Yarn to Mandala

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“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind,
of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”
― Albert Einstein

“The trouble with having an open mind, of course,
is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.”
― Terry PratchettDiggers

“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking.
It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”
― Albert Einstein

I love to crochet and knit.  It allows me a few moments in time to let my thinking settle down into stitches and patterns of stitches and not think about life, the Universe and everything.  When I’m feeling unsettled and overwhelmed or even a little down, picking up yarn and hook or needles recalibrates my mind and my emotions.  Everyone I know who is happy and productive has something in their lives that they do to acheive the needed state of mind and emotional balance to continue on.

I’m doing something new this year with my crochet.  I’m doing a CAL (Crochet Along).  It will take several weeks, maybe the whole year to complete the project.  The photo above is just the first week.  I have the pattern rows to continue one for the second week that I’ll start today adding to this project.  I was first attracted to this concept by the mandalas that were being created with crochet by various artists.

This is the Mandala called Sophies Garden that I saw from the CAL from last year and spurred me on to trying out this years CAL:

 

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Sophies Garden at Look At What I Made

The beginnings of these fantastic designs are simple and straight forward.  Row by row each week a new design element is introduced and before you know it you are creating a beautiful work of art with yarn and hook.  These amazing mandalas speak to me not only as an art form but a creative meditation form.

All crochet is building on one simple stitch: the chain stitch.  How you link the chains together, how you combine colors and form, how you express beauty whether functional or not is the best this art form has to offer.  Such is life.  One chain at a time, one link at a time, one expression at a time, one thought at a time, one deed at a time we each build our lives from the clutter of our minds and hearts.

Spend some time with your mind and heart and let the beauty within you come out and share it with those around you.  That is how you create and manifest the life you want to live.

And then there are Zen Doodles.  I haven’t tried this yet but it looks like fun and a way to let your creative mind explore on paper with pen, ink, pencil, paint, whatever.  Enjoy:

Gravity and Carbon

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“I want to lose weight by eating nothing but moon pies,
which have significantly less gravity than
earthier foods such as fruits and vegetables.”
― Jarod KintzI Want

“In two decades I’ve lost a total of 789 pounds.
I should be hanging from a charm bracelet.”
― Erma Bombeck

“The fastest way to lose weight is to find religion and start fasting.”
― Jarod Kintz$3.33

“Weight loss is not the key to your dreams.
The truth is there is no lock and the door is flimsy.”
― Golda Poretsky

I have two topics today: Gravity and Carbon. So grab a cuppa and come along with me.

It’s the time of the year that I begin to think about next year and what my resolution will be for the coming year.  This year I have many resolutions:

  1. I’m going to do a better job of journaling
  2. I’m going to finish my course work for certification as a Transformative Life Coach
  3. I’m going to finish Feminine Power Mastery program and work on being a Feminine Power Coach
  4. I’m going to finish my Christmas knitting before Valentine’s Day
  5. I’m going to continue to work on lowering my carbon footprint
  6. I’m going to lose another 40 pounds

What you will appreciate I’m sure is that the last thing on the list is what many of you have on your list as well AND this isn’t the first time you’ve had it on your list.  Now about 2 years ago I lost 30 pounds and have been successful in keeping it off through rational eating (most of the time) and a little exercise (very occasionally). However, this holiday season has been a challenge and the weight is beginning to creep back on.  So this is where Gravity comes in.  If I could work out a way to make the Earth’s gravity less powerful we could all lose some weight.  I’m not very good at physics or math which makes this possibility a slim and none prospect.  Very discouraging.

So I’ve also started reading a book with a different idea about weight loss that appeals to me: Right Weight; Right Mind by Robert Kegan, Lisa Lahey, and Deborah Helsing.  The idea is that our brains are conditioned to resist change.  While there are lots of diets out there that really do work, none of them —- read that again —- NONE OF THEM, have a demonstrated track record of delivering lasting change.  In the book, these folks are suggesting that we have created a resistance to chance in our heads and have therefore created immunity to losing weight.  If this is so, then the change begins within ourselves.  And this doesn’t mean to just change behaviors.  It means changing how we interact, how we are emotionally and psychologically adapted to maintain our weight and how we can lose weight that we can keep off for years.  Interesting concept and one I think has some promise.  I’d be interested in hearing from you if you have read this book and what your outcomes are.  I’ll share my outcomes throughout the year of 2015.

The next-to-last thing on my list is making my carbon footprint smaller.  I’ve been working on this a lot in the past few years and have made a pretty good go at it without really affecting my life adversely.  However, yesterday, Beauty Along The Road had a very insightful blog post: “The Minimalist Challenge”.  It is an inspiring read but more importantly you will see she has listed two challenges to herself to keep working on making her carbon footprint smaller and is challenging anyone who wishes to join her to set two challenges for the next year for lowering your own carbon footprint.  I’m going to accept the challenge and encourage you do to so as well.  Feel free to post your commitments/challenges on her blog post and here as well.

