Thursday, March 30, 2017

Common Ground

This T shirt has become one of my favorite shirts these days.  First off my husband bought it for me when we visited Maine a couple of years ago and attended the fair.  I remember this fair (much much smaller) when I was a child and loved it then.  I wanted to bring my boys to see the fair.  So different from what you would expect at a Maine fair.  I just loved it, I want to go every year, although that isn't really possible with all of the other trips we want to make, but you get the picture.  It is wonderful to be around so many like minded people.  Love the whole environment.

But it is also my favorite shirt for other reasons.  It serves as a reminder to me that we all do share common ground.  Not only the ground we walk on, but the community in which we live and the world around us. When we take the time to talk to each other, we will find that we have more in common that we thought, and finding that common ground gives us a place to start to build a relationship.  I have always found the idea of seeking out the common ground to be true, in my family, in my community and with complete strangers. You all know what an introvert I am, so talking to strangers is difficult, but when you can find that common ground, it makes conversations that much easier.

I think we all need to remember common ground, as we go about our day.  In difficult situations as well as the easy ones. Relate to people, build a relationship.  Even if it is a relationship that will only last the five minutes we are together, make it real, make that connection, find that common ground.

Have a great day all!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Getting Back to Meditation

I am getting back to my meditation practice. Over the years I have gone months on and off with meditation. It seems like when I am feeling busy in my life, meditation is the first thing I cut out.  Which, ironically is the last thing I should cut out.  It is a peaceful time of emptying my mind and just being in the moment in my space. The same thing used to happen with any form of exercise, which is meditative for me as well.  But as soon as I feel busy, exercise used to be the first thing I would eliminate.  I made the promise to myself about exercise and have kept that promise for over three years now.  So I am ready to make the same promise to myself about meditation.  I mean when I think of all the excuses, there really is NO excuse I can think of to not take even five minutes for myself in meditation.  So that is my promise, five minutes, at least.

I have been back meditating now for three days, and even five minutes is hard.  And I remember this feeling before, that "newbie" feeling, when all of a sudden, when you are still, every thought you have ever had seems to find its way to the surface and demand your attention.  I bring myself back to my breath and let the thought float away like a leaf on a stream.  Not sure where I picked up that visualization but it helps, to visualize your thought as a leaf that floats down from a tree to the surface of a stream and is carried away.  It helps to clear my mind, making it easier to come back to my breath.  But man, right now there are just a lot of leaves in there. I know it will get better, and it will be easier to find that empty space.

I have always enjoyed meditation.  ESPECIALLY when life is busy, to clear it all away and just breath, even for a few minutes.

If you have never meditated before it is pretty simple.  Here is a great link with easy steps to start.

I hope you enjoy your meditation practice and find it useful!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Sitting Bear Mountain Hike

This was actually a pretty easy hike, we hiked from Gingercake Acres up to Sitting Bear Mountain.  Great views all around.  Couple of great overnight camp sites that I will remember for warmer weather.  This is a hike Jackson wanted to do as he wanted to hike all the mountains in the area.  We had already done Shortoff Mtn, and Table Rock, Hawksbill and I can't remember if there are any more right in this area, but this was the last of them for Jackson.  Great couple of hours on Sunday afternoon.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Knitted Hood Pattern

This is one I made for my son, Phillip, for Christmas this past year.  And yes, I am just now getting around to getting the pattern out of my journal and up on my blog.

 He really likes this and has requested a second hood, so I will be making another soon (well maybe by next winter).

Size 7 circular needles (for most people this will end up being a size 9 as I knit loose)
Stitch markers
Tape measure
2 skeins of Madelinetosh  Tosh Vintage the color I used is Oscuro (300 yards is what I used in total in case you go with a different yarn)

Gauge: 9 st = 2 inches, 12 rows = 2 inches (although the row gauge really isn't important)

K = Knit
P = Purl
K2tog = Knit two together
SSK = Slip Slip Knit
st = stitches

Cast on 100 stitches, place marker and begin knitting in the round.
Row 1: K1, P1 around
Row 2: K
Repeat rows 1 and 2 for 1 3/4 inches ending with row 2

Knit every round now for a total of 4 inches from beginning of work.

Now we stop knitting in the round and work back and forth.

Row 1: P
Row 2: K2tog, knit to the last 2 st, SSK the last 2 st (total decrease 2 st)
Repeat rows 1 and 2 until you have 86 st on your needle, ending with row 2.
Row 3: P
Row 4: K
Repeat rows 3 and 4 until you have a total of 16 inches, including the beginning ribbing.
Cut yarn leaving about a 3 foot tail.  Divide stitches 43 stitches on each end of the circular needle.  Kitchener stitch the top closed using the two ends of your circular needle (43 st each end).  I hope that makes sense.

Now you will see the basic form, the ribbing you started with is the neck.  The face opening is a basic shape that rolls in right now.

Pick up 96 st evenly spaced around the face opening.  Start under the chin at the bottom of the opening. Place marker and begin knitting in the round.
Row 1: K1, P1 repeat around
Row 2: K
Repeat rows 1 and 2 for 1 3/4 inches.  End with row 2. Bind off loosely, work in ends.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Stop and Be in the Moment

All week I have had an uneasy feeling in my gut.  A nervous, unsettling feeling, like something is just not right, something is off in my world.  But there seems to be nothing really "wrong" or off that I can find.  So I am just sitting with that feeling and keeping an eye out on my world, and the people in it.

I say this because yesterday I was driving in town, as I do every day, heading to work out.  And I stopped in the middle of town at a crosswalk because I mourning dove was crossing the road.  Yes a bird, a mourning dove specifically.  No she wasn't flying, she was walking across the street, using the crosswalk.  She didn't appear to be injured, and she didn't stop when she saw me coming.  I guess she knew that I would stop.

Is this a sign, who knows?  But it did make me stop for just a moment, get out of my head and enjoy this moment right here in front of me.  The beauty of the bird.  The oddity of stopping to let the bird cross the road.  And the humor in the bird using the crosswalk.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Women's March on Morganton

I was so happy with how the Women's March on Morganton turned out this past Saturday.  It was so much larger than I ever expected and so many people from different walks of life.  I loved it.  I volunteer for Moms Rising, and I paired up with the Democratic Party in Burke County to pull this march together.  I think we made a great team.  It was a non partisan event, and people were so enthusiastic.  We had an estimated 600 marchers.  For this introvert it was amazing and a little overwhelming at times, but I made it though (I knew I would) These are my favorite three photos of the day, and I am sure you can guess why.

My boys started out marching for me, but by the end they were marching for so much more.  And they are so enthusiastic now to really be more of a part of the process.  I keep my sign here by my desk to remind me daily that there is work to do.

There is momentum to continue, so we are following the guidelines from the Women's March on Washington and we have postcard writing events planned already.  Of course, I have already written, called and e mailed my representatives to let them know how I think and feel, but for others this might be their first time.  And for still others I know the march was probably the extent of their political involvement, which is totally fine with me.  It takes all of us to make a movement.  

I do see friends on social media, backing away.  There is that "I need to take a break" post, that arrives to announce ON social media, that the person is not going to be ON social media.  While that seems like an oxymoron of sorts to me, I do understand that desire to retreat from the difficult discussions, the uncomfortable posts.  The posts from people you thought you knew, expressing ideas you never thought they would have.  So I get that need to retreat to your own place of peace, to get "offline" for a while, turn off the computer and the TV and dive into your family and the peace you have in your immediate world.  But while people are doing this, I hope they also remember that for so many this is their life, this is their immediate world, this is where they live, there is no peace.  They can't just retreat from social media and find that place of peace, as their world IS the chaos and turmoil that we see online.  Some people LIVE in these uncomfortable posts that we only view online.  The difficult discussions are their reality, their lives.  So while you retreat to your place of peace, be thinking about those people and at the very least maybe appreciate that you have a space to find solace.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

North Carolina General Assembly...Back to Work Wednesday

The NC General Assembly is back at work tomorrow, Wednesday, January 11.  Most of you know that I e mail my legislators often.  And I will call if there is something immediate at hand.  But today I just took a moment to e mail my representatives in Raleigh a quick note with two issues that are concerns of mine.  I am sure I will have more as I see bills being filed, but for now, in the "just getting started" phase, I wanted to touch base.  This is the e mail I sent along.

I live here in Valdese and I know the legislative session is just getting started.  But, I wanted to take a minute of your time to talk about two passions of mine.  NC Raise the Age, and Mental Health/Suicide Prevention.

I know that North Carolina is one of only two states that still treats all 16 and 17 year old children, automatically as adults, within the justice system.  I am sure you are aware of all the research on brain development and that children's brains are not fully developed until their mid-twenties.  I just want to encourage you to do all you can to make sure that legislation is passed this session that would raise that age to 18.  I spoke at the Asheville Public Hearing of the North Carolina Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice, in August 2016, as did many others.  As the mother of two adult men, I am passionate that we give our youth every available opportunity to make successful, wonderful lives for themselves.  That we lift our youth up.  And I think it is vital that North Carolina makes progress in this area.  I know there are logistics to work out, financial, and the area of major crimes.  But I am sure, with your help, we can do what so many other states have done.  If they can do it, we certainly can.  So I encourage you, as bipartisan support for this movement grows, to be at the forefront of this change.

My second passion is mental health accessibility.   I admit that I am not well versed on how the legislative process works.  But I do want to share my story and my goal.  My father died by suicide in 1996.  And I grieve for him still.  There is such a public stigma attached to mental health, depression, and suicidal thoughts.  The only way to prevent suicide is for this to change, and for avenues of mental healthcare to expand.  So I hope you will remember my story as you move forward through this legislative session and do all that you can to ensure access to mental healthcare remains a priority and we advance initiatives in this area.  If you look at the statistics it is staggering and I hope you can help.  

Thank you for your time,
Pam Genant
Valdese, North Carolina