Monday, January 26, 2015

My Word and Phrase for 2015

My word for 2015 is "Open".  2014 was "Release".  Having a word last year was so helpful in guiding me to let go of things in my life that no longer serve me, no longer bring joy or fulfillment.  So I released last year. Now I really feel like the word Open is going to be a perfect word for this year, and a reminder to let myself be open to new opportunities, of all sorts.  Open to things flowing into my life and open to things flowing out of my life.  Because it isn't always about letting things in, sometimes I need to let things flow out as well.  So Open...yes that seems to fit.

I also draw an oracle card at the beginning of the year.  I do so during the year as well, when I feel like I need just a little bit of guidance on something.  But I do have that one card that I focus on for the year. Sometimes my guides know, better than I, where I need work, where I need to go.

So for this year my oracle card says "vibe check" and it is a reminder to me to stay in touch with my intuition. How I am feeling in any situation or at any time.  Just to take that few seconds to see if where I am, who I am with, what I am doing, feels "right" to me, on that gut level.  Which, I think, goes so well with my word for the year "open".  New circumstances, in particular, will need that vibe check.


So that is my word and phrase for this year, yes I have both.  What is your word or phrase for 2015?

This is a cooperative blogging project so if you would like to see what Nancy has to say about her word of phrase for 2015 please visit A Present Moment.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Just Too Cute!

OK made these for a friend.  But they are just so cute.  The pattern was really pretty easy, the hard part was working on something so tiny.  You can find the pattern at the Ravelry site.


Friday, January 16, 2015

The First Memory I Have Creating.....

This is from a daily journaling prompt, but I thought was worth a blog post.  This is something I have struggled with over the years, but am finally just letting things roll.  As a child I was creative, and I think that is because my mother was creative, so I followed along with the things she was creating/doing/having fun with.  And then, I think I have mentioned this before, somewhere along the line, creativity was almost discouraged, although not spoken, just a feeling that was passed along. School became so important, figuring out what you "wanted to be".  And then all the focus was pushed in that direction, creativity became a hobby, and not something to take any part of center stage, studying and working was more important.

So looking back I think the first memory I have of really creating on my own was when my mother went on a trip with her friends.  I mean of course in elementary school we did arts and crafts but that was more "copy what I am doing" sorts of things. And is probably why it took me so long to break away from that and let my own mind take over.  But the first creative thing I did without following anyone else, was the rock garden that was on a steep hill on the side of our house.  I had always thought there had been a nice rock garden there at some point in the past, as there were remnants of plants, buried in weeds, and some really nice stones and boulders that appeared to have been purposefully placed.

While my mother was away for a week I just stayed outside much of the time and took time to weed, and reconnect with nature, watching the birds and butterflies.  I weeded and replanted plants, added a few new ones, and watched as that rock garden came back to life.  It was so beautiful, and felt so good to be the person with the "ideas" in my head of what I wanted it to look like.  That felt nice, relaxing, a "good" feeling of exhaustion at the end of the day.  And though most people wouldn't consider gardening creative, I did, and it made me smile.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Sunshine

It has been so cold and dreary lately, rainy, overcast.  I take the sunshine where I can get it.  And today it is this blooming Christmas Cactus.  A friend gave this to me, gosh I don't know how many years ago now. And every year it blooms so beautifully.  It just brings a little sunshine into a gloomy day, bright pink blossoms are so lovely.  I can just sit and take it all in.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

My Broom

No not the one I fly on, the one I sweep with.  I must confess this is the SAME broom I bought when we first moved to North Carolina from Germany.  Yes that would be ummmmm, 17 years ago, yes SEVENTEEN.  It is like an old friend that has just conformed to my way of working.  It is shaped just right so that I can sweep with ease, the angle is just perfect.  It is worn but is that a reason to throw it out, it still works just fine.  You aren't seeing the picture wrong, it is just that worn down.

Yes, brother dear, this is the same broom I had years ago when you visited me here in North Carolina, and laughed at the shape of my broom, the SAME ONE, still going strong.  I can see that eventually the wear will break through the threads holding the broom together, and probably not too far in the future.  I noticed but hadn't really given my broom much replacement consideration until today, while sweeping the kitchen floor.  I noticed just how worn it really is.  I still think I will hang onto it for a bit longer.


