No? Okay.

Green: Just the green of the moss, of the leaves, of the grass. Green softly whispering in early spring. Boldly shouting in Summer's heat. Slowly diminishing in Autumn's Chill. Green is one of the loveliest colors of Nature.

Rain: The way it falls softly or pours down. The life it brings and the destruction it can render. The way it smells on the wind in the summer out in the desert. The sound it makes as it hits maple leaves. The cool kiss of moisture on my bare skin. The damp grass after the clouds have gone. Rain makes me feel like tomorrow will be alright.

Sunshine: Nothing can brighten my mood faster than standing in the sunshine. No matter the season, the sun always brings a deep feeling of peace to me and it's better than any drug in the world. Really.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Day 11 of 15 - Thankfulness

Cold Morning Sunrise


Today's prompt is "3 friends who have inspired you that you are thankful for."

As I write this, I think of all the friends I'm truly thankful for and who have helped me through a lot of hard times, and cheered me on when I needed it. How do I choose only 3?


April: Through the time we've known each other, she has inspired me to be healthier, more aware of my Self, and has shown me how fast a friendship can blossom in such a short amount of time. She opened her home up to me and my loved ones with no hesitation and that means the world to me. She has talked me through a couple of times when I began to lose hope in my own heart. She also has been a steady beacon when I'm afraid of tomorrow.

Anna: Even though our friendship ended on a sour note, through the years she was always there for me. I had some really rough times and she helped me through them on so many levels. When I needed a shoulder to cry on, a heart to hear my fears, or a light to help me smile, she was there.

Kevin: He helped me learn what it means to forgive. Not just for the small things, but the really deep ones as well. He helped me to say "yes" to my kids, to laugh more, to dream bigger, to love more fiercely, and to have more faith in my own Self. It is partly because of him that I accept help from others, look for the good in people, and hold a glimmer of hope that tomorrow will be better than yesterday. And love? He has shown me how to accept that on levels I didn't even know existed. These few words can not convey my thankfulness in all of that.


There are so many others who have touched my heart and have helped me through dark times while sharing the Light. I cannot possibly list them all, but I hope they know that they are in my heart.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Day 10 of 15 - Thankfulness

Yellow Flowers with Heart Shaped Petals


Today's prompt is "3 teachers who touched your life that you are thankful for."

 I realize the answers I'll be putting may not fit the way the question is intended, but teachers come from everywhere, right?

Pauline McDowell: This woman was known to me as "Grammie". When I was only eight years old, she taught me a bit about chickens (beheading them, how their insides worked, and cooking). When I was 12, I got to spend a week at her house and she taught me how to sew. That summer, nearly all my clothes were made by me. I've been able to carry those lessons with me through my whole life.

Robert McDowell: The man I called Dad while I was growing up taught me so many things. How to wire a lamp, how to replace a toilet, repairs to a vehicle, how to stay calm when the vehicle is on fire, how to drive, how to choose my battles, and even how to let go.

Eva Crosier: Grandma. She taught me that it takes more strength to be feminine than to be masculine (yes, I can hear several feminists already getting huffy about this one). In this day and age, strong women are expected to be tough and fierce, but she taught me that soft-spoken words can have more of an impact than loud, brash ones. Cussing doesn't make you stronger, but standing firm in your beliefs does. And sometimes, swallowing the pain that a loved one is causing, really is the best way to deal with it. 

-

A huge thank you to Bev, for letting me use her pictures. There will be many more to come. Please click on her picture to see even more of her photography.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Day 9 of 15 - Thankfulness

108: Happy Yule!

Today's prompt is "3 upcoming events that you looking forward to and are thankful for."

This one is actually pretty easy.

Thanksgiving: I get this twice each year, due to family obligations & such. Thursday with my daughter and possibly Kevin. Sunday with everyone (Brianna, Kevin & his kids). I really do enjoy spending the time with them and laughing together.


Yule: This year will be a little challenging since Anthony won't be here, but Brianna and I are going to be making it a wonderful day anyway. I'm thankful for the blessings of the time with my kids, even when they're far away.

My next tattoo: This is actually happening in June and I'm really getting excited about it. I'll be traveling to Asheville and will be staying with friends while I have it done. This tattoo has been in my thoughts for quite some time and I think June would be the best time for it to be done.I'm so glad that I've been able to continue growing and becoming the woman I want to be. This tattoo is a symbol of that growth, those changes, the vitality.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Day 8 of 15 - Thankfulness

Hey! We're just over halfway done. This really has been a great way for me to stay focused about what I'm thankful for.

Today's prompt is "3 things in your home that you are thankful for."

