Monday, March 31, 2008

Day 595: Aglow

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Storm at Sunset

Not a bad way to end a day, is it?

Take a Chance on Me

Oh! That's what my husband and I are going to do. We're planning a vacation to a place we've never been before. Pretty much winging it as we go along rather than having a set itinerary. Play for a while. Take a chance that we'll enjoy whatever we do because we're doing it together.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Day 594: On My Desk - I Love Sewing

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, I Hate Hemming Pants

It's after 10pm and I still haven't posted my photo for today.


Because I promised myself I'd do it as soon as I finished hemming this pair of jeans for my daughter. She must have them for tomorrow. She's going on a great roller coaster extravaganza in California, and these pants need to be ready to pack. Pronto!

But ... instead of getting the job done, I sit and play Freecell.

I absolutely love to sew. Especially any kind of handwork.

So why is it that I simply HATE to hem pants?

:: gritting teeth and growling ::

I don't know. But I'd better get to it.

Count this as my next installment as a participant in this photo meme.

[hee hee ... it's actually done now ... or I wouldn't be posting my photo, right?]


I have no idea what this will be for me on this fine Sunday.

It could be as simple as creating a clean bedroom. Start by making the bed, I suppose, and putting the dirty clothes in the laundry.

It could be as complicated and tackling a new quilt project. But ... no plans for that. Yet now that I've mentioned it, my mind is playing with the idea.

Maybe it's about creating a new type of relationship with someone you've previously had some discord with. That one, for me, would be hard to trust the process and not worry about the outcome.

Perhaps it's time to leave the computer, and go do something different. Something creative.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Day 593: Frozen Food

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section,
Cooler Cooler

We awoke to six inches of new snow. The cooler, airing out on the back deck, needed no other ice pack today!

Ah! Spring in north Idaho.

It's about time to plant some vegetables and flowers, rake a few dozen bags of pine needles, mow and fertilize the lawn, don't you think?

How Did You Paint Your Day?

On today's canvas?
  • A 5am wake-up
  • SIX inches of new snow
  • A visit with Jenny
  • Rearranging electronics around the house
  • A phone call with a new friend
  • An episode of The West Wing on DVD
  • A luxurious 2-hour nap
  • Decluttering books from our personal library
  • Decluttering the board game closet
  • Wonderful Asian food for dinner and conversation with DH and DD
Hard life, huh?

Not sure how tomorrow's canvas will be painted, but I'm surly open to playing with the colors!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Day 592: For the Littlest Sprouts

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Preemie Caps

I've been keeping my hands busy while watching TV for the last few weeks by crocheting these hats for premature babies. They are so small, they don't even fit over my fist. Hard to believe babies that tiny survive.

I'll be donating this sweet dozen to charity. They'll likely go to a hospital in the San Francisco Bay area ... I think that's where the last batch I made ended up. I'm just happy that the work of my hands can keep the little ones warm. It's nice to know that my love gets to wrap around the heads of these fragile babies.

The Challenge Repeats

I don't know what my "one new thing" might be, but as I look at this phrase, I'm drawn to the idea of spreading my roots today.

I've missed my 15 minutes of meditation for the last couple days. It may be those roots that could use a bit of time to deepen. Perhaps it will be as simple as taking an extra five minutes in stillness.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Day 591: On My Desk - Audio Book

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Eat, Pray, Love

Here's my next installment as a participant in this photo meme. Each Wednesday the participants photograph the things sitting on their desk and post it to their blog.

Once again, I'm doing it on a day other
than Wednesday.
:: shrug ::

I heard about this book on Oprah so decided to rent it from On the Go Books. I listened to the first two disks today — and am completely enthralled.

If you get a chance, be sure to add Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert to your library!

Get All Excited

I am enthusiastic and optimistic!

This is one of the thoughts that I allow to flow around in my head these days, allowing it to take root. It's true. In my best self, I am both enthusiastic and optimistic. Even when life situations get bad, my inherent optimism remains. Enthusiasm, well, it tends ebb and flow.

My husband and I have been watching Dancing With the Stars. Love that show. The current contestant that is so much fun for me to watch is Steve Guttenberg. I just adore his attitude. He is one of the worst technicians, as far as dance goes. But the attitude of gratitude that he emits draws me in. He's just so excited to have the chance to participate in this life experience. I love that! I want to be like him when I grow up.

