13 January 2017

Today's Delights

As I struggle with the daily grind, I'm trying to focus on the things around me that give me delight and joy.  Here is a sampling of the delights of this week!

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What a joy to have Connie come stay the night as she learned how to use her new spinning wheel!  It was good to get mine dusted off and get focused back on getting a long term spinning project moving once again!  

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Loving the yarns coming off the spinning wheel!  Can't wait to have enough to begin knitting a special project! 

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I've spent a lot of time categorizing photographs as I start work on my Dad's Memoirs!  Such a lovely trip down memory lane.  Oh how I miss him.  

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I finally got a few paperwhite bulbs planted.  Should be blooming just in time for the February/March doldrums, when I need a bit of hope for spring! 

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The grocery store provided some lovely Hyacinth bulbs, which are blooming and filling the house with their heady scent!  

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A pot of tiny bright daffodils to brighten up the dining room!  

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In the kitchen, the Christmas cactus is blooming once again!  Such exotic blossoms! 

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The row of miniature african violets continues to bloom.  It's been non-stop for months now!  

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There has been a bit of time to play with some embroidery.  I guess I need to work under a magnifier now as when I take a photo I can see all sorts of mistakes that I don't see otherwise.  

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A tiny bit of progress on a crazy quilt project.  

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The gift of a dozen colorful farm fresh eggs from a co-worker this morning!  Guess what I had for dinner?  

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And of course, my dear kitty companions - true treasures!  Thomas is going on 16 and starting to show his age.  This is his favorite spot to sleep these days, hence the plastering of cat hair on the rug. It's right next to the little heater in my study.  

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And Kitzy Cat, after being rather a non-entity  around her for the past 4 years, is lately starting to become a real sweetheart of a cat and a much nicer companion.  She's about due for a haircut, once the coldest days of January are past.  

It was good to look around and see that there really are so many things I am thankful for, so many things that bring me joy!  Important not to get lost in the troubles of the day and instead search out the good things.  

08 January 2017

Delights of the Day Revisited

I began this blog almost 10 years ago!  Wow!  Today, as I was digging through my archives looking for something else, I came across this piece that I wrote titled, "Delights of the Day." I posted a somewhat smaller version in January 2008.  Truth be told, it has been a difficult couple of weeks, but as I read it over, I realized it was just what I needed right now.   I've updated it with the things I find delight in today.


Each day is filled with choices.  Do I give into despair and let the things that worry and disturb me fill every moment and thought?  Or do I seek the seeds of joy and hope and nurture them to blossom each day? 

Here then are a few of the delights of my day. 
- Sunshine melting the snow and warming things up nicely after several days of bitter cold.
- Sitting in my chair with both kitties cuddled up and talking to my sister on the phone.
- Working on my Dad's memoirs and having the opportunity to spend so much time remembering those I love who have gone on.  So many good memories!  
- Having lunch with a long time friend yesterday and the delight of unexpectedly meeting another mutual acquaintance of ours from elementary school while we were out and about!  
- Anticipating the arrival of another friend tomorrow and the time we'll spend together while I brush up on my spinning skills and try to share some of what I know with her! And maybe we'll get to spend just a little bit of time doing some crazy quilting too!  
- Having 6 whole days off work in a row.  It has helped me feel normal again. 
- The Christmas Cactus blooming on the kitchen window sill for the second time in two months! 
- The Christmas lights in the windows that I'm not quite ready to take down just yet.  Their light soothes me on the dark winter nights.  I've also left the rustic Christmas tree up sans decorations.  The lights are so peaceful.  At the end of January, when the days start to last a bit longer and the light lingers into the early evening, I'll take the lights down.  
- Enjoying the birds and squirrels at the feeders.  Nothing fancy, just sparrows, finches and juncos, but their twittering soothes my heart. 

While watching the birds, I am reminded of the scripture in which Jesus tells us not to be anxious.

Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they?  And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life? 

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.
Matthew 6: 26, 27. 31-33
  
Tasha Tudor, one of my favorite author/illustrators often quoted a poem by Evelyn Underhill.
I come in the little things,
Saith the Lord:
Yea, on the glancing wing
Of eager birds, the softly pattering feet
Of furred and gentle beasts.
 
 I come in the little things,
Saith the Lord:
Not borne on the morning’s wings
Of majesty, but I have set My feet
Amidst the delicate and bladed wheat.
 