I think it goes without saying that I'm thankful for my daughter, and my cats, so I'm going to focus more on material. Sometimes I think I try too hard to push that kind of thankfulness aside since it seems so... shallow?

My computer/internet: This allows me to connect to so many people, look up information, play music & movies, stay in touch with Anthony better, run my business, find patterns, buy gifts for people, pay my bills, and so much more.


Yarn stash: Okay, okay, I know what some of you are thinking (she's got too much yarn), but I really am thankful for all my yarn (separate from the shop stuff). I have some really beautiful colors and textures and I know that when I'm starting a project, I don't have far to go to find the "just right" yarn. Only rarely do I need to actually make a purchase and that is usually because I'm making a specific gift for soemone.


My plants: A lot of these are unusual plants (orange tree, coffee bush, banana tree) and several of them were gifts. I can tell you who the plants came from, even after several years. I love the way they look scattered through the house and they help me to stay grounded and at peace.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Day 7 of 15 - Thankfulness

Today's prompt is "3 inspirational songs you are thankful for."

Songs have always been important to me. Not just the tune, but the lyrics. Those were the parts that would touch my deepest heart.

Annie's Song, because it sums up how I feel and have felt for a very long time.






Point of Faith because it touches the part of me that keeps forgetting to honor my Self and helps me to refocus.


American Pie because my kids always sing along with me.


Old Times...

Recently a friend posted a question asking "What is it that makes YOU feel like it's old times?" It was a harmless question and one meant to generate conversations. I thought about it. I thought about what I do, or have done, that made me feel that nostalgic sweetness. And nothing came to mind.


So many new things are going on in my life and so many other things are gone forever. 

Sunday mornings with Cinnabons & Starbucks. Summer evenings listening to music while having great conversations. Solstice morning with the kids so excited about what they get to open. These are gone. Part of it is the location. Yes, there are summer evenings here, but the air always seems different, so it feels new instead of "old times".


So many changes. Anthony is an adult now. Brianna's not that far from it. I'm nowhere near where I'd imagined I would be at 40. Different friends, different job, different living situation, different outlook. I have a whole family that I didn't grow up with. I have a whole family that is no longer there. I also have a family that isn't really mine so I don't share memories with them, either.


Part of me is sad that I will not feel that warmth of sharing old times with someone. Part of me is looking forward to the new stuff. They conflict at times. And I feel tears begin at the bitter-sweetness of it all.


-----

November 18, 2011

I was emailing Anthony the other morning (we kind of have email “chats” on some days) and I shared with him this post and told him ”I know that, for me, there is nothing here that could bring me that feeling, so it’s sad. The summer nights here are so humid that no one really wants to be outdoors, there’s no relief from the heat like there was in Phoenix. The friends I have now are totally different than back then. Anyone who knew me “back then” is no longer even a little part of my life and I’ve grown so far beyond wanting them back (even the family) that it would be more awkward than anything.”

This is what he wrote back to me:

but on the bright side, you started your business despite all of the non-nostalgia. you are living your dream without the “good ol’ day” feeling. Maybe your “Good Ol’ Days” are the ones your living right now. And in 20 years, you’ll look back and say “yes, those were my golden years. They may have been late, but they were the best years of my life”

-

I’m in tears right now for how awesome this kid is!



Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Day 6 of 15 - Thankfulness

Today's prompt is "3 things you can see right now that you are thankful for."

Well, this was an interesting prompt. Oddly enough the items were all material, too.

Speakers: I am thankful for these for a couple reasons. They were given to me when my old ones broke (which kind of broke my heart). I've used them to listen to music, news, books, tutorials, and so much more. The stuff that comes from them really helps enhance my life.


Spinning wheel: Oh, the emotions that come up with this! This wheel is truly a work of art and the best part? It came from my friends and was a birthday present. Every time I spin with this, I will think of how wonderful these women are.


Camera: With this device I am able to post pictures in my shop, capture moments of my daughter, the weather, the cats, the flowers, the moon, the World. I love it all.



Monday, November 14, 2011

Day 5 of 15 - Thankfulness



Today's prompt is "3 animals, past or present, that you are thankful for".

Oh, how my animals have blessed my life! I have loved them all and it was a challenge narrowing down to only 3.



Storm: This cat was my companion through 1990 through 1992 and I can't help but smile each time I think of her. She came to me as a tiny ball of fluff during a severe thunderstorm (hence her name) and brought such joy to my heart. During my pregnancy with Anthony, she would nip at my ankles when I'd been standing too long (I was placed on bed-rest at 5 months) and would curl up and sleep on my lap when I sat back down.