Oh. Wait. I am grown up. OK.

I choose to be like him!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Day 590: A Corner of My Home

I added this new photograph
to Creative Journey
in my Photography section,
Charlie's Shadow

I was sitting on the couch in the living room, looking toward our dining room, early morning sun streaming through the eastern-facing windows.

They cast this frilly shadow on the wall from my old friend, Creeping Charlie. Charlie has been with me for, oh, about 25 years!

My brother David had the original plant. He gave my mom a cutting which made the trip from southern California to northern Idaho. I was given a cutting off Mom's plant when I was still in college. Mom was notorious for killing plants, so to get a cutting before hers died out was a feat in itself. Charlie was the first plant that would grow for me.

Charlie made it through my difficult first marriage, my years alone as a single mother of two, and through all the happy years of my current marriage. He doesn't grow a lot, and almost died the year we painted the living room and he had to move into a too-dark bedroom. But he's a resilient guy and got strong again once he was given his rightful place to hang once more.

So when I saw how pretty ... er ... handsome he looked yesterday morning, full and strong and casting that wonderful shadow, I thought it was time to take his picture and give him front-page blog glory.

A Challenge!

Oh! A challenge! I think I'm up for it.

I don't know what that new thing might be, though. I think I'll just keep my eyes open and my ear attuned. I'll likely be presented with my new thing to learn.

Cool! I love learning new things. Ask my kids.

I tell them they get to go to bed if they've learned something new that day. Some days, they get to go back to bed at 6:30am!

:: wink ::

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Day 589: Not Just For Human Heads

I added this new photograph
to Creative Journey
in my Photography section,
Trees Wear Hats

On cold spring days in north Idaho, even the trees wear hats!

The sun was sparring with the clouds this afternoon when I went out for a walk and happened upon this oddity. It was pretty nippy weather! About 15 minutes after I completed my walk, we had snow flurries again.

The clouds won this round ... but Mr. Sun will show his muscles before long.

No Longer Hold Sway

Oh, man. I am so conscious these days of my tendency to wallow in my past. I'm seeing the futility of it. But it's an old, old habit and not easy to change. I am beginning some new habits that ought to replace this old one. I'd like to be free from my past ... not deny the things that happened, but know that those things no longer hold sway over me.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Day 588: Have a Seat

I added this new photograph
to Creative Journey
in my Photography section,
Cane Back Chair

Here's another Everyday Matters challenge!
Challenge #30: Chair

Why photograph a whole chair when you can take a macro instead?

I like the pattern of the weave and the color variations in the cane. I also like the way this chair is weathered and cracked.

Sounds Like a "15 Minute Day"

On Mondays, I perform our Home Blessing. It's a routine of tidying up that puts our home back in order after a weekend where family activities might allow the house to get a bit disheveled.

It's a blessing, not a chore, because as I sweep and mop and vacuum and tidy and wash and dust and remove trash, I know that our home will be a pleasant place for Jodie and Dale to come home to. With things in place, clutter gone, good aromas and calm surfaces, there are less distractions in our surroundings and we can focus better on one another.

It's an excellent feeling of accomplishment, too.

So I do a task, take a break, do another task ... and before I know it, all is well with my world. I think it's all in the attitude with which one approaches the task at hand.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Day 587: Wascally Wabbit

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey
in my Photography section, Raxbert Rabbit

More Easter canoodling.
Hope your holiday was relaxing!

The Awakened Seeker

What is Easter but the embodiment of the promise of new life? The passing away of the old. The promise of rebirth?

Those glorious possibilities are still present in our world.

Come with me! Let's go find them!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Day 586: Ms Cottontail

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey
in my Photography section, Petra

Happy Easter, everyone!


Tonight, all over the globe, the Catholic church celebrates the Holy Saturday Vigil. Men and women who have been studying and preparing for months, learning about the church, seeking God's will, following their hearts, will walk forward and profess their faith, walk through the waters of baptism, receive Holy Communion, be confirmed.

Then they will process forward in robes of white, each carrying a candle which was lit from the Easter candle.

All of these, signs of new life. Outward signs of inner changes.

My husband was a part of that rite five years before we met. So this is a re-birth-day for him.

I love the Holy Saturday rituals. For many years I was the music minister on the RCIA team. I helped teach those inquirers and seekers. I taught them the notes of prayer through song. I tried to give them another -- audible -- door to the sacred. A pathway in on the waves of music and voice.