 I come in the little things,
Saith the Lord.  Amen.


Begin doing what you want to do now. 
We are not living in eternity.
We have only this moment,
Sparkling like a star in our hand—
And melting like a snowflake.

            --Marie Beyon Ray

02 January 2017

Hello 2017!

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We celebrated our family Christmas on New Year's Day since I had to work over Christmas.  It's always such a blessing to gather together!  This year, made doubly fun by the addition of these two sweet little girls!  At 3 and 4 months, they are gooing and gurgling and have such a grand time interacting with one another!  

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Who could resist this sweet face?!  I know that through the coming year, there will be so many amazing moments with these two sweet grandbabies!  

     *     *     *     *     *     * 
There are lots of projects in the works as always.  Every year, I make up a list of all the projects I want to complete and new ones I want to start.  It always seems immensely do-able.  But the year end comes and so many of them remain unfinished!  I keep hoping though, that one day, my to-do box actually will actually get emptied out!  

One of the big things I hope to work on this year is to simplify my life a little bit.  This past year, it felt like things were getting away from me in a big way.  I've already started prioritizing the things I say yes to, and saying no a bit more often to the things that wear me down.   

A big goal is to continue downsizing my belongings.  I have dreams of a minimalist lifestyle ~ but as someone who is a packrat at heart and who loves to create things, that's pretty challenging!  Part of the minimalist dream is to live more frugally, more efficiently, to have less of an impact on the environment.  This is something I've been working on for a long time, but I think it's time to step up my efforts a bit.  I'm going to do my best to eliminate most plastic from my life as well as decrease the amount of un-recycleable trash I produce.  I already produce more recycling than I do trash ~ about 2 to 1, but I know I can do better, and the hope is to reduce both recycling and trash.

I also need to do some thinking about how to make a living doing creative things that don't demand 12 hour shifts on my feet.  My health and well being is demanding a change and I need to start paying attention and taking positive action!  

After going through the list of all my potential projects here are the big ones that I want to finish this year.
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Each year, I usually have at least one "book" project that I work on, including putting the previous year's blog posts into a book format.  Last year, I finished up our family cookbook!  It turned out really well and the kids were each so happy to at last have the family recipes that they wanted most without having to call me every time!

Before she died, my Mom had put together my Dad's and her Memoirs.  They each spent a lot of time writing down stories from their life and compiling scrapbooks of all the important bits of their histories.  My Mom wanted to put them into book format, but then she passed away, just as I was getting started scanning the photographs for it.  With the family cookbook out of the way, this is the year of my Dad's Memoirs.  Combining all the writings, the photographs and memorabilia and putting it into book form for all the family members and friends who would like a copy.

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I am also nearly finished with the Advent book that I've been working on.  It will be ready soon and when it is, I'll make the link available to purchase.  It's a compilation and re-working of many of the Advent meditations that I've done on the blog over the years.

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Speaking of Advent things, I have the two Christmas Crazy Quilt projects that I would like to finish.  Both are so close... Just need to get in gear and get them done!

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Then there is the Hearts Round Robin that I would like to complete.  I have 5 finished blocks and one unfinished block.  In all, I would like a total of 9, so need to make at least 3 more before this one will be ready to assemble!

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I had such fun with the Daily Stitchings in November and would like to continue some measure of this off and on throughout the year.

2017.01.02Projects07Along the line of Daily Stitching is the idea of doing Daily Paintings.  Doing these watercolor sketches makes me so happy and it's something I want to make more time for, even if just on a weekly basis.   Oil painting is going to the back burner for a while.  Especially while I'm still working.  There simply aren't enough hours in a day to do all the things I love to do, so I've made a hard decision to let this one rest for now, though I may dabble from time to time.

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I have some ideas ruminating in the back of my mind about new directions to take my stitching work.  I have loved crazy quilting, and will continue to do it, but I'm going to branch out into some other areas as well.   One of the new projects I'm going to work on is an embroidered piece for my blog header!

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Then I have this tray of lovely ivory and blush pink bits, that I keep out for inspiration.  One of these days, it's going to turn into a crazy quilt block.  I was hoping to work on it last year, but it never happened, so hopefully this year it will!

And if that doesn't keep me busy, I have a big basket filled with unfinished projects that I can choose from!

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