Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Last Day

This is it. The last day that I will be the mother of a minor. I started a list of things that would no longer happen, but simply it's the last day for so many things. This is a weird place. And something funny? I reached this place before either of my exes.

My kids have both been the most awesome things about my life. I mean that with every fiber of my being. They have brought me more laughter and love than anyone else ever has. They've been my steady beam of light, my anchor to reality, and my brightest inspiration. They have fueled my imagination, enhanced my spirituality, and brought out my fierceness. They've taught me patience and compassion, given me laughter and silliness, shared dreams and heartache. We've been angry enough at each other to bring tears to the surface and clenched fists at our sides. We've had sleepless nights with buckets and towels and washing machines running. We've had early mornings with red eyes and weariness. We've had evenings of running from one theater to another so we could catch the next show, singing loudly in the car, yelling from the opposite sides of the house, and laughing when we catch ourselves messing things up royally. We have fought over chores, compromised over curfews, and voted on dinner.

Don't get me wrong; there were some really crappy times when the money was gone, when my sanity was shaky, when everything fell apart. There were times when I opted for the television over books, fast food over health, and rushed moments over quality time. Things were far from perfect and far from fabulous. But I love them with more than I can ever, ever express.

As I think about all of this, the changes coming up, the changes that have already happened, and some things that will never occur, I can't help but feel that bittersweet pang whenever the horizon shifts. What will happen in our futures? What challenges do we face? How many will we face together? How many apart? Of course, none of us have the answers to these things, but I have a lot of hope that we will still be the "Triforce Family" through the years to come.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Beginnings and clutter

As I finished up my Solstice day in relative quiet (I did shout aloud about my first sale on The Raven's Cauldron) and solitude, I began cleaning out old notebooks that I hadn't opened since I left Ohio. It was strange to see someone else's handwriting again after all this time, it was stranger still to realize that I didn't feel a need to read what he'd written. Instead, I tore all the pages from the wire coils and put them into the recycling bin. I didn't feel sorrow or anger or any other negative emotion, just a sense of accomplishment for having clean notebooks. What a wonderful feeling of fresh beginnings.

I did find some important pages tucked in all the notes and such, though. One was the write-up for a sweater I had designed and would like very much to work out various sizes. Another was the beginning of a story that still fills me with anticipation at seeing how it will turn out. That just might be the story for next year's NaNoWriMo. I'll need to do a little research about getting permission to use lyrics in it, but that can wait until the holiday season is over. I also came across a letter from Anthony that he wrote just before The Crucible. How my heart jumped when I read the words of my first born as he was preparing to get through something I couldn't even imagine.

This morning it is rainy and bleak outside, and I have friends who are feeling heartache during this season of festivities. My thoughts and prayers go out to them all and to the ones I don't know. Those who will be spending time with family that doesn't accept them. Those who are out of the country and will be lucky to be able to call home. Those who are missing the ones far away. Those with lost loved ones. Those without a home. My heart goes out to them all. I truly wish I could reach out to them all and let them know that they are special.

This morning I think about how lucky I truly am. My son is in another state but we talk a couple times a week. My daughter is leaving in a couple months, but I'll be sending her letters weekly or more. My Dad is far from me, but he is well and we talk once or twice a week. I have friends who celebrate my successes and cheer me on. I may not have all the wealth and acquaintances that some people have, but I have so much abundance and love and that really is all that matters.

To those who are feeling strain, I send you prayers. To those who have abundance, I send you prayers, too.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Planning and planning

Some of the thoughts running through my mind lately seem to be in the future. I know that we're supposed to live in the moment and that doing otherwise will bring us heartache, but... there are so many plans to make and so many things that I need to take care of before it's time to move on. Between sorting through all of my stuff and figuring out what will come with me and planning for any contingency I can think of, there isn't much mental rest for me. I know that I need to set aside time and just relax for a while. My health depends on it. The last several days I've had a hard time getting out of bed in the morning and my meditations are more like dozing than actual meditations. My hope is that I can get a bit of rest next weekend after I've had time to deal with the opening of the new shop and a few things around the house. I have been getting to bed earlier... mostly.

And, in the middle of all of that, I am still cherishing my phone calls with Anthony, my time with Brianna, and the bots of time I spend alone. These are my "living in the moment" times and they are pretty important to me.

Brianna has a new recruiter now. I'm not sure what happened at the office, but she now will be answering to Sgt. Jones. He's a pretty straightforward kind of guy and I like him. SSgt Hope is still keeping a close eye on how things are progressing with the medical waiver and everything else needed to progress from here.As the days pass, I can't help but think about how swiftly everything is happening, even though it's taken so long to reach this point.

I started a "yard sale" of sorts yesterday and have sold off several of my books (I kept the Harry Potter series and Inheritance, too, along with several of my reference books). Over the next few days I'm hoping to get some of my art pieces and other household items listed. It feels a little strange to see my bookshelf so empty right now. I plan to do some minor repairs on it (it is probably over 15 years old) and set it back up in my room with the books at the bottom and some plastic bins on the other shelves. The plan is to add a ribbon/strap to each shelf so that the bins will be held in place on the road. That is assuming, of course, that I take the shelf with me.

Tomorrow is Anthony's 23rd birthday. I don't know how that happened already and I can't help but to wish I could be there and give him a hug. Instead I'll call and we'll talk a while. Eventually, I hope to visit with both of the kids while I'm on the road. I don't know for certain how I'll plan out that route, but it will be fun to try.

In the meantime, I truly hope that you all have a wonderful day and that your holidays, no matter what/if you celebrate, are filled with wonder and delight.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014


I'm at work, but most of my mind is somewhere else. Where the heck did all the years go? Why isn't Anthony still arguing with me about who gets to read the new HP book first? Why isn't Brianna still sprinkling glitter everywhere? I know, I know, time passes and kids grow up.Which brings me to what I'm going to do next. 

As many of you know, I'm in the process of saving up for a motor home. In the meantime, though, I'll be doing all that I can to increase my health and get my house in order. I'm amazed at how much stuff I have that I know will not come with me. Like boxes of things that haven't been opened since I moved to Asheville. I am also working on my organization skills. Since I'll need to keep my shop supplies nice & neat and I'll need to make sure orders are shipped in a timely manner, I am rearranging the living room to a "preview" of how the motor home will be. After Brianna has moved out, I'll also be keeping a very close eye on how the water gets used, where I can cut back on counter space, and what uses the most electricity.

And all of that stuff, along with both of the shops, my friends and activities on  Ravelry, and life in general, should help me stay focused and not feel blue about the emptiness of the bedroom across from mine.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Old-Fashioned Manners

 I did something a couple weeks ago that helped me to clear out the space in my room. Space that I needed to transform into emptiness. With the items that I cleared out, I thought about the person who would be receiving them and what he might make from them. It was my sincere hope that these items (yarn) would bring a smile to his life.

I found out several days later that they did, indeed, bring a bright spot to his day.
Then, a couple days later, I got this cute little card in the mail from an address that I didn't recognize and inside was this lovely, hand-scripted thank you note. The handwriting was elegant and decorative and my breath stopped for a moment with the beauty of it.

So many years ago it was a normal thing to get a thank you card or note and the penmanship was usually very nice. Now, that's becoming a thing of the past, but it is still out there in little pockets.

It does make me a little sad that those days are long gone, but the joy I felt at getting this note really went a long way to making my week a better one.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Innocence lost

This is not a happy, cheerful post. But it's true.