Serephina: This cat came to us in the middle of the night and worked her way into all of our hearts. She is a typical cat in the fact that she will accept attention when she wants it and will walk away otherwise. She has this wonderful knack of knowing when I'm feeling a little down and will lay on my lap purring until I can't help but smile.






Aurora: I could say so much about this cat. She is like no feline I've ever had before and I can't even begin to tell of all the smiles and brightness she's brought to my life. She loves to drape herself across our shoulders and sleep, she helps our days to be a bit brighter, she purrs almost constantly, and she is so very playful.



Sunday, November 13, 2011

Day 4 of 15 - Thankfulness

Tiger Lilies


Today's Prompt is "3 things about your childhood that you are thankful for."

It's interesting that I'm actually writing about my childhood this month so this subject has already been on my mind a lot.

Time in Tennessee: I was about eight years old when we moved to Tennessee and I can remember so many different and wonderful memories. I am thankful for the time we spent in the white house in Luray. Those days were filled with so much wonder and magic that it felt like an enchanted time. We had chickens and goats, a vegetable garden, and a neighbor we could barter with for apples, sausage, and more. My mom was happy there and her dreams seemed to flow like water and the times really were happy. 


My Mom's guitar: There are so many songs that she sang to us while playing her guitar, that hardly a week goes by when I don't hear a song that reminds me of her. She played for us regularly when I was little and the memories are still strong.


Books: My life was filled with books. I can remember looking through The Trumpeter Swan when I was only three (I know this because my brother was not walking yet) and marveling over the writing. I knew that they were the ones my Mom would read to me and I wanted to much to read for myself. When I finally did learn (before the age of five), entire worlds opened up to me.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Day 3 of 15 - Thankfulness




Today's prompt is "3 relatives or people from your past that you are thankful for."

 Pastor Tim Sheldon: When my mom chose to home-school me, I lost touch with a lot of my friends (it was still a really weird thing to do back then) and my parents decided that I could make new friends by going to church. I was able to visit a lot of different ones before choosing the Peoria Presbyterian. Pastor Tim was one of the most patient and understand people I'd ever met. When I questioned the gender of God, he answered my questions in a way that made sense to me. When I questioned passages in the Bible, he helped me to understand them. he showed me that it was okay to question the writings of men, and that I was a wonderful person, even if others might not see it.






Carolyn Crosier: My mother was such a confusing person to me. I can remember so much wonder in my early years and so much frustration in the late teens. But she taught me a very strong sense of self-reliance. It is because of her that I can manage my money well, can mend my own clothes, have the determination to fix something even when I don't have the right parts, appreciate Nature, and so much more. I could probably post a whole book about her. 


David B. McClure: I've written of him before, and I will today as well. This man, slow in body due to a severe stroke, but quick of mind, always treated me with respect and kindness. Not once did he make me feel as though I were an outsider to his family. He talked with me as an equal and loved my children for the beautiful people they are. His intelligence shined in his eyes and he loved to laugh. While I didn't have him in my life for many years, the time I did have will always be in my treasured memories.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Day 2 of 15 - Thankfulness



Today's prompt is "3 veterans you know that you are thankful for."

Hmm, to narrow this down to only three.

R.L. Crosier. My Grandpa served 3 years in the Navy during World War II. I remember him as a giant of a man who rose above all of us. He loved joking and playing pranks on us, and was one of the smartest men I knew. Even with his somewhat gruff voice and rough-housing ways, I knew that he loved us. More than that, I knew that he loved my Grandma more than his own life. He also brought a lot of magic to our lives in subtle ways. I know both of his daughters (my mom and aunt) looked up to him and did their best to make him proud, even after becoming adults. 


He liked us to figure out the answers to his questions on our own. I am thankful for all his patience.




Robert R. McDowell. This is the dad that raised me. He served in the Air Force in Korea, but I don't know how many years. I know that, even with his age (38 years older than me), he did his best to raise children young enough to be his grandchildren. 


He like to do things to make us think. I think that is one of the most important lessons I ever learned from him and I'm so thankful for that. It has helped me in so many ways through my life and I hope I've done a good job in passing that on to my own children.



Thomas W. Grubb. This is the dad that gave me life. He served 2 tours in Vietnam (not consecutively.) Through the years we were separated, he did his best to make sure that, when he found us again, we would know that he loved us and thought of us the whole time. After he and my mom went their own ways he didn't have any more children. His reason? He didn't want us to think that he'd replaced us. As we build a relationship after so many years of not knowing each other, I am thankful for his patience and his love.


I have learned a lot about love and forgiveness from him. And I think that is a wondrous thing.


There are so many more veterans I am thankful for, and I hope they all know that they are among the ones I honor today with my prayers, my gratitude, and my love.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Day 1 of 15 - Thankfulness





Today's prompt is "An author, artist and musician you are thankful for."

