DIY: Striped Table Runner

I'm one of those people that goes in spurts when it comes to creating things. I have moods, and schedules, and those have to collide before I get the things done that are in my head! I've been adding pops of a coral color in my living room, to accent the turquoise and brown. The neutrals are soothing, but sometimes a girl has got to have some color in her life! I was so over the tan burlap that I'd used as a runner for the coffee table, and wanted some stripes, so I pulled out more burlap...this time in white!

I found some leftover paint from the nursery projects I've done, and mixed in some white paint I had on hand. I found an old magazine to lay under the burlap, since it has an open weave and some paint would seep through. After measuring the width of the runner, I taped off the area I wanted to paint and then I got to work!

With the rough texture, I wasn't sure how easily the paint would apply, but it was a fairly smooth process. I was so giddy to see my completed project, I barely waited til the paint was dry before pulling off the tape! ha.

Isn't it purdy??!! And still drying. Ahem. But who cares?

You know that moment when the vision in your head becomes reality? And actually looks almost like you bought it in the store? {my opinion, of course!} Ahh, yes. I love it!!! Now I'm itching to whip up some new pillow covers...

Stay cool in this heat, my friends!

A Clever New Twist

Almost as soon as his feet had touched the floor when he joined the church we now attend, the Badger had instigated the Big Boys’ Breakfast – a quarterly gathering at a cheerful Greasy Spoon pub when the chaps ingest fried eggs and bacon and hear a speaker on some aspect of the Christian life.

I feel a vague sorrow that this is an all-male gathering, and have already snuck into one of the meetings to hear the speaker.

So the Badger suggested a feminine counterpart which might be called “Ladies that Lunch”.  I really loved this idea – it had an elegant ring to it, immediately attractive, a kind of James James Morrison Morrison Weatherby George Dupree’s mother ambiance that felt like a Very Good Thing.  Encouraged by my enthusiasm, the Badger began to float the idea over breakfast at our parish weekend away.  “Good idea,” said one of our (female) church members on hearing his suggestion: “except in our case I think it should be ‘Ladies Wot Lunch’.”

Oh.  I see.  From the West End to the East End at one dismal stroke.  I wouldn’t want to go.

This incident recalled to mind something that happened when I was minister of a Methodist church.  I had been lamenting the evaporation of the custom of ladies wearing hats to church.  I love hats.  I think they add something stylish to an outfit and I thoroughly approve of them.  In the days when one was not properly dressed going out without a hat, how marvellous to have the excuse of imperative – I simply must have a new hat!   Not any more.  And church was the last place where hats were de rigeur.

I can still wear a hat of course, and frequently do – but with a sense of faint embarrassment that feels akin to Teenage Rebellion – “I’ll wear one if I like, so ner!”

And at this Methodist church where, as minister, it fell to me to continually dream up cheerful and groovy Community Bonding Exercises, I suggested one spring that on Easter Sunday each lady might make the effort to wear a hat, as once everyone used to do; a new hat for Easter Sunday was the custom at one time.  An Easter Bonnet.

How taken aback was I on Easter Sunday morning, when I emerged from the vestry into the pulpit to see that the ladies of the congregation had assumed I meant joke hats.  There they sat in their garish tin foil and coloured paper clownish creations, their ‘Easter Bonnets’.

Oh.  my.  goodness.   Er . . . well done ladies.  Very nice.  Well; they tried.

Likewise the time we bought tickets to hear the London Community Gospel Choir, thrilled by the selection of old favourites on the programme.  Imagine our disappointment to discover we would be hearing the old favourite words – but all set to new tunes specially written for the occasion.  Oh, right.  Darn.  Wish we’d stayed at home.

It seems nothing is enough unless it has a Clever New Twist, some tedious witticism to make it into a Lark.    The music played twice as fast or the skirt designed with an assymetrical hem, or the Christmas earrings that light up and play a tune.

On one memorable occasion I ate out at a Chinese restaurant where one of the diners had ordered a crayfish dish.  The unfortunate boiled crustacean was born in enthroned upon a pile of rice, its antennae sporting blue and green flashing lights.  What?  Your dinner?

I have not many possessions left, but one of my treasures is a pair of CDs recorded by the father of my children, two collections of Christmas music, one being piano and cello, the other piano and brass.  Traditional Christmas carols, their loveliness, tenderness, mystery, magic, beauty simply allowed to emerge and be itself.  No clever new twist, just the carols.  We listen to it every year.  Like the Nine Lessons and Carols service from Kings College Chapel in Cambridge, broadcast every year by the BBC, opening with the solo choirboy treble singing “Once In Royal David’s City” with, God be praised, no reggae setting or unexpected syncopation – just the beauty of the tradition.