Somewhere during our evening of watching Netflix, eating dinner, and doing our evening chores, the words came out, "I think that X stole my childhood." Now, "X" is a person who was in our lives for a long time. I won't tell their name because it doesn't matter. But the story matters. It matters to me and to my children. Because, after hearing about the things that happened, I can't help but agree. Days when I was at work for hours and the person was supposed to be "dad" to my kids ended up being days when my kids fended for themselves and got yelled at for making too much noise. Days when my children were supposed to feel safe in their home they were, instead, grabbed by the ear and dragged down the hallway to pick up a candy wrapper. When my kids enjoyed a walk home from school that included laughter and running around, they were shamed with a photograph because their coats weren't buttoned up. The person who was supposed to care for them each day while I worked to pay the bills secluded themselves in a room and played Freecell until it was nearly time for me to get home.

Some of you might wonder why I put up with it. Why I stayed for so long. Now, after time to think and to reflect on the past, I wonder that, too. Part of it was that I felt obligated to stay while they worked through their issues. Part of me didn't feel it was right to leave someone who didn't seem to be able take care of themselves. And a big part of me held onto hope that things were going to get better.

They did. And didn't.

After a while, my kids gave up hope of having someone to be their Dad. Sure, this person gave them advice and was a good sounding board when there was trouble, but there was little emotional support. My kids thought that they weren't supposed to cause trouble in the household so they stayed quiet about how they felt. At some of these times I was working full-time and going to school full-time. At other points I was working two jobs and rarely got to see my kids, but I trusted that they were being well taken care of. At other points I was working from 4:30 am to 7-8:00pm. My kids thought that I had enough to deal with and didn't want to bother me.

Why am I bringing this up now? Because of the words that my daughter said to me on a quiet Monday evening. They cut me deeply because I knew that they were true. The joyful laughter that once filled their childhood had faded just as clearly as the colors in winter. The surety that they once had in the world around them turned into cynicism and anger. And I was there and did nothing about it.

Yes, my hours were crazy sometimes, but in reality, I should have noticed a lot sooner. And now I can only apologize for the loss of childhood innocence that they now feel. I could keep going with what I "should have" done, but it will do no good now. Instead, I will keep doing my best to let them know that I didn't mean for that to happen. And to let them know that I love them with all of my heart. And I hope that they will rise above this and be better people than the other adults in their lives.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

10 Questions answered

I love reading my friend's blog be.love.love since I find her writing very inspirational. Well, I checked it out this morning and she posted 10 questions that she had read from her love's blog who had gotten 10 questions from her cousin's blog (this is starting to sound a little like the house that Jack built). I decided to continue the fun a little further and added some questions of my own at the end for you to answer and share.

I think this is a fun way for you to get to know me a little better and, I hope, to get to know you better, too.

1. What moment from your life always makes you smile when you remember it?
There are several moments that I can think of and most of them revolve around my children. As a child there were more pleasant memories during the time that we lived in Tennessee than just about any other time in my life. Running around the yard with Maggie, the kid that was born on Mother's Day and had to be bottle-fed in the house; rolling down the hill in the front yard with my siblings; watching the rain sheeting across the windows. As an adult, not counting the moments with my children, there were several, too: the morning I watched the morning break as I sat on a beach in Mexico; a quiet night in my first apartment when my children slept upstairs and I lay on the living room floor just listening to music; the moment my idea of traveling grew from just a spark in my heart and became a plan in my head.
2. What are three words to describe who you are (not what you do)?
Only three? Spiritual, intelligent, happy. There are a lot of other things, too, but the question only calls for three.
3. What movie or tv-series could you watch over + over?
Lord of the Rings. My family used to watch it each year, but there were times when I'd watch the trilogy alone at other times. I can't think of any TV show that really held my interest enough to watch again and again.
4. What song would be the soundtrack to your life?
Throughout most of my life there has been an overriding theme and I think that Carole King's "A Quiet Place to Live" pretty much sums it all up.
5. Who is the most memorable/interesting person that you have met in 2014, and why?
I haven't met very many people this year and most of the interesting people that I have met in Asheville were actually from last year when we first arrived or shortly afterward. I think I would have to say it was my neighbors. When I first arrived at the new address, this lovely young couple greeted me, welcomed me to the neighborhood and showed genuine interest in the things that I did, some of the knowledge I had, and pretty much made me feel very welcome. They have since moved, but I will always remember them fondly.
6. You’ve been given a month to travel! Where are you going to go?
I would head to Scotland and England, make a stop in Isle of Man, then end up in Ireland. For Scotland, I would like to wander around the country for a little bit. Not the cities, but the areas where few people visit. In England I would visit the Glastonbury Tor and a few other places. Isle of Man is where one of my friends lives and I would love to see her and her family. And last, Ireland. Here, too, I would like to visit the places few people visit.
7. What websites do you visit every day?
Ravelry, Facebook, Tso.co, some of the blogs I follow, and Weather Underground.
8. What is your nighttime routine?
After shutting off the computer I check the doors and windows (not as often in the winter since we don't open them) and make sure all the blinds are closed. I'll get a glass of water, set up the French Press and refill the water jug. Brushing my teeth comes next along with the usual bathroom stuff, then I hug Brianna good night, tell Aurora that it's time for bed (yes, this is necessary since she "loses" me if she doesn't see me leave the room), and I turn off the lights. Once I'm in my bed I will sit with my back against the wall and listen to a meditative track while I practice conscious breathing. I find that I tend to sleep more soundly when I do this. Once the track is finished, I sleep.
9. What is your favorite space in your home? Describe it!
My favorite space is my bedroom. Since I moved my desk to the living room, my room has become a sanctuary of sorts. The only electronics I have in there is my iPod since it has music on it, but I don't connect to the internet in there anymore. I have a water mister in the corner, potted plants by the window, several candles and crystals places around the room, and my bookshelf. I can look out the windows to the trees in the back and, during warm weather, I can sit there and listen to the birds singing to each other.
10. What are you longing for?
I am longing for the time when I am able to climb into my motor home and drive to the next town. And the next. I know that it will not be an easy thing running the business while living in such a small space. Nor will it be easy to stay on a very strict budget while doing so (coffee with knitting friends will be written into the budget!), and I think there will be times when I might find myself lonely. But over all, I think it will be a wonderful experience and I'm hoping to share it with everyone through my blog.
 And now my questions to you, if you should choose to do this. You can share your answers on any page you would like. Your blog, your Facebook or other social media I look forward to seeing what you post.

  1. What is your favorite time of the day and why?
  2. What foods really feed your soul?
  3. When did you feel most comfortable in your own skin?
  4. What is your favorite childhood memory?
  5. When did you last have a hearty laugh and what was it from?
  6. What is your favorite scent or fragrance and why?
  7. What is one of your greatest passions?
  8. What pets do you have?
  9. Describe your dream vacation.
  10. If you could step back into another time in history, when would it be and why?
Have fun!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Colder mornings

What a beautiful morning! Yesterday, too. Both mornings I headed out to work and saw fog settling on the mountain. Even though it was pretty cold and the leaves are falling off the trees, I thought it was a wonderful way to start my day. This morning I headed out while the temperature was hovering around 22F and the car was still shivery. But I was wrapped well in my sweater & coat with a hand-knitted shawl tucked around me (this one was a gift from Kelsey Leib, a really cool artist). There was a soft grey haze over everything and I knew that I would find a delicate frost over everything if I got out of the car for a little bit.

I can't help but laugh at how I learned about layering my clothes, not as a child (because I didn't really live in cold places for most of it), but as an adult during my second winter in Ohio. It's one of those lessons that I'll probably use for the rest of my life, including when I'm on the road.