An author: Most of you may already know that I read a lot of fantasy fiction (Kushiel's Legacy, Mists of Avalon, Lord of the Rings, etc), and even these books give me a lot of inspiration in various areas of my life. Luckily, the prompt didn't ask for "most inspirational" because just coming up with one  would be no easy task. 

I choose Dr Jean Shinoda Bolen. When I first read her book, Crossing to Avalon, I was touched by the journey she took and, even though I was nowhere "mid-life", I was at a heartbreaking crossroads. With her writing, I felt inspired to make a trek of my own. Not necessarily in her footsteps, but in a path all my own. There are spiritual places I will be visiting in this country, hopefully in other countries, and inside my own Self.




An artist: I love beauty in so many forms. Painting, photography, sculpture, it's all lovely to me. When I see something beautiful I am filled with a nearly overwhelming feeling that I am so happy to be alive just so I can witness such a lovely gift.

I am choosing Ansel Adams this time around. I don't have all the keywords that art critics use, but his stuff takes my breath away. In so many of his photos I can see... well, Spirit. From the simplicity of a pine-cone to the grandeur of the Grand Canyon, it all holds so much depth and richness and a sense of being in the moment.


A musician: Music is such an important element of my life. I cannot remember a time when I wasn't touched by melodies and lyrics and how they blended together to create outlets for emotions. Even now, one of the first things I do each day is turn music on. Turning it off is one of the last things I do (if I turn it off at all).

Aeone's music has always had the power to lift my spirits, bring calmness to my day, and fill me with a greater sense of Self. I discovered her more than 10 years ago, when some wondrous changes were taking place in my life and I still associate her music with that Life-affirming time.


And now, I'm going to enjoy the beautiful day I am having.

I also want to add that I'm thankful for the generosity of two photographers who share their work and let me share it, too. GhoSStrider and ACWMaiden

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

15 Days of Thankfulness

One of the blogs I like to read is Cordelia's Cauldron. She always has wonderful and uplifting things and I do strive to be more like that. She also asks that we challenge ourselves a little with some of her questions. A little while ago, she went through 44 Days of Witchery and just now she posted for 15 Days of Thankfulness. I'm going to do my best to join this each day as a wonderful way of focusing on what I am blessed with. Here are the prompts for each day:


I think this would be a really good way to get to know yourself just a little bit better.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Anger...

I've been angry this week. I was determined to let it go, but even today it still bothers me that I am hurt by someone's casual actions. And so, I'm angry at myself for allowing the hurt to happen. And the situation is stupid, really, but it's sitting there, hurting.

So, I decided that I will write about it after all. When I confide in someone, I am sharing a piece of my own spirit. I am trusting that they are strong enough to hold that piece lightly and not to crush it. And I walk away feeling that something is really good in the world. I feel Trust with that person. Maybe not enough to share deeper parts of my spirit with, yet, but the trust is there and it's like a tiny spark, lighting up a dark spot.

When that trust gets broken, for whatever the reason, I try to blow it off, as if it's not a big deal, as if it doesn't hurt. But the day has dimmed a bit. Flavor has dulled. The sun doesn't shine quite as brightly. And still I smile, hoping the feelings will dissipate with a little more time. Instead, I begin to feel small inside. Hard. A little bitter. When I come across that person, my energy sharpens into pinpricks, I don't wish them harm, exactly, but I wish they would not be there.

This is where I am right now. I am hurt and angry. I chide myself for these feelings since I know they will do no good. I meditate on forgiveness. I light my candles in the hopes that I can focus on better things. And the anger wells up, right along with the hurt. I'm supposed to be better than this. I'm supposed to rise above these feelings.

The other person? They don't know the hurt or anger they caused. And I don't see a way to tell them. And so, I'm angry. And hurt. And haven't figured out a way to release it. And that makes me sad since I know it will just cause more issues in other relationships in my life.

I know this will pass. I know I am better than this. I know that my Spirit will rise.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Mincing words?



So, how does a person reconcile the elation of a great day with the total frustration of having someone pick apart your words?

Okay, I know that's just random, but here's a little explanation: Years ago, I would just say what I was thinking. I didn't take care that my language was precise or exact. My conversations were peppered with well-turned phrases and little idioms that rolled together to create a beautiful flow of verbal pictures. Then things changed and I tried to be clear about what I really meant with a sentence. "Today's the best day of my life!" became "Today is one of the best days I've had so far." My exuberance at everything became subdued and diminished and I began to really despair. It got to the point where I would take a sentence apart in my head several times before uttering a word aloud and what finally came out was clipped and devoid of any of the original brightness.