And now a little soul sound for you:

How About Knitting A Nice Christmas Jumper?

David sweetly wearing the sweater I knitted on my knitting machine.  It was the first one.

David sweetly wearing the sweater I knitted on my knitting machine. It was the first one.

“Letting go is the lesson.
Letting go is always the lesson.
Have you ever noticed how much of our agony is all tied up with craving and loss?”
― Susan Gordon LydonThe Knitting Sutra: Craft as a Spiritual Practice

Anyone who knows me
Even just a little
KNOWS
I love to knit and crochet.

Anyone who knows me
Even just a little
KNOWS
I love to laugh out loud.

Anyone who know me
Even just a little
KNOWS
I love to watch funny videos.

ESPECIALLY
Videos of men dancing
In ugly Christmas sweaters
Uh, I mean, Jumpers
(British Speak)

What A Beautiful Day For Knitting

Lucy learning the finer points of knitting mittens.

Lucy learning the finer points of knitting mittens.

 

“Sometimes, people come up to me when I am knitting and they say things like, “Oh, I wish I could knit, but I’m just not the kind of person who can sit and waste time like that.” How can knitting be wasting time?

First, I never just knit;
I knit and think,
knit and listen,
knit and watch.

Second, you aren’t wasting time if you get a useful or beautiful object at the end of it.

I will remember that not everyone understands.
I will resist the urge to ask others what they do when they watch TV.

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much

Knitting On A Beautiful Day

What a beautiful day in the woods
A day of sunshine and then clouds
A great day for a walk in the woods
A great day to be knitting and
Letting the rhythm of the needles
The feel of comfort from the yarn
The joy of creating for someone I love
The blessings of the Universe
Pouring into my heart and from my hands.

Namaste.

When In France

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“In France meals are often enjoyed amidst the bounty of the gardens and courtyards!”
Dreama Tolle Perry

“A picnic is more than eating a meal, it is a pleasurable sate of mind.”
DeeDee Stovel, Picnic: 125 Recipes with 29 Seasonal Menus

The photo above is a spot in our garden that is a little secluded where the small folks (grandchildren) can dine or sit and chat.  Every meal we can during the warm weather we dine out on the patio.  It is so pleasant and nurturing that dining indoors feels like just eating.

When I saw a beautiful painting by Dreama Tolle Perry and her quote above about dining in France, I realized that one of the best experiences I have all day is when I have my meals in my garden.  There is a feeling of being with nature and being at peace.  We forget sometimes that for humans, eating a meal is a social as well as a physical activity.  Adding in the element of eating outside adds to the bounty of our meals.

So consider the joy and pleasure of the simple change in lifestyle of eating outside whenever possible or at least occasionally.  It is a beautiful, bountiful experience and you don’t have to go to France to experience this delight.

Have a Soul Filled Picnic!

Go To Sleep

Climbing Katy!

Climbing Katy!

“Evelyn was an insomniac so when they say she died in her sleep, you have to question that.”

― Garrison KeillorPontoon: A Novel of Lake Wobegon

 

Katy has arrived and boy do we know it!  Especially at bedtime.  This girl is a going concern 24/7 and it is marvelous unless you need her to be quiet.  She is so delightful all day long but at bedtime she is most certainly not delightful.  We are working on this but as in the Garrison Keillor quote sleep isn’t a desired commodity in Katy’s life.

I’m reminded that we all go through times when things are changing and so very different that we really don’t know how to cope.  Imagine being a three-year old and trying to figure these things our and adjust to the new environment and way of doing things.

So for Katy and anyone else who has problems going to sleep at night, consider listening to a lullaby:

 

 

The Importance of Ice Cream

Marti Eating Ice Cream Cone

Marti Eating Ice Cream Cone

“Forget art. Put your trust in ice cream.” 
― Charles BaxterThe Feast of Love

“Without ice cream, there would be darkness and chaos.” 
― Don Kardong

“If you can be quiet, you’re more than welcome to stay in my House of Silence.
Bring your own bubblegum ice cream. 
” 

― Jarod KintzSeriously delirious, but not at all serious

We have been having a great time this week.  Beth and her family are here and Cindy and John are here and we are having family outings and building special memories.  Yesterday we went to the Air and Space Museum in Seattle with Ray and his family.  After that we went to Proletariat Pizza and then crossed the street to Fulltilt Ice Cream.