December 14, 2013
I have the house to myself this weekend and I'm looking forward to getting a lot done for the shops. A new shipment of yarn arrived late yesterday evening and I plan to get quite a bit of it dyed up with some really awesome colors running around my head as well as finish up another Krydda kit (you can check out the details on the KAL on Ravelry or Facebook) that didn't quite turn out the way I wanted. For The Raven's Cauldron, I'll be continuing some embroidery, a few more candles, and I've got a great idea for a Tarot wrap. I'm guessing that someone already created a pattern for it, so I'll look around first to see what I find. I will also be writing more in my story On The Wind. I haven't written much over the last few days and I'm looking forward to getting back to it. Also, I'm hoping to get another post written about my take on the Chakras and their animal correlations. If you're interested in the first one, take a look at The Raven's Cauldron blog.

And somewhere in the midst of all of that, I'm also hoping to watch a movie and relax while knitting. I do hope that you all have a wonderful weekend and are finding a lot of reasons to smile today.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Meditations and embroidery

As the sun rose this morning and I finished getting ready for work I looked over at the comforter draped over the ironing board. The thought crossed my mind that it will soon be filled with more decorative embroidery and I'll have a very unique bedspread. That led me to think about the lack of decorations in my life over the last several years.

Many years ago I added some sort of adornment to all I had. Radio, mirrors, picture frames, washing machine... and I painted my clothing, added embellishments to the plants and the kids clothes, tie-dyed almost anything I could fit into the sink. There was color and uniqueness in all that I had. Over the years, as I tried to "tone it down" and be less "garish", I stopped doing these things. Now, understand that I don't blame the person who said those things, but with every harsh word and every raised eyebrow at my flamboyance, I felt a little more diminished. Now, of course, I think that I should have fought back more. But that's not quite it, either. After all, that person wasn't specifically asking that I change, I only felt that they disapproved of what I did.

Now that part of my life is behind me and I can look toward the future. Each day we are given the opportunity to be who we want to be. Me? I want to have decorated things. I want my clothing to be a little more flamboyant than they have been. I want to paint the world with my own creations and the creations of others. And so, I will keep decorating the things that I have.

A good friend of mine was helping me with this design. You see, I wanted to show the Chakra colors, but I wanted more than just the usual emblems. While I was meditating the other day, several creatures came to mind along with their symbolic connection to the Chakras. This is what resulted from the meditation, talking with my friend, and some research:

Raven: messenger of the spirit world, magick, shape-shifting, creation, mysticism, change in consciousness
Crown Chakra: higher intuition, channeling, and the connection with Divine Consciousness

Owl: wisdom, intuition, see beyond the veil of deception, hidden potential, seeing beyond masks Third Eye Chakra: ability to see the unseen, hear what is not being said, the place of intuition, knowing, and dreaming.

Wolf: sharp intelligence, deep connection with instincts, true expression of yourself, sharing of greater truths
Throat Chakra: ability to communicate and express ourselves, the way we express ourselves in the world

Deer: grace, gentleness, innocence, trust, love, compassion, serenity
Heart Chakra: where our true self resides, the love that we are, loving oneself, loving the world around us.

Cougar: leadership, power, intention, responsibility, coming into your power
Solar Plexus Chakra: personal power, self-confidence, mental clarity, and the ability to shine our light

Horse: sexual energy, driving force, appetite for life, vitality, balance of work and pleasure, birth and death
Sacral Chakra: reproduction and creativity, awareness of appetites, fertility, creation

Bear: strength confidence, grounding forces, healing, abundance
Root Chakra: grounding, strength, courage, stability, survival, abundance

I know that some of you might not feel these correlations are accurate, and I'd love to hear your take on it all. Others might look at this and just think that I've lost my mind.That's okay, sometimes I think I have, too.

I hope you all have a fabulous day!

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Happy Saturday

This morning I woke a bit before 5am and really felt alive. I am so grateful that I've finally recovered enough to wake that way. I know that I still need to take extra good care of myself, but it is wonderful to see the progress.

Raven still in the hoop.
Yesterday I was meditating (I try to do that before getting up for the day) and I got this really cool idea for a banner. I'm not going to go into full explanation yet since I'm still working out the details, but it's essentially various animals that have special meaning. Since I don't want to use up any fabric while I'm getting it all figured out, I decided to put the designs on my comforter. So far, I'm liking what I see. The first block is a Raven and right now the Owl is nearly finished. I don't know that I'll get all seven animals onto the comforter before I go to bed tonight, but I'll certainly have a good start.

As I finish up some more items for the new shop (while the dye pot is steaming in the kitchen), I can't help bit think about how my life has changed from last year to this. Even with some of the more challenging parts, I feel that life has really begun to glow more. And this time the glow isn't because of my kids (as it has been for so long), it's just because of how wonderful life is. I have some pretty fantastic friends who really know how to make me smile. My kids are fabulous. My good health is increasing. And the sun is shining.

I have so much more to share but, I also have so much to do. I truly hope you are all having a wonder-filled day!

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Novels and night times

I started my story over again. I had debated with myself about whether to try a different one or just totally restart the old one, I've decided to start the old one again since the amount of research needed for the new one is not something I'm ready to tackle at this moment. It's interesting to see the difference in the writing style from last year to now . Last year I was in the middle of trying to keep my life from falling apart and the words I wrote then have a forced cheerfulness to them. I had hoped that editing the novel would make it a little less... strained... but after looking it over, I decided that it needed a new start.

So, new year, new novel (same story), and a new title. While I am still the Hippie's Daughter, it's not all of who I am. The story isn't focused on my mother, but it does include the way that she influenced so much of my life. On the Wind has begun! I have a lot to catch up since I didn't start until yesterday , but I think I can do it this time. After all, I'm not under nearly as much stress or strain as a year ago.

For those of you who don't know; I had bacterial pneumonia a year ago. It was pretty bad and was compounded with my heart issue (mitral valve is a little wonky), the stress of not finding a job, and the feeling that my relationship was falling to pieces. But this year? I have a job that pays the rent, I'm about to open a new shop, the current shop is doing well, and I'm happily single. 

In other news, I am now the proud owner of Morrigan's Nest and The Raven's Cauldron (not yet built, but the domain is mine). The Nest is for the preparations for getting myself onto the road while The Cauldron will be updates and such for the new shop. Great things are coming up! Granted, the motor home won't be for a couple years, but I'm really looking forward to meeting with people.

We had snow over the weekend and it was beautiful. Brianna's hibiscus "tree" still had blooms on it and I was able to get a picture of one with snow. Now that the flowers in the same pot have pretty much died off from the cold, I will be able to bring it indoors for the winter. I think it will be nice to transplant the other plants I have into the same pot so that they take up far less room and, if it goes well, I'll be able to bring the whole thing with me when I head out. In the meantime, I'm happy for the cooler weather since it means that I get to wear more of my hand-knits.

Our neighbor knocked on the door last night to let us know that the "neighborhood bear" was making his rounds through the yards. I was pretty excited about it and grabbed a sweatshirt to stand out there in the hopes of a glimpse. Sadly, he didn't come back, but it was nice standing out there and chatting with the neighbor anyway. The moon was bright enough to light everything up and it reminded me of other times when I stood outside with only its light to see by. For the first time in a while, I wasn't saddened by those thoughts. Instead, I was happy for the moment, for the possible bear sighting, for the peace I felt.

I hope you all are having a wonder-filled day!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Elements #29

Start focusing on the possibility of positive outcomes. The mind must believe it CAN do something before it is capable of actually doing it. The way to overcome negative thoughts and destructive emotions is to develop opposing, positive emotions that are stronger and more powerful. Listen to your self-talk and replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Regardless of how a situation seems, focus on what you DO WANT to happen, and then take the next positive step forward. No, you can't control everything that happens to you, but you can control how you react to things. Everyone's life has positive and negative aspects - whether or not you're happy and successful in the long run depends greatly on which aspects you focus on.
Now we come to a close of a chapter. I am glad that I got to through all of these prompts over the last few months, especially since I have a tendency to start things and not finish them. I wasn't always like that, but the last decade is filled with projects started and not finished. Granted, there are plenty of craft projects that were completed, but little things like a-photo-a-day or a blog post each day... these things fell by the wayside quite frequently.