I found myself disliking the person I had become. Where was my chaos? Where was my freedom? Where was my love of words? They faded. Over time, some of that has come back and I am "recovering". Eventually I feel certain that I will regain even more of that spontaneous spill of words that I once had. And yet, there are times when someone I'm close to questions or tries to correct the things I say. And it pisses me off.

So, tonight I'm a little mad. Why? Because I had the nerve to say, "And you call yourself a vampire fan?" to my daughter. She jumped in with, "I never called myself that!" and proceeded to tell me that she likes them a little but she's not a fan or anything like that. Fine. You're not a fan. I'll try to forget the times you spent researching various vampire myths. I'll try to forget all the details you would tell me about Elizabeth of Bathory and Vlad the Impaler. Yeah, I'll just wipe that from my head. Someone please pass the brain scrubber so I can erase months and months of hearing all about vampires.

Yes, precise grammar is important to me. Proper spelling is important to me. But I don't like feeling like I have to be so damn careful with how I phrase things.

We talked about it. Actually, I told her that I didn't want her to take apart my words. I explained to her how it made me feel and that I don't like being so careful all the time. I also let her know that it's okay for her to want precision in her life, but that she needs to not force it on other people around her. Some people enjoy chaos and letting things roll off their tongues. While I understand the need to speak concisely at times (and with some people almost all the time), I chafe under the weight of it.

I think she understands. I hope she understands. If she's going to be dealing with unique people for the rest of her life, she needs to understand.

We'll see how it pans out the next time it happens.

Monday, September 26, 2011

An annual gift


According to the calender, the equinox has passed. In reality it is today. Yes, now is the time when the day and the night are equal. The balance is right now. Tomorrow, the  night will begin to tip the scale her direction and we will continue our spiral around.

I love Autumn and always have. In Phoenix it was the time to be outdoors even more, well into the evenings, talking with friends, lighting bonfires in the back yard (not mine since it was way too little), breathing a sigh of relief that you made it through another summer. Up here there is a nip in the air most mornings, the trees are thinking about trying on different colors, and we have Honeycrisp apples.

I have begun looking forward to this time of the year for other reasons as well. One is a very personal reason and it involves a man who accepted me as part of his family even though there were no blood or legal ties. He called my children his grandchildren without hesitation. He laughed at my occasional joke and included me in his conversations. Not once did he act as though I were anything other than an intelligent, beautiful woman. Although I didn't know him for very long, I am truly happy that I knew him at all. So, why do I think of him this time of the year? Because I believe he was watching over me one morning in early October several years ago while I was driving to work. I was upset at being excluded from something important. I was crying while driving. I was driving way too fast on curved roads. Then, as I came around a sharper curve, I saw it. The trees in front of me were on fire with Autumn color and the early morning sun. I slowed down. I stopped my car. I got out and sat on my hood for a little while, listening to everything around me. There were birds, a little wind, the sound of a random car. Mostly there was silence. And in that silence I knew he was telling me that it was going to be alright. That he included me in his thoughts and prayers and love. That I had a lot to live for and there were people who loved me and appreciated me, even when they didn't show it clearly.

Each year since then, around this time, I have come across some unexpected beauty and it takes my breath away. I know that he's a part of that. And I always stop to listen when it happens. Because I know it's for me. And that I am loved.

I hope you all feel loved.

(please click on the picture to see more photos by this talented photographer.)


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Today





Today. I sit here now and feel a little tired. In a good way. Today was filled with emotion. Filled to the brim with love from women all over. Filled with the joy of knowing how I am loved.

I got my wheel today. I'm amazed at all the detail and beauty and the love of it all. And I cried. There is a part of me now, a part that is shiny and amazing. I shared that part with the ones who were involved, but I won't share it here.

What I want to share here is this: Love really is the greatest gift. Sometimes it takes on different forms and some of those are unrecognizable to others. Patience while a daughter comes to terms with having a Dad. Asking about a large waffle iron from a restaurant supplier because it was mentioned in a conversation long ago. A hug wrapped in fiber and a pretty card that could be read again and again. A skein of yarn to create something beautiful with. A hug from a teenager simply because you look like you need one. An email from an adult child just asking how your day was.  A wind-chime that used to welcome everyone into the house. A tissue passed to you in church because you can not stop the tears from falling. A vivid sunset in the fall to remind you to take a moment for yourself.

All of these have been given to me out of Love. Each are moments that I treasure and hold dear. And I am so blessed.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A small thing...


Sometimes it is the smallest of items that have the most significance. A tiny object can cause great joy, or even deep sorrow. And the impact can come as a surprise when you are not expecting a change in a situation. Sometimes change can be exhilarating, and other times it can be frightening. I've found that many times change can be both at the same time.