Do I sound like a Grumpy Old Woman?  You know what?  I don’t care.

Long live the beautiful, the simple, the unadorned elegance, the unaffected grace of becoming custom, the Book of Common Prayer, the old spirituals, the lullabies we sang to our children, the dances round the maypole in the springtime, the soaring loveliness of Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, the quiet melodies of Lead Kindly Light and Abide With Me, ladies in skirts and ladies in hats, lunchtime concerts, Harris Tweed, fountain pens and handwritten letters, a cat snoozing by the embers of a real log fire, and afternoon tea at Betty’s cafĂ©.

365 366 Day 181 – Friday June 29th

The Dalai Lama’s Blessing Incense, made of Tibetan herbs and the loveliest fragrance ever, comes with one of these little holders in the end of the packet because, unlike Indian joss sticks, Tibetan incense sticks are incense right through, not formed around wooden sticks, so they don’t fit into regular joss stick holders.  This is the kind of semi-disposable item I have a tendency to hang onto.  I finally applied to the situation the logic that if I had no incense sticks left I didn’t need the holder, and if I bought a new pack, well it would have a holder in anyway.

365 366 Day 180 – Thursday June 28th

Two pretty hankies.  I almost never use tissues, and have a stash of real cotton hankies for everyday purposes. I liked these ones a lot, and could have used them – but they went to someone I thought could use them even more.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Recently, a friend unwittingly watered seeds of fierce irritation and frustration in me. I immediately recognized what was happening, and did my best not to become part of the judgmental and negative energy flow. Realizing that these words and reprimands were spoken with concern, I in turn chose my responses carefully and kindly, steering the conversation in a new direction as rapidly as I could. Sadly, while sparing the sensitivities of my companion much went unsaid on my end. Later I dealt with the consequences of this as I cleared my clogged and stifled throat chakra. Again. 

I meditated on the negative energy inside me and around me, and waited for the bubbles to rise to the surface. What was it exactly that had disturbed me so much? Thrown me so violently off course? I didn't have to wait for long, those bubbles rose quickly, with little encouragement or provocation from me. It seems they were just begging to be acknowledged. They were mad. Feet stomping, spittle flying furious. They certainly were fiery little buggers. As they rose I could hear one phrase, repeated over and over again, with righteous and indignant fury they screamed, tirelessly, "Leave Me Alone! Leave Me Alone! Leave Me Alone!" From my calm and neutral observation point I marveled at this livid mantra and realized these seeds hadn't only been watered, they had been fertilized too. Heavily. With tons and tons of ripe chicken poop.

I realize I am an unusual sort of gal, in fact, that's part of the reason why I like and respect myself so darn much. I'm not afraid to be different. I embrace my uniqueness. I'll admit that I'm not going to believe something you tell me just because it is the accepted norm. In fact, that is more often reason for me to question it, deeply. If new (or old) information piques my interest I will spend many, many hours researching it, and come to my own conclusions. Over the years this has created an eclectic and pretty interesting set of beliefs, should anyone have the interest to ask. Not that many do. While I may be too young to be called "The Crazy Old Ferret Lady", I see that day approaching. Rapidly.

While I hesitate to dig into the issue that watered my negative seeds in the unlikely event that this post is read by said friend,  I do plan on a post in the future to express my beliefs in this area. Not because I hope to change your mind, but simply to present another point of view. Another perspective that you may not have had the luck to stumble across at this point in your journey. And I guess that must be confusing for some people. Why, if I believe in this so totally, aren't I trying to convert the world?? Why not scream it from the rooftops? Why not shake people up with grim and fatalistic statistics? Well, that's not really my style anymore, but most importantly because I've been blessed to realize that what my be true for me, may not be true for you. Period. Period. Period. 

Really, all I ask it to be left alone, and I know others long for the same. Since I do not force or push my choices on you, I only ask for the same respect in return. I feel absolutely no need to defend my beliefs any longer, instead choosing to live a life of quiet peace. I can no longer tolerate the lectures. The disapproving glances. The sighs. As my bubble screamed so eloquently Leave Me Alone. Please. :)

The point of this post today is to ask you to please, please remember, as you make your way through this day, and every day after, to afford others the same respect as you would choose for yourself. The same freedom of choice. The same right to make their own decisions, no matter how 'wrong' they seem to you. Remember that your perspective is limited. It's shaped by your singular journey through this lifetime and often only affords a very narrow and one-sided view. 