But let's take a moment and think about this final prompt. The possibility of a positive outcome. I need this thought right now. With all the things that I have planned and the road I've chosen, I need to focus on the possibility of good things. My mind still has an inclination to think about all the "bad" things that can happen. I know that it's because I had so many times when I thought things were going well, only to have them fall apart instead. But I'm overcoming that and I'm looking at my future with hope and trust in myself.

At times, I catch myself thinking about the negative outcomes that could happen, but I've gotten better at stopping myself and replacing those images with wonderful things. Instead of allowing the fear come in, I remind myself of how many people I will get to meet and how many places I will get to visit. I made myself laugh the other day when it dawned on me that I will get to see places I've always wanted to see! The sun rising over the Atlantic and setting over the Pacific, a summer storm in the Sonoran Desert, a spring afternoon in the Rocky Mountains... all of these will be available to me. And that is what I will remind myself of when the darker thoughts try to crowd in.

On this Samhain/Halloween, I wish you all the brightest and most positive blessings.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Longer nights

As we draw nearer to Midwinter, I can't help but think about all the preparations I still need to take care of. The holiday on Friday will find me alone for the evening with candles lit and various books and lesson plans ready to go. I will also be staying away from most media. My phone will remain on, but only so that I can be reached if Brianna should need me. And I will sit in silence. I feel as if I'm about to let go of something even though I'm currently reaching for something. Perhaps I'm letting go of what has been holding me back and reaching for the potential I have.

We bought fabric last weekend and I spent some time washing & ironing it all while the yarn absorbed colors. At one point the dyeing, ironing, embroidering, and dreaming all ran together and I laughed at the thought of how this would all work once I'm on my own and in a smaller space. I will have to find some organization to the chaotic creativity. Perhaps that will be easier to do once I'm on the road. I guess I'll figure that out later. For now I am happily crafting away at the items for the new shop. Candles are being rolled, embroidery is being stitched, and "plushies" are being plushed. I look forward to announcing the opening.

In the meantime, my sweet girl will be heading to MEPS on Monday. I'm cool with it most of the time, but I do have moments when I feel a huge empty space inside. That's not quite right... it's more of a space inside preparing to be empty. As if it's not quite time (which it isn't, since she won't be leaving until May), but my heart is getting ready for those moments when the house is still and quiet and my youngest child is nearly 300 miles away, doing things that I can't imagine going through myself. Things that my oldest child put himself through, too.

With all the bold colors and crisp days lately, it's hard to feel very sad about most of this. Instead, I look around at the amazingly blue sky and the brilliant leaves, I listen to the birds and the rain, I cherish all the little moments and dazzling dreams. These are the days that memories stem from.

May you all have a blessed day!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Elements # 15

Start competing against an earlier version of yourself. Be inspired by others, appreciate others, learn from others, bit know that competing against them is a waste of time. You are in competition with one person and one person only - yourself. You are competing to be the best you can be. Aim to break your own personal records.

I thought about this one quite a bit. When I look at earlier versions of myself I see someone who was openly accepting of so much, who was financially stable, who was building up for the rainy days and still able to splurge on things for the kids, who was sure of herself and how she felt about the people in her life. Another earlier version, however, was someone who constantly second-guessed every thought, who walked on eggshells all the time, who hesitated to show affection, who stopped singing and dancing.

And yet... both of these versions of myself were important to help me grow to where I am now. While I'm far from that self-assured and confident young woman, I'm also far from that cautious and uncertain older woman. Both remain inside me, but not fully Me. I know that might not make sense to many, but the version of myself that is currently coming forward is much stronger than any other time in my life.

While I don't have a huge well of wisdom to pull this post from, I do have a fairly clear view of my near future. Between the new shop, the new goals, and the upcoming new living situation, blended with the current shop, the current goals, and the joy of still having a few months with my daughter, I think that my life is going well. The earlier versions of myself wouldn't have seen the amazing joy in each moment I currently have. They wouldn't have been grateful for each day that I wake up and am smiling because it's one more day that I don't need surgery or medical attention.

Is that competing with the earlier versions of myself? I don't know, but I am looking forward to getting to know my current Self and creating my futer.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Elements #22

Start noticing the beauty of small moments. Instead of waiting for the big things to happen - marriage, kids, promotion, winning the lottery - find happiness in the small things that happen every day. Little things like having a quiet cup of coffee in the early morning, or the delicious smell of a homemade meal, or the pleasure of sharing something you enjoy with someone else, or holding hands with your partner. Noticing these small pleasures on a daily basis makes a big difference with the quality of your life.
Generally speaking, I think I do this already. Many times I sit on the front step and listen to the birds or just watch the clouds go by. I have moments when I sip my coffee and feel gratitude that I am able to do so in the comfort of my own home. I also think about the times when Brianna & I are preparing meals or whatnot and how special that feels to me. Even the phone calls with Anthony are treasured bits of time to me.

I think that, when I was younger, I didn't catch all of those small moments, but that's the nature of younger people, too. Even so, I can still remember many times when I sat with a child sleeping on my chest, or pausing for a moment before going to bed just to listen to the sounds of the kids sleeping, or even taking a deep breath while driving home from work and feeling gratitude that I had a good job to help provide for my family.

There are days when it's not as easy to enjoy the small moments, especially when there are bills to pay and the job is stressful and the kids are down with another cold. When these times come, acknowledge the frustration, since to do otherwise would cause more stress later, then try to find one thing that will make you smile. Whether it's a glance out the window at the changing leaves, or a sip of your coffee, or even just a few minutes of relaxing, take the time to remember how important and special those little moments are.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Elements #26

Start taking full accountability for your own life. Own your choices and mistakes and be willing to take the necessary steps to improve upon them. Either you take accountability for your life or someone else will. And when they do, you'll become a slave to their ideas and dreams instead of a pioneer of your own. You are the only one who can directly control the outcome of your life. And no, it won't always be easy. Every person has a stack of obstacles in front of them. But you must take accountability for your situation and overcome these obstacles. Choosing not to is choosing a lifetime of mere existence.

Accountability. Control. Responsibility. All these things fit with this week's prompt. Taking responsibility for your life is of the utmost importance, I think. If you aren't in control of your life, then you don't have the freedom to make the choices that will be best for you. At the same time, you also have to make sure that you are doing your best, no matter the situation.

I know how difficult this can be sometimes. A lot of times we have a tendency to bemoan our situation and lay the blame on the job we have, the place we live, the people in our lives, and other things that are simply part of the situation, but not the cause of it. I know that I've done that. I didn't like the place I was living or many of the people around me. I didn't like a job I was in. It was easy to point out the things that made my life less than I wanted it to be. And yet, I had put myself in that place. I made the choice to move across the country and living in a place where I knew almost no one. I made the choice to stay there in the hopes that things would get better. I even made the choice to move again knowing that there was a chance that it wouldn't be "right" in a new place.

Sometimes, and I think this is important, there isn't a blame to be laid anywhere. Sometimes we are just in a situation because that's where we are. Sometimes we have to take a job we might not like simply because the job is needed. Sometimes we are continuing to drive an old car because this is what is available to us. But even with these thoughts, I recognize how important it is to live with the responsibility of the actions we take.