Nine years ago, just one month after my oldest brother and my father died, I was given the great honor of being the cantor at the Holy Saturday Vigil Mass. I had the opportunity to sing the Exultet.

This is the night
that Jesus Christ
broke the chains of death
and rose triumphant from the grave

It was a highlight in my life.

I had been through one of the hardest months ever — much of it was like walking through dense fog. Little did I know that it was just the start of a three year period of grief, pain and growth.

Yet in that night, I drew hope.

In that night, I lit a bit of hope in the hearts of the congregation that heard me.

In that night, I had a glimpse of having an angel voice pouring forth from my own body.

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Farm Quilt

It's been a while since I've completed another quilt top for St. George's Quilters. The group has given me a different job recently. I now get to help lay out / design the quilt tops with my good friend Susan. She and I laid this one out over a month ago. But it took me a while to make the time to sew it together.

With this quilt top, we were trying to use up a bunch of fabric pieces where there were not a lot of any one fabric left. We picked mostly blues and reds where the design had something to do with a farm. To me, this quilt reminds me of a harvest with flowers, people and food to share.

Here are the various fabrics used:

Day 585: In Stark Relief

I added this new photograph
to Creative Journey
in my Photography section,
Architectural Detail

Here's another Everyday Matters challenge!
Challenge #29: Something Architectural

I took this photo quite a while ago in Denver, CO. Seems just the right place to use it.

Guiltless Pleasure -- Read!

Ah! If it's Spring, that means it's time for me to go find my copy of The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

It's one of my annual rites of Spring ... I just love the hope this book inspires in me!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Day 584: First Day of Spring

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Spring Snow

Ah! The first day of Spring!

What does that make you think of?
Flowers blooming. Butterflies. Warm, sunny skies. Bees. Robins. Romping squirrels.

Yet this morning in north Idaho, we were greeted with ... SNOW.

To Be Alive!

When I was in high school choir, we performed a song with these lyrics. Seems to go along with the first day of SPRING ... and with the quotation above (even if this chorus is a very 60s-ish folk song-type thing)

To be alive
And feeling free
And to ... have everyone in our family
To be alive
In every way
Oh, how ... GREAT it is
To ... Be ... Alive!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Day 583: EDM Challenge # 28

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Dirt Devil

Thought I'd try another
Everyday Matters challenge!
Challenge #28: Appliance

Since it's been over 80 days since I've attempted one of these challenges, I thought it was time to give it another go.

I do seem to like bright red shiny everyday objects, don't I? This time it's a hand-held cordless vacuum.

Connect to the Infinite

I recently read something that made a lot of sense to me. The underlying beliefs of all the major religions are very similar at their core. Religions are often the door through which we enter to touch those principles and connect with those things that resonate and make our lives tick.

But sometimes, the trappings of the religion get in the way of the connection and that particular door closes for a time. Then we need to keep looking until we find another door that opens to those core principles.

I don't feel like I'm saying it very well right now, but maybe the jist of what I'm saying is coming through anyway.

This certainly is where my own life is right now. For years and years I was in love with the Catholic church. I found my sustenance there. I could tap into God through the ritual and the liturgy. I especially found my way to my core beliefs when I led music as a cantor for years and years. When I sang the prayers, I could believe better, I could be more full of light and life.

Then some things happened that squeezed the light out. Instead of tapping into God through church, the trappings got in the way. I'd go to church to be fed, but walk away more hungry than ever, depleted, discouraged. So I decided to take a break for a while.

Now I am exploring, looking for other methods, other pathways, to connect to that core, to the underlying principles, to God, to love of neighbor and self. I do feel progress.

At the same time, my heart yearns for the community of my personal tradition. I do believe that I will eventually find a Catholic community that I can be a full member of once again. But until that happens, I'll follow the side road God is leading me on now.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Day 582: On My Desk - MP3

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Zune

I ran across a photo meme that I think is rather fun. Each Wednesday the participants photograph the things sitting on their desk and post it to their blog.

Well, I was going to post this tomorrow (Wednesday), but decided to be a rebel instead and do it at my own pace.

So, what's on my desk? My newest toy — Zune! It's my new mp3 player. I'm still getting the hang of learning to use it. Tiny. Powerful. And fun!

Doncha just love the bright red color? It's snazzy — like me!