No lectures or stern reprimands. Really, who likes being lectured at?? Embrace live and let live as your personal mantra and feel the weight of the world lift off of your shoulders. Keep your mind open. Awaken to the possibility that a new and improved view may suit you better. You may find that you've been wearing an outdated, moth ridden set of beliefs simply because they're comfy. Familiar. Maybe a brand new, slinky black dress is just what you need to discover the joy and happiness you've been seeking. 

Keep your eyes and ears open. There are so many awesome people out there with amazing, almost unbelievable info to share. But you'll only hear it if you're listening. You'll only see it if you're looking. Instead of judging ask questions. Ask why I eat as I do. Ask why I live as I do. Ask why I homeschool. Ask, ask, ask. With an open mind and an open heart. The answers may surprise you, and despite your initial reluctance you may find yourself slipping into that form-fitting, velour, sequined running suit. Just for the sheer fun of it. :)

Wondering about Wednesday

Where does everyone go on Wednesdays?

Alice says statistically it’s a day when people feel low and depressed.  Woeful Wednesday.  Weary Wednesday.

Whatever, it’s a jolly good day for getting things done.  You want to go to the shops for groceries, see a film at the cinema, go out to a restaurant to eat – Wednesday’s your best day; because nobody else is there.  Why not?  What’s wrong with Wednesday?

My friend Tom Cullinan says you get on better in life if you want what no-one else wants.  When I was studying at York University at the age of eighteen, I quickly discovered that going to bed early and getting up early was brilliant – it was like living on campus by yourself.  Since those days I have treasured the early morning as a workplace where no-one else is.

To live frugally, effectively and peacefully: choose what’s out of fashion, go to bed at 9pm, start work at 5.30am, if you want to lunch out arrive at 11.45am, and only go into town on a Wednesday.


365 366 Day 179 – Wednesday June 27th
(if you don’t know what I’m talking about, see here)

Smart jacket.  I think wherever I am now, ‘smart’ does not apply.  I’m not sure that in the US ‘smart’ means the same as it does in the UK – stylish, formally elegant . . . 

365 366 Day 178 – Tuesday June 26th

I was pleased with this. For ages I’d been putting off going through my needle-case and sorting out the needles that had gone a bit rusty.  I had too many anyway – they accumulate, goodness knows how!  I don’t remember buying any.  They just arrive.  I sent some off in a Freecycle craft kit, kept some, and these were the ones that needed to be moved on to the Great Needle-case in the Sky.

Now I know

All right, now I know!

For some time I have been turning over and over in my mind the kind of place I would like to live, and at last it has all fallen into place.

I should explain that this depends on my books suddenly and inexplicably becoming best-sellers and making me two million pounds minimum.

This is my plan (contingent upon that eventuality).

I intend to purchase a (very) large estate with woodlands and streams, near a main road.

As far as possible from the main road my dwelling will be constructed.  That will be a very small brick-built house, just big enough for a door with a window either side.  Inside will be a big ingle-nook fireplace, a bed built with 2 drawers underneath, a small hutch for my food and utensils, my chest of drawers and bookshelves, an armchair for guests, and my nightstand.  I will have a lean-to shed for firewood, and collect rainwater from the roof (which will be slate with a solar panel to charge my phone and computer).  I will have a standpipe for drinking water.  No gas, no mains electricity, no mains water.

Around my little house I will have a walled garden with a henhouse big enough for three hens free to roam in the walled garden, an orchard of trees, meadow flowers and lots and lots of herbs.  I will grow wild roses and honeysuckle against the wall.

A mile or so away on my estate will be the cottages of my workmen.  They will be my ostler/farrier, my game-keeper, my wheelwright, my gardener, my woodsman, my farmer, my general handyman and my shop manager.

There will be no public roads running through my estate, which will include woodland and open meadows for my goats and cows.

On the border between one of the meadows and woods will be Hebe’s cob house that she built for herself, with a green (living) roof, and a well. 

Everyone else in my family will live nearby too, in dwellings of their choice – but NO CARS are allowed on my estate.  Anyone with a car will have to live on the border near the main road, and park their car in the car-park, bordered with stout wooden bollards, near the main entrance.  The Badger will have a large grand house with its own sweeping driveway onto the road, with plenty of garaging for his cars – a classic car, a Toyota Prius, a very fast sports car and anything else he fancies.  He will have his own garden with the kind of weird trees he likes – tall thin conifers, eucalyptus etc – and a simply enormous fishpond.  He can have his own cook and butler and housekeeper.  I will pay their wages for him.

Needless to say, Alice and Hebe will have a range of studios for their work, and a special stoneyard with all the right equipment.  And there will be a playpark with swings and a slide, a climbing frame, a roundabout, a paddling pool and a small boating lake for the Wretched Wretch’s special pleasure.

At the estate entrance will be situated a general grocery store selling organic, ethically sourced, earth-friendly, socially just, minimally packaged, healthy, traditionally made products sourced from small independent family businesses within a 250 mile radius of the estate.  All my shopping will come from there, and this is how I will get it: –

On my estate, as well as a large market garden and a small farm for hay, grain, sheep, cows and goats, will be a large pasture with big shady trees and a field shelter for my Percheron horse and companion donkey.  The horse will be helpful for hauling firewood and also for pulling my personal transport, a simple cart/trap with bench seats, big enough to seat six to eight people.

A couple of times a week, the horseman will get it ready and come by my house to collect me to go to the shop at the estate entrance for my groceries.  The estate will be traversed by a winding road that goes all over it, past the farm and all the fields and the market garden, past the homes of my family members.  Because it winds back and forth all round the estate, the road will be about six miles long, and it will take about an hour and a half for me to ride along it in my horse-drawn cart all the way from my house at one end to the shop at the other end, once you count in all the stops at the houses where the people inside will be dashing about getting a basket ready to drive to the shop.

And so I will live out my days in happiness and peace, writing wonderful novels, with no street lights at night only the stars.  I will have long skirts with large pockets, and a big shady straw hat, and large floppy jumpers I make from the yarn  have spun from the fleece of my sheep.

365 366 Day 177 – Monday June 25th

A really excellent camping toilet of the bucket variety.  Useful and practical.
I preferred something that would tuck away, and also I didn’t really like the shade of grey, and I am not a big fan of plastic.
So my own system now looks like this – with feline approval!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

"Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace." ~ May Sarton

To me, the hardest part of gardening is past. What's left is the quiet, meditative tasks of watering, weeding... and waiting. Oh yeah, and bug picking. 

Wee baby kale quickly grew from this...

into this! A veritable sea of green. Each morning I wade through the thigh high kale, picking only the largest leaves, leaving the smaller, younger ones some more growing time. By gathering this way the kale will continue quite happily to provide us with super healthy greens throughout the summer.

Harvested and ready for rinsing and caterpillar detection. Yes, creepy crawlies are a huge part of organic gardening! They love the chemical free produce almost as much as I do. Thankfully, I plant enough to share.

I'm always very careful as I crawl through the kale each morning, trying very hard not to disturb the spiders hard at work. They're some of my most helpful garden pals. There  is nothing more beautiful than a meticulously spun web sprinkled with morning dew. :)


Sweet and lovely pea blossoms have morphed into crisp and super delicious sugar snap peas. We split our daily harvest and munch, munch away. 

Crunchy peas dangle, tantalizing, just begging passing fingers to pluck. And oh, the sweetness. Yum.

Each morning I also pick lettuce for our evening salads. By breaking off only the large outer leaves (the same method I use with the kale) the plants will produce for me through much of the summer. There's nothing tastier than freshly picked garden lettuce, so tender and full of flavor. Add some sweet red peppers, crispy cucumbers, organic hemp seeds and some freshly toasted garlic sunflower seeds to create a healthy and super yummy summer snack.

"But if each man could have his own house, a large garden to cultivate and healthy surroundings ~ then, I thought, there will be for them a better opportunity of a happy family life." ~ George Cadbury

Pumpkin plants reach for the sky. These need to be thinned to the healthiest plant in each bunch... as of yet I haven't been able to bring myself to do it. I struggle with this every year. How to decide which perfectly healthy young seedling to sacrifice? Ugh... maybe I'll have the girls do it for me. Again.

Adorable baby peppers

A little tip I learned several years back ~ plant your pepper plants close enough to touch. They thrive on the contact and before I know it I'll have a "bush" dripping with peppers. There are usually way too many to keep up with, so I dice and freeze them. I'm trying a new, sweeter variety this year...

 For whatever reason, the conditions for germination weren't met, and my first batch of green beans didn't come up. So, I tried again knowing that beans aren't only super healthy for people, but they replenish the soil in a wonderful way. I soaked a bowlful of organic kidney beans overnight and popped them in the ground the next morning. This time, success. In one day they went from nothing to this...

then this...

and finally this! Pretty amazing, huh? That growth was in about 8  hours time. If I had had the time (and patience) I probably could have parked myself in the garden and watched them unfurl! 

"A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows. " 
~ Doug Larson

Perfectly perfect itty bitty tomatoes. These will turn orange and deliciously sweet. Riley Mae and Scott eat them by the handful. I'm more a fan of cooked tomatoes myself.

I spent a lot of time researching companion planting and the best flowers to use as insect deterrents. Nasturtiums, just beginning to flower, may become my best friends this year. See that sneaky little cucumber beetle lurking in there? Trouble.

Marigolds are also super beneficial,  an especially great companion for tomato plants. They help to keep away the hornworms and other pesky critters that are sure to make an appearance any day now...

Each year I have a fair amount of trouble with slugs. Overnight they decimate marigolds, petunias and sunflowers. This year I tried something new. A couple of weeks ago Scott, Jordan and I spread sand around the perimeter of the garden. The results? So far, fabulous!! We've only found one slug munching on a marigold and my flowers have gone unmolested. Not bad for a $15.00 load of sand. :)

"Gardens are not made my singing "Oh, how beautiful" and sitting in the shade." ~ Rudyard Kipling

And so, that is the progress of the gardens (thank you Jordan for more gorgeous photos!). I've assigned garden rows, and bright and early every morning you'll find us lugging watering can after watering can up to the thirsty plants. Picking the random weed and scouring for destructive insects is also part of the job description.

It really is amazing how quickly plants grow, a mini miracle I get to admire each and every day.  I find myself wandering out there, just because, on a frequent and regular basis. It's so peaceful and grounding back there, but the quiet passivity is merely an illusion. Those little plants are hard at work and before you know it we'll be snacking on crisp cucumbers, sweet summer squash and (fingers crossed) cabbage and brussels sprouts! I can taste them already...

Happy Sunday. :)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

If you are a subscriber and receive my posts to your inbox (thank you!), you might want to click on the post  title (the date) to be taken directly to my blog today because I have a gorgeous new blog design!! 

I hired a highly competent blog designer, paid her richly, and went bug-eyed as I watched her maneuver through six pages of html nonsense. I choose lovely backgrounds, fonts and colors (and changed my mind every 30 seconds) while she did all the technical work. She was very patient (mostly) with me, but required  a slight attitude adjustment towards the end of our renovating process. ;)

Who is this whiz of blog make-overs you ask? And how much does she cost you may be wondering with breathless anticipation?  Well, I'm afraid she doesn't come cheap. So far she's received 14 years of free room and board, a live-in chef, a premium education complete with one-on-one tutoring, and all of the pets her mind can dream up...

 Yes, it is none other than my wild, crazy and artistic Jordan (My Rainbow Veins). You may also know her as the supplier of most all of the gorgeous photos you see here on Inspiration Earth.

So go ahead, wander around a bit. She put up that cool drop down menu on the side, it's pretty awesome. Roll over links and watch the color change, yup, all her. All I had to do was tell her what I wanted and it was done. Pretty cool.

One last detail. Look to your right, see that little box "Valet Service to the Top"? Go ahead, click it, I'll wait here....

Fun, right! C'mon, admit it, you did it more than once. (Or was that just me?) I have 'valet service' right now, but "Beam Me Up Scotty" was a close second. Taylor (Perfectly Sensible Nonsense) helped me out with that one, don't I have the smartest girls? :)

Oh, and that cool signature at the bottom? Yup, also new.

Have a lovely day friends. :)


Now that that politics rules the airwaves, I have a question.  If you had a genie grant you the wish to be President of the United States or some other version of "sort of ruler of the world," would you accept it?  Would you want it?  Or would you flee from it as fast as you could and throw the magic lamp in the ocean?

I personally never understand why people actually seek positions of power.  Ed once read a science fiction novel that portrayed American presidential elections in the distant future.  The country decided that the best president was the one who didn't want the job.  So the leaders drew up a list of the best and the brightest - wise, intelligent people from all over the country, and interviewed them all.  The ones who were eager for the job were crossed off the list.  The one who truly disliked the idea the most was the one they put in office.  (I assume they had lie detector tests or something similar to assure the reactions were legitimate.)  The premise was that no one in their right mind would want to hold a position of that power, and anyone who wanted it had to be...well, crazy.  The person who didn't want the job would be the best in the job.