I wish I had some wonderful words of wisdom to share about this, but all I think about is that I have made recent decisions that will take a long time to culminate, but I'm ready for it all. I'm ready for the hard work and the possible setbacks. And, while I know that it won't be easy, I also know that I was the one who made the choice and am the one who will live with it all.

Be well, friends. Carry an extra smile in your pocket for the days that are really hard to deal with.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Elements #19

Start helping those around you. Care about people. Guide them if you know a better way. The more you help others, the more they will want to help you. Love and kindness begets love and kindness. And so on and so forth.

This one seems like it should already be known, but I realize that's not the case. I do know that kindness can be something as simple as a smile at someone in the store to helping change a tire. There will be times when you feel like you can't help another person because you don't know how, but if you can just say a kind word, that might be all that's needed that time.

I disagree with the part that states "the more they will want to help you". I honestly don't believe that we should be kind to people so that it's returned, but more so that it's passed on. We shouldn't do things in the hopes that it will be returned to us... it just doesn't work that way. Just as an act of anger can spread, so can an act of kindness.

I'm keeping this one brief, but please keep in mind: it only takes a second to smile at someone.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Breathing freely

“We too should make ourselves empty, that the great soul of the universe may fill us with its breath.”
― Laurence Binyon

There have been days when I despaired of ever getting caught back up, of ever reaching a point where I could lean back for just a moment and take a breath, of ever knowing that I didn't have to keep struggling so hard. Some of you already know that I went into debt to move to Asheville. I also used up every dime in my savings account and all my envelopes. I'll admit that it wasn't the smartest thing I'd ever done, but I had faith in the things that people were telling me and I believed I would be working soon after arriving and that I'd have my loved one follow me here to share in the finances. Neither of those happened, of course, and I ended up in a position of living penny to penny once again. My credit score dropped from 720 to 528. I was horrified that I let that happen again. That I let the words of another person sway me from my goal of being debt free and in good credit standing.

Photograph from
Robert  Stephens of Solitary Traveler Photography.
I will admit right now that I do still feel resentment about this, simply because I trusted the people in my life. I trusted that the opportunities would be there for me as I was told. I trusted that my "partner" was going to get things settled and would be moving here as I was told. I had worked very hard over the years to get out of debt, to reach a point where my money was all my own again. I was nearly at that place and I was really starting to feel good about the future. Then I made these choices and ended up going several steps backward. Yes, there is still resentment. Granted, K was sending money to me each month to help with the rent and I was able to get emergency food stamps, but to watch the balance in my savings diminish, to see the late charges on the debts again... it made things very dreary.

But now! After keeping an extremely tight budget since we moved here I have finally paid off two of the credit cards I got to pay for the move here. I have finally reached a point where the disconnect notices and collection calls have ceased. I have finally gotten that moment where I could take a deep breath and know that it was going to be alright. I can't say that I did it all by myself. The first office job here helped to keep the utilities on and introduced me to someone who led me to the bookkeeping job I now have. So I did have help from others, which I appreciate more than they will know.

I have reevaluated my goals and I have a new one. While I still want to own my own land one day, I recognize that it isn't what I want right now. What I want right now is something even more simple than a tiny house in the mountains somewhere with my animals and garden. What I want right now is smaller and yet, so much bigger. It will take at least 9-12 months to save up for what I want, but in the meantime, I will still be able to enjoy the time I have with Brianna, enjoy time with my new friends, and enjoy the wonderful feeling of knowing that I'm about to do something awesome. And, strangely enough, I think my mother would be tickled pink about it.

When I'm closer to reaching the first goal I will share with you all what my plan is. In the meantime, I hope you all have a wonderful day!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Elements #14

Start giving new people you meet a chance. It sounds harsh, but you cannot keep every friend you've ever made. People and priorities change. As some relationships fade others will grow. Appreciate the possibility  of new relationships as you naturally let go of old ones that no longer work. Trust your judgment. Embrace new relationships, knowing that you are entering into unfamiliar territory. Be ready to learn, be ready for a challenge, and be ready to meet someone that might just change your life forever.

I took some time to think about this one over the weekend as I pampered myself with teas, chest rub, and knitting. Although I don't normally think about how new people come into my life, I do often think about how they leave. During the past year, there are a few people who are no longer in the same level of relationship that they once were. One person I made a clear choice to exclude them from my future. It was far from painless, but it was necessary to my own well-being and possibly theirs, too. Another person seems to have drifted out of my life on their own and are now only on the fringes. There are a few people who are not a daily part of my life, but I know that each time we contact each other, the relationship is just as strong as it was before.

But new people... I do like to meet new people and I enjoy spending time with them. Lately, and I know this might sound like an excuse, my health has prevented me from spending a lot of time with them. A birthday party this weekend, hiking outings, workshops... all of these have been set aside as I deal with a common cold, or pneumonia & its subsequent recovery, and issues with my heart. And, while I remind myself that my health is of the utmost importance, there is a part of me that gets tired of staying home and napping because I'm so tired, or sitting down to rest because I can't catch my breath and my heart is pounding hard enough to jump out of my ribs.

The prompt... I think it's important for us to let new people into our lives. I believe that the new people can give us insight and open our minds to new thoughts. I believe that sometimes the new person needs us in a way that we might not understand. And, even though it might be hard to understand the ending of relationships, we should still allow the new ones the same openness and hope that we would if we'd never felt the sting of a breakup. Yes, I know that sounds like it's easy to say, but it really wasn't. I feel the pain of ended relationships just as acutely as anyone else, but I'm determined not to shut out the people who may come into my life afterward.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Elements #13

Start entering new relationships for the right reasons. Enter new relationships with dependable, honest people who reflect the person you are and the person you want to be. Choose friends you are proud to know, people you admire, who show you love and respect - people who reciprocate your kindness and commitment. And pay attention to what people do, because a person's actions are much more important than their words or how others represent them.
For a very long time I've hesitated about entering any kind of new relationship. I did meet some fabulous people here, but I didn't allow it to develop into a full-blown friendship. I have been thinking about the reason behind that and I believe it's simply because I was not ready. I needed (and still do) time to heal from some very old wounds. I needed space to grieve and accept the pain I'd been through, and to come to terms with it.

In the intimate relationship department... well, I don't know when I'll be ready to enter a new relationship on that level. There are still many issues that I've been dealing with and many tears that are still drying.

All the same, I can feel the strength in me growing, I can feel that aliveness waking up. And so, the thought of new friends has been increasing. I've been talking more with my neighbors, entertaining the thoughts of spending time with some of the other people I've met here, and even given thought to accepting an invitation to go for a scenic ride. I know that it will take a little bit more time before I'm completely ready to jump in with both feet, but I think it will happen.

Let's think about the prompt for this entry for a moment. What are the "right" reasons for entering a relationship? I am sure that there are many answers to that, but I believe that we need to seek out our own moral compass for this one. Is it for the companionable nature of another human? Is it to share an interest in books or movies? Is it a chemical spark between you? Whatever the reason you choose, if it's not for a selfish or harmful reason, I truly think it's going to be the "right" reason.

I hope you all have a wonderful day filled with smiles.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

simply untitled...

I made it through yesterday without breaking down into sobs. Perhaps I should have just let it happen, though. Maybe that's part of why so many people are struggling everyday; we're not allowing ourselves to feel anything. I could feel the grip in my chest every time someone said anything about the day and even when I got home, the simplest things would make my breath catch in my throat.

It's not like this all the time. Most days I can avoid thinking about that morning. Most of the time I can push the emotions away and get through the day without any issues. But on the anniversary, when everyone is talking about it and everyone is posting pictures on the social media threads, I find it harder to keep steady and carry on. The fear returns and catches me off-guard, and I'm thrown again into that morning. When no planes flew overhead as I drove to work, when the people in the call center next door refused to make any calls to collect debts, when one woman sat at her desk staring into space as her hands trembled as she hit redial again and again because she couldn't get through to her son, when I wanted to scream and scream and go home and cry as I held my own children, when I realized how very alone I was in that moment, when the world stopped being a safe place.