Marti was pretty much in charge of the whole outing. First she was our guide at the museum (where she says she works) and gave us a tour (she told us that was her work at the museum).  What a hoot!  She even explained to Cindy that she designed several of the planes in the museum and that she had actually flown one of them.  Quite an accomplishment for a nearly 4-year-old girl!  Then we had our marvelous pizza which she explained to us how to order and what the wire racks on the table were for.  But it was the ice cream that was the crowning glory for the day.  David had mushroom cap ice cream which was totally unimpressive to us all but the rest was delicious.  At the end, Cindy could not finish her ice cream and Marti was very interested in the cone. . . . not the ice cream but the cone.

So I thought ice cream would make a sunny Tuesday sort of blog and looked up some quotes about ice cream.  It turns out that ice cream may be as important to the human condition as love.  Amazingly, in the United States we have lots of ice cream.  We in fact have more than enough for everyone. I wish that were true of love.

Without you,
My life would be less.
Without you,
I wouldn’t know love.
Without you,
I wouldn’t feel blessed.
Without you,
I would have no other choice
Without you,
Than to eat ice cream.
With you,
My preference is ice cream.

Do You Drink Mystery White Liquid?

Green Coffee Beans

Green Coffee Beans. Pretty aren’t they?

“That dog don’t hunt.” —Dr. Phil

“If one out of three cartons of milk contained mystery white liquid
Would you still pour it over your cereal?”–John Oliver

Finally, there is public outcry about dietary supplements, their danger and their outright false claims.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and again, because believe me this is not going away.  There is no magic pill, drop, cream, supplement, powder, suit that will make an obese person thin.  It takes diet and exercise.  Diet. And. Exercise.

Now I’ve lost 30 pounds since last August and need to lose about 70 more pounds.  I know why I haven’t lost more.  I have eaten too many carbohydrates of late and I haven’t been exercising as much as I need to burn the calories I take in.  That’s all there is to it. Please do not fall for the hype.  Snake oil salesmen and saleswomen will always be out there.  Some of these folks are doctors, nurses, chiropractors, naturopathic physicians, hair stylists, office managers, manicurist, massage therapists, physical therapist.  These are just the ones I’ve encountered PERSONALLY and in local establishments in North Bend, WA and Norman, OK.  This is not what I’ve seen on TV or the Internet or Magazines and I’ve seen a ton of this hokum in these places.

Please love yourself enough to tell yourself the truth or at least enough to watch this video clip:

House Hunting Frustration

HappyElephant

 

 

“Some luck lies in not getting what you thought you wanted but getting what you have,
which once you have it you may be smart enough to see is
what you would have wanted had you known. ”

― Garrison KeillorLake Wobegon U.S.A.

Beth and Josh are moving here in a couple of weeks.  We are helping them find a place to live.  There are lots of 2 bedroom apartment choices that are reasonable but no 3 bedroom houses that are reasonable.  I had no idea how frustrating this was going to be.  So we are probably going to settle for a 2 bedroom apartment for the first year and start working on a house for after that.

So what I wanted was to find them a place they could love being in and call it home.  AND yes, of course I know that where there is love in a family there is home, but I wanted the perfect home in the woods for them.

I ran across this Garrison Keillor quote and thought, I’m so happy they are moving here that whatever compromises we have to make for the time being it is worth it to have them close so we can share and love and be there for each other.  So for today, I’m happy, happy, happy they are moving here but still hoping for a 3 bedroom house that isn’t outrageously expensive.  BUT I’ll be delighted if it is a 2 bedroom apartment because they will be here.

 

A Day Like Any Other Day

Marti with her new purse.

Marti with her new purse.

“It was a day like any other day”
Joan Wilder, Romancing The Stone

As you know, I love movies because the best ones reveal a little something about life, the Universe and everything.  The movie, Romancing The Stone begins with the line, “It was a day like any other day,” and then it becomes a not ordinary day.  In the picture above Marti is showing us the new purse I made her.

I couldn’t get her to smile a real smile and then I asked why not.

Her answer, “This is my going to work purse.”

I said, “Well show me what you look like when you go to work.” And this is the photo of the pose she struck.

What I learned in that moment was that this is how most of us probably look when we are headed to work.  Just another day, a day like any other day and for many of us when we leave our homes and go to work it is with some sadness that we are not staying home with our families and spending our time with them.

Today when I read Louise Penny’s Facebook post, I thought again about this photo.  Louise Penny posted a photo of her work space at the dining room table in her home complete with beautiful flowers from her garden.  She said, “There were years when I worked in offices and just felt my soul dying – so there isn’t a day I don’t thank God that this is now where I work.”

My hope for everyone is that somehow, someway, you will be able to find work you love and a place in which to do that work that is nourishing to your soul.  Louise Penny and I have the luxury of working from home and it is a blessing everyday for me.  If you can’t work from home I hope you are able to have work that is fulfilling and meaningful for you so you don’t have to leave the house knowing you’d really rather not.

Here’s hoping you have a day not like any other day!

The photo below is what I see as I write my blog post today.

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