I tend to laugh at politicians who are asked but decide not to run for high office.  Their reasons are so in keeping with their sense of what they should say.  "I'm satisfied as a senator, thanks."  "It's not the right time."  "My family is not in favor."  "I have health problems."  "I want more time to gather support."  OK.  I'm looking for the guy or gal who can be honest and say, "I'm honored you want me to run for President, but that job scares the crap out of me!!!"

I served on a local jury several years ago.  It was intriguing, but frustrating.  I hardly had the ability to choose my outfit for the day, never mind deciding the guilt or innocence of another human being.  The power was too great, the risks for error too high.

With power comes responsibility, and therein lies the conundrum.  I will freely admit I don't want the responsibility of running the country and making decisions about the economy, jobs, environment, and warfare, while simultaneously trying to work with people under me who are just as power-hungry and looking out for their parties, their friends, their companies, their positions, their prospects, and their salaries.  I just don't get it.  Why would anyone actually want this job?  It's not a perk - it's a burden.  Actions you take can affect the world.  Who thinks they are up to that monumental task?  If you think about it, anyone who runs for President of the United States thinks she/he is the best person in the whole country to tackle that job.  That's either a healthy ego of a truly remarkable person with vision - or a deluded individual whose quest for power has blinded reality.

Much has been written about how power corrupts.  Even politicians who enter the field for "duty and public service" eventually find the temptations of power too hard to resist, and the survival of their careers so important that ethics can be set aside.  What chance does integrity have against riches, power and privilege?  Sometimes, not much.  Temptation on a small scale is bad enough, but on a grand scale can ruin lives quickly and infamously.  Someone who thinks that eating sugar is bad but knows it is his weakness should never be in charge of a bakery.  In the same way, an environment that harbors betrayal, bribery, peer pressure, fame-seeking, and shameful secrets may not necessarily be a good choice for certain individuals who are not prepared for the pitfalls of living in such an environment.  Occasionally you will see Jimmy Stewart as Mr. Smith in Washington rise above the fray, but more often I fear others are pulled into the riptide and drown in the unforgiving waters.

It's Washington that is the seat of power in this country, but I'm not just talking about Washington.  From principals to mayors to office managers on up - with power comes responsibility.  Power demands integrity and power requires wisdom.  We each have to examine our own souls to decide if we have what it takes, and are not just trying to take what it has.

Of course, the kicker in all this is that we have the power all the time for a variety of things.  Every day we have the power to hurt or soothe someone's feelings, the power to lend or refuse to give help, the power to serve or demand service.   Every minute of my time is led by my personal decisions on how to use my personal power.  That, quite frankly, is enough for me.

I don't need or seek to have control over other people.  I wouldn't be comfortable managing a small office, let alone a country.   I don't consider that a sign of weakness.  I consider that a confirmation that I know enough to run away.


There's a song I love that comes again and again to my mind, as something arising from my heart that I really want to pray.  But I can't find it anywhere online, so this is me singing it for you.  Best I can do.

*        *        *

Sorry if you wanted to hear it friends - you'll see from the comments that it's still under copyright and I don't have a license: so once more the copyright laws have done what they do best - ensure the work of artists remains unknown.

The song's here - but you can't hear it anywhere on the internet because of the copyright, and nobody sings it in church any more - so I guess it'll stay a beautiful mystery.


365 366 Day 174 - 176
Friday June 22nd – Sunday June 24th  

Some children’s books that I liked but the Wretched Wretch didn’t seem to take to – I suspect because the story was what you might call “made up”.  Real fiction comes from a place of truth, and rings true like the best kind of singing bowl.  These stories were more written by people who had a “message” (always somewhat leaden) in the case of Thee Hannah or else wanted to write about a world that had charmed them in the case of the one with the girls in blue bonnets, or create their own niche publishing in the case of the one about the bear (which is actually a true story I believe).  The red one is a thousand first words in Spanish – we had it for when we had our Spanish lodger, to identify words for regular household things.  I thought the Wretched Wretch would enjoy the pictures, but not so.  He prefers Shirley Hughes or Angry Arthur.  I guess these books just had too much of my own agenda.

World-View Wednesday: Sadie Rose Foundation 5k

As you can see, I'm a day behind; I just wanted to clear that up before you wonder why I'm posting for Wednesday on a Thursday! This week has been so busy; with VBS at church, packing for a trip to Indiana and taking care of a teething baby. But I wanted to share a few pics of the 5k I participated in last Saturday, along with several friends.

The Sadie Rose Foundation was started by Regina Harlow, after she lost her daughter, Sadie Rose, 17 hours after she was born. The heart of this ministry is to reach out to grieving families who've experienced similar loss. I love seeing how Regina is allowing God to use her to touch the lives of others that are hurting! When I heard that they were having a 5k, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. But I thought that my friend, Krista {who lost her sweet son,Truman, 3 months ago} would appreciate the experience even more, so I asked her if she'd join me...and she said she would!

Then I invited a few more friends, and Team Truman was formed! Pictured L to R: Jessica, Krista, Rachel, me, Christy, Sheila, Karana, Amy & Polly. It was a fun day, but bittersweet as we remembered and honored Truman's short life.

We wrote "Team Truman" on the back of our t-shirts, so we attempted a picture to show this. As you can see, you can't see it! ha. Oh well...

It was fun to run this with 2 other mommies: one of them, with a 3 week old baby! Go Amy!!

We all walked/jogged/ran the 3.1 miles and it was just a bit challenging. The information about the walk mentioned "rolling hills in Dayton", and it was most definitely that! Yeah, like maybe I didn't run at all on the one. It was a test of endurance! (= As I saw other people running way ahead of me, I decided the point is not so much how fast you run, but just that you do it!!!

Hadassah & I completed the race in 34 minutes! It was wonderful to reach the finish line (= I was so grateful to be a part of this event, and hope that many more hearts can find comfort in the support this ministry offers.

Bless you all!!


Thursday, June 21, 2012

It is a true blessing never knowing quite how long my challenging times will last. If you had told me at the onset of my panic disorder that I would be lost in black despair for more than 3 years I may have closed my eyes in silent, breathless defeat. When each minute is an enormous hurdle, 3 years is an unbearable eternity of suffering.

While my latest funk can in no way compare to those panic years, it has been quite uncomfortable nonetheless, with a very firm and possessive hold on me. Quite frankly, I am ready for unrelenting, unadulterated joy to once more take its place. I have been religiously applying all of my usual tools and methods ~ mindfulness, meditation, and heeding the words of the wise. And yet… while the fog is thinner, I am still searching for my way through the soupy mess. Thinner isn’t good enough, I’m aiming for sunny, blue and cloudless skies.

It came to me quite abruptly as I sat down to meditation the other night that while my focus has been on mindfulness I’ve been neglecting to acknowledge why that knot of discomfort even exists in me, and where it came from in the first place. Not consciously, but neglect is neglect. I thanked my Spirit voice for the heads up and used that very meditation to uncover and accept those things that have been demanding my attention.

Usually when I’m set on figuring things out I do a quick scan of the major people, issues or events currently in my life. As I see each in my mind’s eye, I can tell immediately whether or not there is any negativity attached there. Say for example I run Scott through my mind and feel vague (or pressing) discomfort. That is a clear sign for me to dig deeper ~ did I say or do something unkind? Did he? Do we need to talk about something? It's a quick and efficient way to get to the root of whatever is bothering me. This time however, I tried a different approach. I settled in, stilled my mind, and quietly, patiently… waited.

It didn’t take long before I felt bubbles rising to the surface. Thankfully they arrived in an orderly fashion, one at a time.  This gave me time to assess and feel out each one completely. The first to rise to the surface was Backyard Dreams. Anyone who follows this blog is probably rolling their eyes and muttering “Bigggg surprise.” Really, that’s okay, because you’d be totally right. This is a pattern that repeats itself with regularity, and while I have discovered some interesting things in relation to this cycle, I still haven’t gotten it all figured out yet. Give me time though, I’m tenacious.

Anyway, back to Bubble #1… after “planting season” was over I took my shop off of vacation mode and instantly made a sale. This caused the almost immediate reaction of feeling distressingly overwhelmed. Since most all of my products are made to order, each one is a big investment of time. I simply don’t have enough hours in the day during the summer months to run my shop in the way that I feel I must. With great relief I decided to shut down Backyard Dreams for the time being (yes, again) and embrace all the glory of summer. I felt the beginning of relief with the popping of Bubble #1. 

Bubble #2 followed closely. Anyone have a guess? Yes, for those that guessed blogging, you would be correct. I just have so much to say!!! I am constantly finding myself mentally writing blog posts about anything and everything that happens to me in a day. I can assure you it is one of my biggest distractions from living mindfully. I have so many cool and life changing tidbits to share, so many super delicious foods I’d love for you to try, so many small epiphanies each and every day. Life is so fabulously glorious; I just want everyone to find the same joy that I have. I discovered that subconsciously  I am putting way too much pressure on myself. While I would love to blog daily, or even every other day, realistically this isn't going to happen. Not as my life is right now. Gardens need daily watering and weeding. Meals need to be prepared. Animal sheds need fresh bedding. Ferrets need to be snuggled. Children (and husbands) need guidance. And yes, toilets need to be cleaned. It all means that blogging has to happen when it happens, no pressure from my stinky rotten ego.

And there goes Bubble #2 ~ pop! Right on its heels though was Bubble #3. This one was related to my home which has a profound influence on how open and free I feel. Rooms were starting to feel congested, the energy felt cramped and tight. Almost dirty. So I pinpointed the trouble spots and I got to work. Rearranging is a hobby of mine, no one is ever surprised to see me start hauling couches and tables around. For a couple of days I worked on the house. I even paid Jordan and Riley Mae $5 each to bring back up the furniture they had just brought down the night before! After much careful contemplation and endless furniture manipulation, I have restored order to my surroundings. Each room serves a purpose in a quiet, simple and peaceful way. Pop. Bye-bye Bubble #3.

At this point I was feeling much lighter, but although smaller, the knot remained, lodged firmly in my abdominal region. Once I finally acknowledged its presence, I have no idea how I managed to ignore it for as long as I did. So, I waited some more. Quietly. Quietly. This one was timid, but it rose nonetheless. Bubble #3 held my daughter, Taylor, firmly in its center.

Taylorhas had skin issues since the day she was born. It started with cradle cap and progressed to psoriasis and severe eczema through the years. However, our recent discoveries have this issue warranting a post all of its own, so let me skip ahead. At almost 16 it had finally started to wear her down emotionally. She never complained or whined, but I could see the toll it was taking. She needed a fresh start. Since we seem to finally have uncovered some answers in regards to her skin issues it was the perfect time for… a makeover!!

She resisted me a little at first, but Mother Knows Best. We started with her hair and moved from there. I told her to go through all of her clothes and make two piles ~ one of articles that made here feel good, and the other of things that made her feel bad. When she was done I believe she had two shirts in the feel good pile, and a mountain of clothes that were old, worn, pilly and/or too small. Now this was a desperate situation.

So, I tapped into abundance and went shopping, admittedly not my favorite thing to do. I didn’t look at price tags (okay, I found myself glancing once or twice out of habit before I realized what I was doing!), and I refused to keep track of what we were spending. New earrings, shoes, blouses, shorts, pajamas and a bathing suit. The cart filled up awfully quickly! For the girl who hates to shop she sure looked pretty darn happy as we left the store. And everyday since. (She’s written her own post about the adventure ~ Surprise! Taylor Lynn Has Gotten a Makeover! ) I can see the boost to her self esteem and it is a beautiful thing. Of course that could have more to do with her healing, gorgeous skin, but a new outfit doesn’t hurt. Pop.

Was I done? No. But  in regards to my readers, at this point I feel I may have overstayed my welcome with the bubbles! While my journey of self discovery was highly illuminating to me, I’m afraid it won’t make very compelling reading. However, I also found that my lack of recent creativity, unfinished projects, correspondence awaiting my replies, an apology I needed to make, they were all adding to that knot of discomfort… I had unleashed a frenzy of bubbles!

Some of you, the more private I would guess, might wonder why I feel compelled to write what I do. Who the heck cares about my bubbles??? It’s not that I think my life is so enormously entertaining, unique or fascinating that you’re all dying to hear what I’ve been up to. In fact I may lead the quietest life of anyone that I know. I only leave the house when the girls force me to; my world is very small and very simple. I simply use my bubbles to illustrate the junk we each carry around, every day. This junk can take many different forms, but no matter the shape or size, they’re all roadblocks to a balanced and happy life.

I can only tell you that I hate secrets, and often don’t even understand the need to keep personal lives private. If what I’ve gone through can help someone else? Why would I want to keep that a secret? I’m not embarrassed to admit that I mess up, that I make ‘mistakes’, that I learn more everyday. While it’s not my place to share the private workings of others, I, on the other hand, am pretty much an open book. I am an average woman on a not so average journey. My quest has led me to unexpected and wonderful places, places I feel compelled to share with any and all that will listen. The point of today's post? Simply to encourage you to uncover your bubbles. Let them rise to the surface. Acknowledge them, accept them, love them… and then change them if you must. In a kind and gentle way. We all deserve a joyful life. If my personal journey with all of its bumblings and searching can help you find your bliss… well, wouldn't that be an amazing thing?

Have a remarkable and bubble-free day friends.

Peace & Blessings ~ Melinda