How strange that I'm more affected by this than I was/am by a personal attack in April 1996. You would think that I'd have had more "trauma" by that attack as I walked to a friend's house. You would think that a physical violation would have thrown me for more of a curve than something that happened more than 2,400 miles away from where I was. And yet, when I think about the personal attack, there is no fear anymore, no anger, just acceptance. When I think about what happened that morning and the days that followed, I hurt. I fear again. I want to gather my children to me and cower in the closet. I want to crawl into the smallest space and keep them safe while I do all I can to be unseen. I hated being alone that morning. I hated knowing that there was very little I could do if an attack was made in Phoenix. I hated being afraid for my children if I ended up dying.

And now, the day after the anniversary, I still feel like I should to cry. I still feel this desperate need to hold my children in safety. I still feel afraid.

I'm up late tonight. Long past the time I should be asleep and yet, I needed the time on my front step. To listen to the crickets and the sound of the rain in the trees and the call of the night. I needed that calm that sometimes washes over me when I'm outdoors.

I had a lot more to say tonight, but I'm feeling more at peace now and I think sleep will be good.

May you all find peace in your moments.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Elements #1

Start spending time with the right people. These are the people you enjoy, who love and appreciate you, and who encourage you to improve in healthy and exciting ways. They are the ones who make you feel more alive, and not only embrace who you are now, but also embrace and embody who you want to be, unconditionally.

I've thought about this one for a while. I know that there are people out there who love me, and the ones who care about me unconditionally are far away. Even so, I know that they are there and the rest of this doesn't apply to them.

Far too often we end up being around people because they are who we "should" be around. Family members, spouses, friends. Or we stick around because we are familiar with them. This isn't always the best way to be. If you are in a situation that prevents you from growing to your full potential, then it's really time to look at why you're keeping yourself small.

I did stay in a relationship for a very long time where the other person didn't truly accept me. And I tried to make things better. It ended up hurting us both in ways that are hard to describe. For myself, because I am uncomfortable with the levels I went to to keep the relationship viable, for him, because I don't know what he went through.

I did the same in a friendship. I stayed and kept trying, but there was no reciprocation and I began to feel more and more alone. In the end, we drifted apart and now she's living her life in a way I can never accept.

So... when you find a friend or a lover who is accepting of who you are, on all levels, cherish them.

I know this one isn't my usual format, but I struggled with keeping this civil and slightly positive. It's not a post that I'm particularly proud of, but I did promise to do these each week.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Dreams and potential

I sit here in the wee hours, knowing that I should try to sleep again, but also knowing that the night is claiming me as her own for a little while. My thoughts are clear even as they swirl around my head and I feel elation as I begin to sort through them. At the moment, I've decided to think on what I really want to do with my life now. Now that my youngest child is well on her way to following her own path, now that I will be on my own with only the cats as my responsibilities, now that I can look ahead and see more clearly where I can go. Oh, how the possibilities excite me!

I am going to be forty three years old in just a little over a week and that intrigues and frightens me all at the same time. I'm not where I wanted to be, but perhaps I'm where I need to be. I do know that there are so many things behind me that I will never get back, people I've left behind who no longer fit into my life, if they ever really did. But... there is still so much ahead of me, too. So much light on that horizon, so much joy out there in the world. And it's time for me to go get some of it for myself. Even though I hardly have a plan in place.

Throughout various times over the years I've had plans of some sort. When I left my ex-husband the plan was to raise my son alone and focus on being the best mom possible. That changed when I got pregnant unexpectedly. After Brianna came along the plan was to raise both of my children the best that I could, alone. That changed when I met someone special. With him in my life the plan was to build a life together and raise my children with two parents. That didn't quite happen the way I'd envisioned and I mostly raised my kids alone. When that relationship ended the plan was to heal and focus on my business and finish raising my daughter. That plan is still in place, but I know that part of it will be ending soon, perhaps even before the winter is over.

So I've been revisiting some of my dreams, trying them on and seeing if they still fit. Some, of course, have expired and will no longer be part of my life no matter what. A few are still fun to dress up in, but I know that they won't really work for me (adopting a half dozen children and owning lots of horses). This is the way life goes, isn't it?

But there are a couple dreams that still glimmer through the layer of dust and I've discovered that they still fit me almost perfectly. There are ideas for stories, endeavors, knitting designs, household ideas, healing ideas, and so much more.

One of the things I'm focusing on right now is healing myself. There have been so many things that have gone wrong physically over the last several years that it was beginning to feel as if I were becoming my mother, but with different challenges. The blood sugar, the memory lapses and loss of words, the pulmonary issues, and others. Well, the blood sugar is back to normal levels now. I'm still watching the things that I allow inside my body, but I can relax a little knowing that I'm no longer on that edge of needing to take insulin. I've had scans done not that long ago and my brain seems to be in good working order so the memory and loss of words wasn't physical (thank the stars!) and, instead, was related to the stress I'd been under. I'm still working on that, but I think I've just about got that taken care of, too. As for my lungs... I've had one doctor tell me that it might be a good idea to live in a drier climate, similar to the one I grew up with. And another doctor said that there are things I can do to strengthen my immune system and my lungs. I know I'll be working on that, but I've also had thoughts of heading to a different location. I'm still undecided about that part just now.

The big dream I have... I'll be taking small steps so that I can build up to what I need. It's an old dream, actually, but it's still so vibrant and ready to be brought to life. I have many tiny details to work out and it's frightening to know that I'll be doing this completely on my own. And yet... I think I've always known that I had the strength to do whatever I wanted, even if I had no one to help me. I have so much to learn, so many new things that I'll have to figure out, but I know the basics and that's all I need to start with.

As I once used to say all the time "Something always comes through when I need it." And so, I will keep having faith that it will.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Elements #12

Start believing that you're ready for the next step. You are ready! Think about it. You have everything you need right now to take the next small, realistic step forward. So embrace the opportunities that come your way, and accept the challenges - they're gifts that will help you to grow.
I know that there are so many things that I wanted to accomplish by this point in my life and that there are moments when I feel as if it's time to give up. Those moments were almost daily at the beginning of this year and they have slowly dwindled until they all but disappeared. However, for a little while, nothing filled in those empty spaces and I was left feeling hollow and empty.

Things have shifted, though. There are still enough dreams of mine that are live and powerful and filled with brilliance and passion. There are still things for me to do with my life that give me lots of hope for the future.

New growth on my rosebush.
So what is the next step? What is the direction I am supposed to take now? I know the answer to that and yet, I'm not ready to share it with the whole world just yet. But there are several small steps that need to be taken in the meantime. One of those steps is focusing on the new shop I'll be opening before the end of the year. I can't be certain when it will be ready, but I'm working out all the little details so that it opens without any major complications. Another step is working on revamping the yarn shop. I'm not sure which direction it is going, but there are several ideas that I am hoping to implement soon. As for myself, there are health steps that I am taking and I know that they will help me in the years to come. If surgery is necessary one day, I'll be stronger for it and will be better prepared for the recovery.

What about you? What step might you take on your journey? Is there a story you'd like to write? Perhaps that step is as simple as writing up some notes or an outline. Are you thinking about creating your family tree? Perhaps that step might be to start interviewing your family members. Whatever you are thinking about doing, it is worth it to break it down into small bits so that you can look behind you and see all the steps you have completed. You can do this. I can do this.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Elements #23

Start accepting things when they are less than perfect. Remember, 'perfect' is the enemy of 'good'. One of the biggest challenges for people who want to improve themselves and improve the world is learning to accept good things as they are. Sometimes it's better to accept and appreciate the world as it is, and people the way they are, rather than trying to make everyone and everything conform to an impossible ideal. No, you shouldn't accept a life of mediocrity, but learn to love and value things when they are less than perfect.