Monday, January 12, 2015

A Memory From My Childhood That Has Impacted My Life Today


There are lots of memories from my childhood that have impacted my life, but one in particular that really changed things around for me was the very last time my mother hit me.  I can remember it vividly, I was either preteen or early teen, so 12 or 13.  I remember we had a phone in the kitchen (it was really hanging on the doorway between the living room and kitchen but on the kitchen side).  It was the "new" phone, a tan color and had the push buttons on it.  The "old" phone was a teal color and matched the tile color of our kitchen, it was a rotary dial phone and my mother was so mad when the phone company made her switch. Of course this "new" phone did not match the kitchen and was not available in teal.  This "new" phone had a long cord, also a new feature, so it would reach the top of the stairs (which were also between the kitchen and living room).  It would not reach into our bedrooms at the top of the stairs, but you could sit on the very top step and have a semi-private conversation.  Much better than sitting in the kitchen.

I remember one day walking into the kitchen and I was loud, I was yelling for my mom for something, I wasn't upset or angry or anything.  It was just kind of matter of fact, but loud so she could hear me from anywhere in our tiny house.  She stood up.  She was sitting on the bottom of the stairs talking on the phone, so I couldn't see her past the half wall that divided our kitchen from the living room, until she actually stood up.

She was instantly mad, as she was talking on the phone and I was loud.  So as I walked toward her, toward the stairs she smacked me on the arm, it was just the closest thing she could reach, but she raised her hand to hit me again.  She was still on the phone.  I remember not really yelling but saying "ouch" like a kid would do and then starting to cry.  As she raised her hand again I remember a cry came out of my mouth, which (from the look on her face) made her more angry.  I think it was the fact that she was on the phone and whoever was on the other end of the line could hear me and what was going on.  Maybe a little embarrassment, I don't know.  But she hit me again.  I ran up the stairs and she, still on the phone, chased me up the stairs with her hand raised, hitting me maybe once or twice more before we reached the top of the stairs.

At the top of our stairs was a small landing, to the right was my brother's closed bedroom door, to the left was my closed bedroom door, and straight back from the top of the stairs was a small closet, with the door locked.  I just scooted down on my butt cowering in the right, back corner, with my knees in front of my chest and my arms wrapped around my knees.  I was crying, and she could not reach me. The phone cord was just a foot too short to reach me and still be on the phone.

From here she went back down stairs, still talking on the phone, and I went into my room.  Neither of us ever spoke of this incident again.  I don't know who was on the phone, I think it was her best friend.  I don't know what she was thinking or feeling, and she never asked me about anything to do with that incident.  But it was the very last time my mom hit me.

It changed my whole life.  I wasn't even thinking about having children at that moment in time, but when the time came, when I met Jackson, that is when the impact was truly visualized. I remember talking to Jackson, before we married, about children and raising children.  I knew I did not want to raise my children in an environment where they were afraid, I did not want punishments to be a part of our world, I knew I would never hit/spank/slap/shake (whatever you choose to call it) my children....ever.  I remember that moment so vividly, as well as other times she spanked me, and I did NOT want my children to have those kinds of memories.

My parenting style developed over the years but it started in that very moment, even though I didn't realize it at the time. That memory has a HUGE impact on my life today, on the decisions I made and continue to make. It is a memory I share with others who do spank, the memory I carry with me daily of being hit as a child.

This a cooperative blogging post so if you would like to read my friend's, Nancy's, answer please visit her blog, A Present Moment.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Friday Wrap Up

I know Cynthia is no longer hosting the Scattered Life Collective on Fridays, but I still enjoy looking back at my week.  And this has been a wonderful week.  Not sure what the difference is but this week I have felt motivated and energized.

I have enjoyed the work we are doing with the Unique Ability book. It is so nice to be focusing on what you love, what you are great at, what other people see in you that is wonderful, and bringing it all together.  Just a positive experience all around, and being in a room of people all surrounded with such positive vibes is amazing.  I am enjoying this process.