Tonight (this morning) I'm thinking about various dreams I had when I was much younger. Dreams of changes in the world around me. Dreams of how my life would be. Dreams of the home I would have. I think about how those have all fallen by the side of the road. Most of the time, those were replaced with something else. When a dream is laid to rest, you're supposed to create another one, right? But what happens when a person has left behind all their old hopes and can no longer find new ones? What happens when they are so tired of knowing that their dreams won't come true that they no longer can find the brighter future?

I think a lot of people have been at that point at least once. What happens to them? Do they have a good friend who will help them face the dawn without trepidation? Do they have a way to bring more Light to their hearts? Do they find a new way to have faith? Or do they begin to fade away in their own Spirit? I wish I knew. I certainly want that for them. I want all people to have hope in their lives, to see the light in their hearts, to find faith, and, mostly, I want them to believe enough to create new dreams.

I am blessed with the people I have in my life. The ones who remind me that I can inspire other people. The ones who listen when I need a sounding board. The ones who tell me the truth, even when it's hard to bear. The ones who give a small token that holds a lot of significance and reminds me that some things are solid and true. The people who love me without  reservation.

I am thankful for those blessings. May you all have a peaceful night.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Summer's decline






By Friday, the length of day will be an hour less than the first of the month. Strange to think of that already. It hit me strongly last night while I was on the phone with my Dad. We were discussing something about the Jeep and I noted how dark it was outside at only 8:45. And, like so many other things lately, it made me stop and think about the passage of time.

Brianna starts high school next week. That seems so strange, and so right, to me. She has a new era of her life to go through and she's just about to begin it. She surprised me with some of the electives that she wants to take. Such as chorus (they call it "choir" up here, but it will always be "chorus" to me.) She has grown to a point where she is willing to sing in front of other people. Granted, it's in a group and her individual voice won't be heard, but at least she's reached that point. Next semester she will be taking welding. I have to admit that I'm a little worried about that one, but I know the teacher will go over all the safety rules that Brianna will need.

And me? I will be returning to my favored schedule of dyeing yarn during the day (instead of into the evening) and listening to a variety of books. I have several things I'm thinking about and this will be a great time to do them.

I hope you are all having a blessed day.

Friday, August 19, 2011

What we do in life...


I've been thinking a lot lately. The way I am isn't always how I want to be and I think that is probably the same for many people. I think about the words I see on the USMC billboards. Honor. Courage. Commitment. True, they are meant to inspire the young people to strive to be more than themselves, but we all can strive for the same.

Honor. Are the things I do really honorable? Can I look back on my life and know that I didn't take a situation and use it for my own pleasure? Can I be certain I did the best I could to be fair to others? Can I look forward and know, without a doubt, that I am honest and have no illicit dealings that hurt my Spirit? Can I look, with clarity, at myself and be proud of the person I am?

Courage. Do I step up to a situation even when it scares the jeebies out of me? Do I help others find their own inner strength?  Do I act in accordance to my beliefs, even in the face of adversity? Do I show fortitude in life?

Commitment. Have I given my all to a situation? Do the people who rely on me know that I will be there for them? Have I stayed the course, even when my responsibilities seem too heavy to bear? Do my loved ones know, by my past actions, that they can count on me to be there for them in times of trouble?

Sadly, there are some questions I have to answer with a, "No." And those are the areas I need to work on. Perhaps some people would say that the "yes" side would outweigh the "no" side, and they might be right. But that doesn't mean the room for improvement is diminutive. On the contrary! The way I would see it is that the "no" side is much heavier in the balance of my Spirit, and even more work is needed to lighten it.

Does all of this mean that I'm in a melancholy mood today? Not in the least. I have the power and energy to continue recreating my life. Each moment, each breath, each blink of my eyes. And with every genesis, the person I wish to be is becoming more and more assured.

...echoes in Eternity.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Adapt... or die



When you look at nature you can see that everything changes and adapts to the environment. Coyotes have learned to scrounge in populated areas, wolves have learned to hunt livestock instead of wildlife, hawks have learned to build nests on ledges of buildings and even mountain lions have been known to hunt in town.

So, as humans, shouldn't we do the same? Yes, we have learned to make our environment change to suit us (which I also believe makes us a weaker species, but that's a post for another day), but we also adapt to the environment we live in. We change to fit the circumstances we are given, to the best of our ability. A person is given a choice: change your eating habits, or diabetes will kill you; learn to use a wheelchair or stay in bed all day; accept the way a loved one is or live without them in your life. And so, people change. Or, they die. Whether physically, spiritually, or emotionally, they die. And they bring down the people around them. When the person changes their food choices, they live longer and their family is happy to have them around. When the person starts moving around town in the wheelchair they are given a different kind of freedom and their friends are happy to see them out & about. When a person opens up enough to accept a loved one's choices (whether career, family size, life partners, religion, politics, etc.) they get the chance to watch their loved one grow and learn.

And even with all that, there are environments we need to stand firm and refuse to adapt to. An abusive relationship, a job that has a dead end, a town that saps your energy. For these things, we need to find our own strength and stand tall, knowing that our refusal to adapt will bring us greater growth of spirit. Even when it takes a long time to get out of that situation. And, it is only up to us to know which environments we should change to suit us, and which ones to adapt to.

I hope you're all having a wonderful night and wake feeling refreshed & alive.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Time...

Fading with Time

"But time, keeps flowing like a river, to the sea, to the sea,
Till its gone forever, gone forever, gone forever...
" Eric Woolfson

I've been a little melancholy for the past bit of time. I won't go into detail about it all, but part of it is simply the passage of time and some of the possibilities of the future. I say possibilities because no one really knows what will happen tomorrow, or even today. We're told to live our life to the fullest and to seize the day and even to have no regrets. But, sometimes, I truly wonder just how that can happen. The yesterdays add up and, once in a while, you can look at the mistakes that you made and be glad for the lessons learned, but regret the hurt anyway.

That's when the questions begin. How could I have been a better parent? How could I have been a better spouse? Lover? Friend? Daughter? Granddaughter? Person? Yes, we can make changes at any given moment, but we also must still remember the past so we don't mess things up again.

Even with this "melancholy-ness", I look forward to my tomorrows. Time is passing and I've been looking at some things that it's time to let go of. Not because I want to, but because there aren't other options. And, at the same time, there are new things on the horizon that, I'm hoping, will bring more growth and Life to my life.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Accomplishments

Ready for paint




Tonight I'm very tired and will be heading to bed in just a few minutes. Today has been very busy for me. Journaling, casting on more socks, sanding a desk, applying the first coat of paint to the desk, exercising, and dyeing yarn. No wonder I'm ready to nod off in my seat.


Still, I feel really good about this day. This first day of August. Lughnasadh. First Harvest. My harvest isn't anything from my garden, but a wonderful sense of accomplishment and a feeling of looking forward to the next Harvest (Mabon), and, my birthday.

I will be forty this year. That excites and frightens me. But I will be stepping into the next few months with a strong sense of purpose. No matter the losses or lessons, since I know they are what is needed for my growth.

I hope you all had a wonderful and blessed day.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Storms


Storms moved through town yesterday and I couldn't help but to feel awe at the power and beauty in them. The bright flashes of lightning followed immediately by the clap of thunder, all harmonized with the steady downpour of rain to create a wonderful symphony of energy. (If you click on the picture, you'll get to see a much bigger version.)

Before the storm actually hit I was lucky enough to get some cool pictures of the clouds and you can see the formations, which, I must say, is pretty darn cool.

But I also felt a need to look inward as the energy swirled around me. Changes are occurring in my physical and spiritual world and I'm not quite ready for them, yet. So, I'm taking these changes one moment at a time, trying to adjust, trying to stay calm. I know that some of these changes are meant to be and some of them are unstoppable, so I must learn to be stronger through them and hold on for the ride. I know many of the physical changes can be helped with changes to what I eat and to how much I move so I can alleviate some of that. The spiritual changes? Lots of journaling and meditation are in store for me. Above all, staying in touch with my friends who understand these changes and can remind me of how brightly I can shine is one of the most important ways for me to make it through this next step on my journey.

On this stormy, energetically powerful day, I hope you are all feeling positive about your tomorrows.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Patience and parenting


Some days I wish my parenting was finished. Today is one of those days. Don't get me wrong, I love both of my kids and feel truly blessed to have them in my life. I really do feel they are gifts. It's just that when I have to be the ogre and follow through with the rules/punishments I put in place it creates tension and anger. One of those times is coming up and I'm not looking forward to it. I am fairly certain when I reiterate one of the main rules about cleaning the bedroom, as well as the rule about the cell phone, I will be ignored. I recognize that it's just the way for a teen to push the limits and try to stretch the boundaries. I realize it's a normal thing for a person who is becoming an adult to do. Still, it bothers me that I have to play hardball.

I am pretty certain that Brianna will not clean her room in the time I've given her. I'm also pretty certain she will not stick to the hours she was supposed to work for me. And so, I will have to clean out the room myself (by getting rid of most of what's in there) and I'll have to suspend her phone account.