My first reaction to this week's prompt was actually negative. I thought long and hard about that so that I could get a clear understanding of what was behind that feeling. Growing up we were challenged to find ways to make things better. Not happy with the way your room looks? Rearrange the furniture and make some new curtains. Not happy with your grades? Study a little harder. Don't like your wardrobe? Save your money to get a new one. Don't like the way that friend treats you? Find out what is going on or find a new friend. If I didn't like the fact that animals were dying from the soda can rings, cut them all and tell everyone I knew why it was so important. Write letters to the editor and to the senators & congressmen. Each thing or person that made us feel that things weren't up to par had a solution to make it better. Just accepting the situation was the "lazy" way of living.

As a young adult I tried to make things better all around me. My home was far from posh, but it was very comfortable and people felt welcome when they'd come over. If I didn't have the right ingredients for a new recipe I'd improvise instead of accepting that I just couldn't make that recipe. If I wasn't happy with some aspect of the world around me I would do what I could to help make it better (volunteer work, charity, etc.).

Later in my life I was in a relationship and there were a lot of things not quite right, but I was told time and again that I wasn't very accepting of the time together, the progression of the relationship, the person. And I began to curb my natural inclination to change the situation. If I'd not allowed the talk of "acceptance" to change my outlook, I most likely would have ended the relationship much sooner than I did. It took far too long for me to recognize that the person, while telling me that I wasn't accepting, was not accepting me to be myself.

And so, the act of "acceptance" began to take on an onerousness for me that I couldn't recognize because it was so foreign to me. To accept a situation meant that I had to swallow the bitter fruit of whatever it was and that I needed to smile as I took every bite.

Now that I've gotten through that, I think about how I feel about the course my life has taken due to my decisions and actions. I can see the goodness in my current location and I can see how precious each moments is. At the same time, I won't accept that this is all I get in life. The dreams I set aside in the previous years are not to be forgotten. My ambition for a better tomorrow for myself and for the people I can help is not to be laid aside. I continue to disagree with this prompt, but on a different level. I can't ever imagine myself being accepting of the fact that women are being abused, children are starving, animals are tortured. I also can't imagine myself accepting my "lot in life" to continue scraping by in an apartment I can scarcely afford. And so, I will not accept these things, nor will I accept a thousand other things that set my teeth on edge and cause me to want to make things better.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Elements #7

Start valuing the lessons your mistakes teach you. Mistakes are okay; they are the stepping stones of progress. If you're not failing from time to time, you're not trying hard enough and you're not learning. Take risks, stumble, fall, and then get up and try again. Appreciate that you are pushing yourself, learning, growing, and improving. Significant achievements are almost invariably  realized at the end of a long road of failures. One of the "mistakes" you fear might just be the link to your greatest achievement yet. 

I'm one of those people who try to see "mistakes" as lessons in life. Relationships, choices, money spent unwisely, these are all things I've done and can be seen as mistakes. They can also be seen as lessons in life. But I don't believe these are the kinds of mistakes I'll delve into. Instead I'll touch on  the ones that really hit something important.

I never took the time to mourn some of the people I have lost. My father (Bob), my grandparents, and many others who are not blood related, but were still important to me. October 13, 2003. October 1, 2004. November 3, 2007. February 11, 2010. April 24, 2012. August 11, 2014. All of these are the ones I never took the time to reflect on. Never took the moments to cry over. I only attended one funeral in this list and I spent more time during that month scraping to pay the bills than grieving over the loss of someone special. A lesson to be learned in this is that it's important to take the time, even if you are far away, to sit in silence, to remember the kindnesses, to smile about the laughter. It is traditional to take a day of remembrance on October 31. Generally it is for the ones who have passed away during the previous year, but I think this year I will take that time for all who are gone.

I threw love away with both hands. There was a person, I'll call her "Briar" who loved me through a time that was pretty crappy for me and I let her go. When a previous love came back into my life, I turned toward them and left "Briar" standing alone with no one beside her. In the years that followed I kept thinking that I'd made the right choice and perhaps that was why I tried so hard to make it work with the other person, but looking back now... it looks like a humongous mistake. We didn't work out. There were tensions and tears and heartaches and headaches. In the end there were lies and leaving. Perhaps I'd have had these things with "Briar", too, but I will never know. Lesson? Perhaps it's as simple as not letting the past come back into your life. Perhaps it's just to stop and think before you do something as rash as breaking another person's heart. I'm not really sure.

I put my dreams on a shelf and didn't pull them down again to dust them off. I ended up so wrapped in trying to keep the bills paid, trying to keep a relationship stable, and trying to raise my kids, that I forgot about my dreams of being a healer. The few times I stepped toward that shelf (Reiki classes, Crystal Healing classes), something happened (or was said) that would make me feel that my dreams weren't worth the energy I wanted to put into them. Lesson? Even if you only keep the tiniest of sparks of your dreams, tend them carefully and never let them go dark. Whisper to them so that they know that you are still wanting them in your life. Feed them, even if it's with only the smallest crumbs of your life. Don't let your dreams die.

I have several other thoughts going through my head about the mistakes I've made, but I can't put them on here for the whole world to see.

I am far from over making mistakes. In fact I'm currently planning one that might be a huge mistake but I won't know that for several years. Dream big, make the possible mistake, and hold yourself high and dream a little more.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Endings and beginnings

Throughout our lives there have been so many pages turned and new chapters started. Currently, my youngest child has entered her final year in high school. An end to her K-12 education, a beginning of her adult life. My oldest child has just hit the road to head west. An ending to this vacation, a beginning to his time in a place he feels at home. And through all of it, I try to smile at the changes even as I want to cry a little.

This past few weeks has been filled with huge changes for a lot of people. Children returning to school, others losing a family member (I didn't know her well, but she was always kind to me and my children and I am really sorry to know that she isn't sharing her smile with everyone anymore), decisions made about futures, and dreams being rebuilt. Life is tumultuous and chaotic and filled with wonder. Even during the darker times there is still beauty and joy. It might be harder to see, but it is there.

In my heart, even through the tears that are threatening to spill over, I truly hope you all have a very good day. I hope you all find peace when you stop a moment and breathe. I hope you all find a reason to smile, then a reason to pass that smile forward.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Elements #2

Start facing your problems head on. It isn't your problems that define you, but how you react to them and recover from them. Problems will not disappear unless you take action. Do what you can, when you can, and acknowledge what you've done. It's all about taking baby steps in the right direction, inch by inch. These inches count, they add up to yards and miles in the long run.

Over the years I've learned more about how I react to the problems in my life. There were times when I would ignore a problem, sweeping it under the rug and run away from the situation. Interestingly enough, I've also come to realize that those times of "running away" were necessary. My ex-husband was not going to stop doing drugs unless something drastic occurred. My roommate was not going to treat me or my children any different just because I talked to him about it. And... most recently, my boyfriend (still not sure if that was the right word) wasn't going to stop the activities he was involved in even though I was clear about the toxicity I felt from them. This isn't an attack on any of those people, only pointing out that in these situations, there wasn't room for compromise without destroying one party or another. My action was to move out and move on.

There are other areas where I can see that the fault lies squarely with me. Moving to another state without thinking it completely through caused major repercussions through the last decade and I'm still cleaning up that mess. Granted, there are some areas where I'll not be able to "fix" the damaged parts, but I'm doing my best to bring those out into the light and mend them the best I can.

For now, there are other areas where I can see how easy it is to fall into an old habit and I like to think that I've grown past needing that temporary bandage. I also like to think that I can create better habits with dealing with problems and challenges. I know that I'm far from perfect, and that I have a long road ahead, but I believe in the power of Me.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Elements #5

Start being yourself, genuinely and proudly. Trying to be anyone else is a waste of the person you are. Embrace that individual inside you that has ideas, strengths, and beauty like no one else, Be the person you know yourself to be - the best version of you - on your terms. Above all, be true to You, and if you cannot put your heart into i, take yourself out of it.

I think about how I had been in the past and it makes me wonder who "I" really am. I know that each of us has the choice of how to behave each day and how we will deal with situations that arise and I try to make the best decisions I can. But in the middle of that, how can I be more "myself" than I am already being? If you really stop to think... we are exactly who we are at every given moment. Yes, even the less-than-stellar times.

All the times I was at my worst, it was still me. It might have been a really crappy point in my life and I may have been at an extremely low place, but it was still Me. And, during those moments, when my life was falling apart on all fronts and I made decisions, begged someone to stay with me, considered ending my own life, that was the strongest I could be. Even though I did something I look back on and cringe about, I recognize that my actions that day were the best that I could do at that moment. Just as they were on all of the really challenging times.

Don't get me wrong, there have been times when I made a choice that I could really say was a shining moment. When I left an abusive relationship (more than one), when I stood up for someone else who didn't have the strength to stand on their own, when I supported a large household with the small paycheck I got, when I took a deep breath and drove away from a mostly-stable life to a future that was completely unwritten. These were moments when I was genuinely Me, just as much as the darker times.

I also think about the direction I can turn my life right now. In less than a year I will be in a position that I never, in my 42 years, have been. Alone. For the first time I will be living in a house with no other human. I wonder what changes that will bring within my Self and how I will react to them. I can hope, of course, that those changes will be positive and uplifting. Even so, I know that I need to be honest with myself and accept the times when I react in a negative way and recognize that those reactions are just as Me as the positive ones.

So... even though I'm pretty tired right now, I do hope this all makes sense to anyone reading it. I also hope that you can take a moment and think about how very special you are.


Thursday, August 07, 2014

Vanity? No.

As some of you know, I have had rosacea for several years. Of course, at first I didn't know what it was, I just assumed that I was breaking out because of stress and diet. However, even with drastic changes to my makeup, water consumption, and food intake (removed dairy, grains, meats, and a whole slew of things, just not all at the same time) in a systematic way, nothing changed. After a while my face looked like I was having an allergic reaction to something pretty big. So, on the advice of a friend, I began using a product called Lumière de Vie Illuminating Fading Fluid by Motives (if you're interested, I can tell you how to get it, but this isn't an attempt to sell it, please read on). I was more than a little happy that it seemed to be working and, after a couple months of using it consistently, my face had cleared up significantly.

Now, what you might not know is that there is no cure for rosacea. It progresses over time and gets worse over the years. Unfortunately, it can also cause some serious issues with your vision, thickening of the skin, rhinophyma, and more. So, it's not just a vanity issue for many people who have it.

But I couldn't keep paying that hefty price for the Lumière product and, after I took the picture you see above, I had to stop buying it. As I expected, the redness came back and I thought that I'd have to seek medical treatment in the hopes that I'd be able to get the insurance to cover the cost of whatever they prescribed. At the same time I was pretty sad that I'd have to rely on insurance for something like this. So I started to experiment.

I searched for "home remedies" and over the counter products to see which ones had the highest ratings and compared ingredients and cost. I tried a few different products and even made a few concoctions of my own. Through that time, my face steadily got more and more red and I knew that I had to keep trying. Finally, I was about to give up when I tried one last ingredient to see if it would help. And it did! 

And for multiple payments to a private account, you can have the secret, too! Act now and you'll get a free gift that isn't worth the shipping costs to get it to your mailbox! For a limited time you will also get the secrets to making your own facial cleanser and moisturizers!

I'm only kidding. I just couldn't resist the "sales" pitch. There are no free gifts and there are thousands of free recipes for making your own beauty & household products online. Really! Google can be a wonderful search engine.

In all seriousness, I began applying honey & water (a pea-sized drop of honey and a few drops of water mixed in the palm of my hand) to my face each night. I figured that the antibacterial properties might help since some doctors think rosacea is caused by a bacteria. Honey is also a skin soother and several other awesome things. I'd leave it on overnight and rinse it off in the morning. After one week there was a visible difference in the redness. A week later, there was hardly any redness at all. 

Here is a picture taken a week after I started the honey treatment (this was around June 10th, I think). I don't have any facial makeup on and it was a bright day so you can see a little bit of the redness on my cheeks and around my nose.It was also a warm day (and I've discovered that my face flushes more easily than it used to). The dryness also seems to be going away.

Now it's almost two months later and the redness hasn't returned. I've continued the daily honey "treatment" while I've eaten spicy foods, been out in the sun, been under stress, and several other rosacea "triggers" and am still not showing signs of any kind of flare up. Now there is a bottle of honey that will remain in my bathroom just for my face. I will also experiment with mixing it with beneficial oils and such just to see what else I come up with and I'll post about the results every now and then.

Please note: I am well aware that this might not work for everyone and that anyone with an allergy to bees might actually have serious problems with this. But it's worth looking into. Especially if you can't (or choose not to) buy a $70 product every month.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Elements #11

Start giving your ideas and dreams a chance. In life, it's rarely about getting a chance, it's about taking a chance. You'll never be 100% sure it will work, but you can always be 100% sure that doing nothing won't work. Most of the time you just have to go for it! And no matter how it turns out, it always ends up just the way it should be. Either you succeed or you learn something. Win-win.

I think this one is a little hard for a lot of us. Day in and day out we go through the motions of trading time for money, trading money for living, and trading living for existing. Crazy, right? But sometimes we have an idea that might change all of that. Not that the idea will make a million dollars, but that it might actually make a difference. For example, these disaster kits. The idea is pretty straightforward, and it can help a lot of people in need of them (please check out their site and have a look around.) What ideas do you have? What dreams and goals do you have? Are you giving them a chance? You might be surprised at what happens along the way.

More than four years ago I had the crazy idea of dyeing my own yarn to get the colors I was looking for. A couple of people told me that it was a great idea and nudged me to try it out and sell them. I was about as afraid as a person could be, but they believed in me and I moved forward with it. Alina Shea Creations was born. And is still going. Last month I even launched the Superheroes & Villains yarn "club" and am really looking forward to playing with the colors for each character. Granted, ASC still has a lot of  room for improvement, but I gave it a chance and ended up meeting so many wonderful people because of it.

I've got to cut this short since I'm still in recovery mode (from lung issues) and need to get a few other things taken care of. I do hope you all find a way to give your ideas a chance!

Friday, August 01, 2014


Now that I'm a little more calm, I wanted to post this really quick...

I've been struggling with my sugar levels for a while, as many of you know. in November my Hemoglobin A1C was 5.9 and my glucose was 123. I was really nervous, but was also dealing with recovery of bacterial pneumonia so a part of me didn't really care. 

Well, more blood was recently drawn and now my Hemoglobin A1C is 5.5 and my glucose is 93. I feel on top of the world right now. All I want at this moment is to go home, hug my kids and keep on smiling.

I know I still have a way to go with my weight (in order to keep my heart from going south), but I will get that taken care of as soon as I'm past this round of pneumonia. And, with the medications I'm on now, I'm sure I'll be just fine by next weekend.

I truly hope you all have a wonder-filled day.