Had a little chat with my son yesterday about perception.  I can't even remember what started it, but we talked about luck and how some people appear lucky.  I was telling him that I am not sure I believe in luck, I believe that the choices we make and our outlook/attitude may alter perceptions. I have been told at least a couple of times before that I "lead a charmed life".  But if you look at it more closely, I grew up poor, both of my parents died by the time I hit 30.  I have no living parents or grandparents and neither does Jackson.  We live in a modest home, that does still need a lot of work.  And we talked for a while.  I told him I think it is perception and the choices we make.  I choose to move forward, to be positive and happy.  So I think it appears that somehow I was lucky in life, that somehow I was dealt a fortunate hand compared to my peers around me.  The discussion wasn't long but was nice.  It is nice to have these kind of chats with my boys.

I have journaled so much this week, dumping my thoughts out of the page.  That seems nice.  I don't know exactly but things just seemed to come together in a positive, smooth way this week.

It is cold, but even that isn't bothering me at this point, usually it would be KILLING me.

I went to see Wild with Jackson, I enjoyed the movie and it really followed the book well. I laughed...I cried. Actually I really did do both.  I think it would get to anyone, but losing her mother, I could so relate.



If you see the movie you should also read the book, much more detail in the book, as usual.

And I have been listening to the Cowboy Junkies, haven't really listened to them in years.



Hope you all had as wonderful a week as I have had, or even more so.  Take a look at your week, enjoy the journey!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Easy Seed Stitch Cowl Pattern

I bought some yarn the other day, OK so what else is new right, and I have really hit a block.  I just sit and stare at the yarn and think about what to do.  I have tried searching on sites like Ravelry, looked through knit and crochet magazines and a few knitting books I have, nothing is catching my eye, but I really want to knit. So I made a couple pair of socks, the old standby.  After that I decided to just do a simple cowl, a seed stitch cowl.  It came out so soft and nice, I may keep this one for myself, I haven't decided yet.  But here is the pattern.

I used a size 8 (5 mm) circular knitting needle, for this easy seed stitch cowl, but I knit loose so if you knit generally to gauge on patterns, you may want a size 10 (6 mm) circular needle.  I used two skeins of Cascade Cherub Aran Yarn, one color 33 peacock and one color 34 classic blue.  These are 240 yard skeins.  You will be using both colors together, just knit the two strands as if they were one.

Cast on 151 stitches, loosely, join, and work this project in the round.
K1, P1 and just repeat K1, P1 and keep on going.  You will see after you get one row done you will be knitting on top of your purl stitches from the previous row, and purling on top of your knit stitches.  You do not need to mark the beginning of the row.  Every once in a while I look at the previous row to make sure I haven't reversed my stitches and I am still knitting on top of my purl stitches and purling on top of my knit stitches.

Leave enough yarn to bind off, weave in the ends and you are done!!

SO SIMPLE but so pretty and warm, I love this easy cowl.  And the Cherub yarn is super soft.  You can see in the picture, sort of, how long it falls.  And you can double it for those cold mornings, like we have been having, to keep you nice and warm.  Sorry the pics aren't the best, I was trying to take the pics myself with my tablet, not so easy.



Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Welcoming...?

I posted a couple of days ago about the Unique Ability book.  I think this will be an enjoyable process, going through the book with friends.  I also think it will be helpful in looking deeper into myself.

The first assignment, I might have mentioned, is to list the unique abilities I see in others.  They do the same for me.  So I came away with seven slips of paper listing what the other seven participants (friends) think are my unique abilities.  The task is to review these and look for common themes, words or ideas.  Things that more than one person put on their list.

Most are already things I had identified within myself, for myself.  But one has me a bit stumped. "WELCOMING".  More than one person had this on their list but I have NEVER thought this about myself. Not that I am not welcoming but that I don't think I appear welcoming.  As an introvert, engaging in conversation with someone I don't know or don't know well, is extremely hard.  I am not good at chit chat and the larger the group, the more difficult it is.  I have been known, even in a group of mostly friends, if the group is too large for me, to go outside and just cry.  Just feeling overwhelmed by all the people, all the feelings in the room, all the conversations going on around me.

When there are people I don't know, I have no idea what to say so I kind of sit there.  Not that I don't want to feel comfortable, I just don't.  So I think the vibe I give off is very "unwelcoming".  So to see this on the lists of my friends, about me, seems a little strange to me.  I have been thinking about it over the last few days.