Am I nervous that she will see this? No, I know she doesn't read any of my blogs. And I can only think of two people who might read it and tell her. Of course, if they did, they would be causing more harm than good since Brianna needs to make her own decisions and learn from the consequences. True, she is still young, but she is old enough to know what she's supposed to do. (Yes, I realize one of those people might tell her just to spite me and the other would tell her "to help her out", but they would be wrong in doing so.)

And so, I sit here tonight in peace and quiet, knowing that the storm is on its way.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

A quiet morning






Some mornings are just better for writing than others. This morning was such a morning. The house was quiet, there was a soft breeze coming through the window, and I had so many thoughts rushing through my head that I could hardly lay there a moment longer.

I have been looking back on the way things have turned out in my life. Areas that still need a lot of work, areas that have blossomed beautifully, areas that need to be released, and areas that were finally laid to rest. Through this thought process I came to realize that there are things in my life that still fall into all those categories, or are getting ready to be re-categorized.  I can't help but think of how funny it can be when too much significance is placed on one thing or another and how imbalanced everything becomes because of it. We all do this. We all start to focus on one thing or another and then look back and wonder why parts of our lives fell apart. Or we look back and see how enhanced out lives were by certain events.

Does all this sound a little mysterious? I don't mean it to. I just know that I have done a lot of growing and I'm grateful for the chance to continue growing.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Deep breaths...



There are times when my online presence is nearly non-existent. Yes, I fill orders and respond to customers, but I don't interact with people. Why does this happen? Mainly because the things in my life are taking away more energy that I am okay with.

Some of these things I can't mention online (like some of the stuff about my son, who is in the Marines), some are not for public display (like my emotions), and some are just not worth mentioning (like worrying about getting the bills covered). And so, I stay out of Ravelry and Facebook. And I turn the music up and take a lot of deep breaths.

Today I'll be on the edge of my seat until I hear some news. When that comes in I'll either be ecstatic or severely angry and sad. Until then, I'm keeping myself busy with dyeing, knitting and music.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The end of an Age...

Last night was the showing of the extended version of The Return of the King in our local theater. I am both glad and sad that they are now over. Glad because I like to go to sleep earlier during the workweek. Sad because it was something special to do with someone I enjoy spending time with.  All in all, it was a good time for me.

Now I am looking forward to other events throughout the summer. There are camp-outs & cookouts, Anthony might be able to come out for a week (not when we'd originally hoped, but still...), Art Walks, other movies, possible dinners & special evenings, and even some quiet time for me to reflect on what I really want in my life.

Yes, yes, I know most people have that all figured out by the time they're nearly forty, and, for the most part, I do, too. But, some of the things I want... well, I'm not sure how they can become a reality, yet. And so, I need some time to get that figured out.

In the meantime, there are other bits of news. I found an awesome desk as the Goodwill for $5. It looks like an office desk (I was told it may have been an accountant's desk) and has more drawers than my current desk (which is more like a vanity without the mirror). My plan is to sand it down, then either seal it or paint it in bright colors. Really bright colors. Something that will keep the moodiness away throughout the year. What colors? I'm not sure, yet. Turquoise and lime? White & chartreuse? I'll figure it out later. I don't have a sander, but I can borrow one whenever I'm ready for it. First, I'll be using these pumice bars (called Miracle Eraser) for the edges & such, then I'll do the flat surfaces. I'll even take pictures so folks can see the progress.

I also have a cleaning idea. I'm not sure if I've shared this on the blog or not, but my idea is to clear out the spare room in this house completely. Then, starting with the living room, put everything I truly want to keep into the spare room. Anything left would go into the Jeep for a trip to Goodwill. Once the living room is done, I'll move on to the next room. I think each room would take a full day and I can probably do it on the days the daycare kids aren't here. I wouldn't move things like beds into the spare room, but it would be a good opportunity to move the furniture around if I wanted. I wonder how empty my house would be when I'm done. I also wonder whose feelings I'd be hurting by getting rid of some of the knick-knacks around here. I guess I'd just have to hope that people understand. I'd even be going through my yarn. I wouldn't take it to Goodwill, but I know several people who would be willing to trade with me... or even send it out as gifts to people. We'll see.

My tomato plants are doing well and I now have my first flower of the year.

First tomato flower 2011

There is a wire fence around the plants (which are in a galvanized steel tub) to keep the groundhogs out. I'm hoping to use the fencing as supports for the plants as they get bigger, too.

Another nice surprise in my yard was a lily. I don't remember buying them... or even planting them, but here it is.

Lily

I have other areas in the yard that really need a lot of work (the pokeberries are trying to take over) and I should get out there and deal with them, but for now I'm very happy with the beautiful small things.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend. Stay safe during the festivities (in the US).