Self Reliance

Ah! Good ol' Emersonian Self Reliance!

I was introduced to Emerson when I was in college. My very favorite professor, Dr. M.K. Browning, was a huge fan. He wasn't much for organized religion. He used to tease me about my Catholicism and call me Sr. Mary Margaret. (He still does!) It's not that he doesn't have a respect for religions, they just didn't work for him.

But, boy, does he love Emerson. He'd get pretty animated when teaching that segment of our class.

The guy looks like Henry VIII, beard and all. Big man, big belly, big laugh. He is a serious guy that doesn't take himself too seriously. A growly ol' teddy bear of a man.

He ordained himself the high priest in The First Church of Emerson and made me his acolyte.

After many, many years without contact, I got in touch with him a while back when I visited my old college town. I was able to visit with him and his wife shortly before his wife died.

I was able to spend an afternoon with him again last Fall. He made me lunch and we ate it while listening to a recording of his wife's singing (OH! What a clear, beautiful soaring soprano voice!). After lunch he shelled walnuts and we had a very personal conversation about marriage. Then he read me a chapter from a book he is writing about his life with his wife. I got to learn about their marriage proposal, among other things. I cried, of course.

A very memorable afternoon.

:: grin ::
I'm still carrying a candle for him.

If you have a chance, go look up your favorite teacher and say hi!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Day 581: Soar

I added this new photograph to
Creative Journey in
my Photography section,

And with the geese
My heart takes flight


I've heard that one of the best ways to get some clarity is to practice the art of meditation. Lately, the notion of meditation has been knocking on my door more and more often. My counselor suggested it. Then it was brought up in two different books I'm reading. And again ... from another corner of my world which escapes my recollection at the moment.

I've attempted meditation on and off over the years, but never stuck to it. But I think I want to give it a go again.

I think I'll use Flylady's motto: "You can do anything for 15 minutes." Perhaps today I'll make a concerted effort to slow myself down, sit still, and breathe for a while. After all, I could use a bit of clarity.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sunday Secrets: March 16, 2008

PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. I find it to be an amazing sociological experiment. These are the secrets resonated with me today:

Truly no fun when the cellmate is chemically dependent.
It can suck the life out of you.
Glad I was released from that prison long ago.

Oh, this cracks me up! I don't, but it sure sounds like something I'd do!
Of course, I imagine tech support doesn't get phased by much
that people keep on their computers.

What does
THIS say about me?

Day 580: Breathe

I added this new photograph to
Creative Journey in
my Photography section,
Afloat on the River

What else is there to do when presented with this image?

Breathe. Stand in awe and wonder. Drink in the beauty of these creatures. Rest your eyes.

Be at peace.

How Good Are You?

That's a good thing. An encouraging sign.

One of my worst days? When my oldest daughter was in "the awful years" ... the years between ages 17 and 21 ... we had a helluva row. She was really getting on my nerves and I needed her to just get out of the house for a few hours to give me some time and perspective. I was at the end of my rope. She wouldn't go. She said she'd remain quiet in her room. But that was not good enough for me. I wanted her OUT of the house.

I ended up sort of running her out the door, pushing her and screaming at her at the edge of the driveway. I wanted her to go for a walk or something ... to just remove her energy from me so that I could calm down and get perspective. But I ended up screaming at her in front of the neighbors.

Truly, the Monster Mommy came out.

I believe I ended up sitting in my closet hiding behind the clothes again, crying. Surely one of the worst things I ever did. Deliberately hurting my child.

She and I are good now, of course. Apologies were made. She's grown up some more, moved away, married. And so we move forward and become women who respect one another while still remaining mother and daughter.

I am better than that horrible incident all those years ago. So is she.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Day 579: Come to the Quiet

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in
my Photography section,
Still, Green

I meandered down to the river bank. These geese were sunning themselves, foraging for food, looking out over the water.

When I got too close, they began honking. Then they took wing, and dropped off the bank into the river. They joined some of their geese friends, feeding on the bread crumbs tossed by the woman with her dog at her side. The well-behaved dog did not chase the geese. Or maybe he just thought the river water too cold and green.


Don't change. Replace. Upgrade. Start fresh.
Be a bionic woman: better, stronger, faster.
Think of it like sewing. What would you rather do? Sew a fresh new garment? Or mend an old one?
I'll start fresh. I'll build better habits.