Maybe because these are all friends, THEY feel welcomed by me.  And they are, I would do almost anything for a friend.  I just don't see this as a unique ability and I certainly can't come up with (this is the next task) any habit that I do ALL the time that would lead people to think I am welcoming.  Maybe I need to sit with this some more, think some more about it, look at how I am in my daily life.  Maybe the process will help open this up for me.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

5 Things That Make You Happy

That was a journaling prompt for yesterday, "list 5 things that make you happy".  I struggled with this a bit.  I think it was meant to be a fun reminder of the things I enjoy.  But I didn't like the way it was worded.  I have trouble with that phrase "make you happy".  I am just not sure anyone or anything can "make me happy". Can it?

Maybe I just take full ownership of my feelings and when they change it is because I have made a shift.  I don't give up control over my feelings to anyone or anything.  And using the words "make me happy", feels like something else or someone else has control over my feelings.  Having said that, there are things I enjoy that can influence my feelings/mood.  Maybe bring me a peaceful environment to help settle some feelings, or activities that do bring me joy.  

So those would be:
~Spending time with and connecting with Jackson and the boys
~Spending time with and connecting with friends
~Knitting, it is such a relaxing, meditative activity for me
~When I am "in the groove" artistically and ideas/energy are flowing
~Being outside, if it is sitting in the sun talking to my chickens, or gardening, walking in the woods.  Just being out there on a nice day can feel so peaceful

Those are my 5 things, and I could probably list more, what are yours?

Monday, January 5, 2015

Creative Outlet for my VERY Full Brain

Wow, this weekend my brain just felt so full.  Maybe it is the introvert in me, I need my down time and my body was screaming "IT'S TIME".  I spent much of last week with friends, it was wonderful and meaningful, just great introspective conversations.  But Saturday morning I couldn't think any more, my brain was full, I had so much swirling around in there, so many things to remember, to do, to think about.  I journaled but this time it didn't seem to dump out as usual.  So I decided it was time to jump into something new and creative.

I am working through a book (with some friends), introduced to me by a friend, called Unique Ability : Creating the Life You Want.  A few of friends and I have decided to work through the book together.  I have things jotted down here and there, and really needed a place to put it.  The book is not long, and I don't think I will need a large journal, so I decided to make a small journal out of file folders.  It has top pockets and side pockets so I can tuck away the stray pieces of paper and add more paper should I need it.  It was just what I needed to get the clutter out of my brain, concentrate and focus on something else, and find time for me.  It worked, I felt so much better, so much more organized inside my head, after that.  Here is the you tube video that I followed, although mine is just a bit smaller in size.



And here are a few pictures of the one I made, isn't it just so cute! LOVE IT!





Sunday, January 4, 2015

Rothenburg

OK this was one of my favorite trips of this vacation, this and the hike through the gorge.  Rothenburg is like a cross between an old historic town and a tourist destination.  On the main street there are the more touristy shops selling steins and nutcrackers.  And then mixed in and off the beaten path are clothing shops and bakeries, cafes etc.  Just lovely.  This is not just a "museum" set up for tourists, I mean people live and work here.  But the buildings are preserved in a very "old world" way, architecture is authentic and well restored. The whole village is so picturesque, which is probably what makes it a big tourist destination. While we were there not many people were around, I am sure it is much busier in the summer. But while we were here the Christmas market was in full swing.  I loved this market, it was spread out, so there were 10 or 15 booths in one area and then down another street were 10 or 15 more etc.  So you could easily make your way around, no crowd, no pushing or lines. We just loved it.  And I bought my "souvenir" here in Rothenburg. Not much of a souvenir but I love it.  I shopped at An Ra, where the ladies sew beautiful wool garments, shawls, skirts, hats, coats etc.  It was so nice to chat with the women, watch them work (all handmade items, made in the shop) in this small shop and purchase a couple of beautiful items to take home.  

This was the last stop before we headed home the next day.  A very full and wonderful vacation.  Great watching the boys as they saw places for the first time.  Just a satisfying, family vacation.  And here are some pics from our last day: