Monday, May 31, 2010


Blessings to all on this Memorial Day.

I hung the American flag outside my house today. Made me happy.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

21 Days Has Passed

Yesterday was day 21 of my 21-days-of-learning-to-meditate-better.

I have to be totally honest and say that I did not meditate every day. I tried to do it many of the days, but it just didn't happen as planned.  I did however, open my daily meditation-support-email every day. Do I get any points for that?

Even thought I didn't successfully complete the 21 days as planned, I still am glad that I have started to work on improving my meditation. Without a doubt, I have a long way to go.  I still can't believe how far a mind can jump from thing to thing when it's supposed to be quiet.

I read that Buddha began his search for himself by saying he would sit in silence until he was in a deep meditative state and at peace. But I'm quite sure he didn't have to go to work, take out the dog, answer the phone, and turn down the TV.

I'm not "there" yet - but I'll keep trying. Dang it, come hell or high water, I'm WILL BE calm!  :-)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Did Someone Say Hot?

As promised, it's time to share a few photos from my recent visit to Florida.

We visited Safety Harbor, a small community about 20 miles from the Tampa area.  I love the feel of the community. It's very simple, small and cozy. You can immediately feel the creative air and whimsy of the close neighborhood.

Every third Friday of the month, they have a street fair that consists of live music, food and handmade merchandise. Fortunately, we were there during that time. Main street is busy with activity and people walking the streets on the warm Florida evening.

Safety Harbor is clearly a dog-friendly community. It seems that about half of the festival attendees are proudly walking their favorite four-legged family member.

There are also several shelters among the vendors with some of the most lovable dogs looking for their special new home. Some are young and some are old - but without a doubt, they all are adorable and full of love. As an extreme dog lover, it takes me quite some time to get past all the cute tail-waggers and I do believe if I didn't have to fly back home, I'd have a couple new members added to my family! To everyone's relief, I controlled my doggie-desire and headed back to the hotel fur-free. :-)


Pizzeria (Best homemade pizza!)

Time anyone?

My nieces cute feet and sandals :-)

Our hotel from the boardwalk

A sweetie looking out a business doorway while "mom and dad" are working inside

A tree (the trunk and the blossoms up above) - for real!
I don't know what it is but it was sure fun to see

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Blooming Season

I love flowers. This year in Wisconsin, our flowers are growing quickly and blooming at their peak much earlier than normal.

Gardening is a wonderful hobby. Not cheap - but what is? It's a lot of hard work and sweat. It's a lot of aching backs from bending and lifting. It's a lot of weeds, bugs and worms.  However, it's also a lot of reward, pride, relaxation, meditative moments and complete joy.

This morning I grabbed my camera and snapped a few shots of my complete joy.

Let me take you on a quick garden tour...

Blue Flax, Chives and Iris

Dianthus with morning dew

Iris and hmmm....something from the Allium family

Splendid Rose (look carefully and you can see a little ant on one of the petals)

Roses and a variety of other greenery with bistro table and chairs in background

Pink Mallow

Hang tight, because I can guarantee that you'll be forced to see more of my garden throughout the season. So just sit back and enjoy the ride...

Monday, May 24, 2010


I'm back from a trip to Florida. I was at a cute little community called Safety Harbor.

It's hot in Florida right now. Really hot. I thought Wisconsin would feel much better. Now it's hot here. I must have brought it right back with me.

I'll try to post some photos tomorrow. . . but right now I'm too hot to do it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I Want to be a Sheep Farmer

Usually my dream "job" is just to be creative. To be free to create things that people love - maybe have a small shop - maybe teach some classes - and live comfortably and happy. But yesterday I decided that I might want to be a sheep farmer too.

Just a couple miles north of my home is a cute little spot that houses lots of little sheep. After after work the other day, I decided to stop, chat and take some sheep-snapshots. They were the cutest sheep - they ran to catch up with their fellow friends and see what were up to.

My, they are very busy little creatures - constantly eating and eating (hmmm...similar to me!). They did pause occasionally to give me a quick smile - but then it was off to munching again.

Seriously, it was so hard for me to leave them. I felt like I was leaving good friends and I wanted to take a couple home - but I just wasn't sure if my black lab, Charlotte, would approve. Sure, they might be new fun playmates for her, but I'm not even sure they speak the same language.  But heck, maybe it's not too late to learn a new language....

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I Might Be Off The Hook

Well, here's what "my meditation guy" told me in my email today:

Meditation should not add more stress to your life.
Why meditate if you're going to get stressed about doing it right, or about whether your meditations are good enough? How do you avoid this? Forget about how well you can stay focussed, and about what's "supposed to" happen when you meditate, and simply accept whatever does happen.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mindfulness Meditation

If you remember, waaaay back in January I said that I was going to try to focus on taking better care of myself this year.  Since I’m not one to procrastinate (ah, ya, right), I thought that maybe I should start working on this goal soon before it's time to get the Thanksgiving turkey.

Now one of the things that I really want to be able to do successfully is meditate. I believe it can be very useful and beneficial for everyone.

Last weekend I heard a speaker talk about “mindfulness meditation” and mindfulness in general. I realized that I stink at mindfulness. I think about a million things at once, am thinking more on what I might have to add to a story than listening to someone speak, can’t sit and enjoy reading a book without thinking about other things that I should be doing, etc., etc. So I googled “mindfulness meditation” and got a few simple instructions on how to practice it. And indeed it is something that does not come easy - it has to be practiced and practiced. Heck, I even signed up for a 21-day-meditation-helpful-hints-email to assist me in this journey.

Today is day two.

Let’s review day one. Headache upon waking. All day long while working at my desk, all I could think about was laying down on my couch. I clearly focused on one thing the entire time. Mindfulness? Probably not what meditation pros would call good mindfulness even though my main focus all day was on closing my eyes and sleeping.

Finally it was meditation time. Yeah! A great excuse to close my eyes! The instructions tell me to focus on my breathing. Only my breathing. If other thoughts come into my mind, I should acknowledge them and then begin to pay attention to my breathing again.

Let’s see….breathing…breathing…breathing…wonder how I’m doing…breathing…breathing…my friend Karen would like this…breathing…breathing…I remember when I called Karen after I had my Reikki treatment…we talked about grounding ourselves…breathing…wonder if she’s tried it…I should call her…oh, she’d really like this…I have to remember to ground myself daily…I haven’t done that…wonder if it would help…oh ya, breathing…LOL, I seem to think of a lot of things other than my breathing…breathing…I should blog about this…ya, that’s a good idea…breathing…wonder if I should do it tonight or wait until tomorrow…breathing…breathing…wonder if it’s been ten minutes…breathing…….

Well, at least it's a start - but if only I could be more mindful while getting there. 
It might be a long 21 days...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Remembering Mom

It's Mother's Day.

I'm very grateful - my son drove a five-hour-drive yesterday afternoon to come and visit me from college. I am so blessed to have a wonderful son who makes my heart soar.

I'm also very sad. My mom has been gone for four Mother's Day's now. This Mother's Day is not much easier than the first one. I miss her very much. She was my wonderful mom and my wonderful friend.

This photo was taken of my mom and dad three days before she passed over and eight months before my dad passed.  Mom went in her sleep. We had no idea she was sick. She was 69 years young and could easily run circles around me. Without a doubt, I miss her every day. Mom and dad were a couple weeks short of celebrating their 49th wedding anniversary.

Thank you God for allowing me to be a mother to a beautiful son and  daughter to a beautiful mom.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Face Toward the Spring

Years ago, when my Grandma was still living, I was curiously looking through her collection of books. She always had a lot of books and for some reason they always looked intriguing to me.

I spotted one book in particular that I seemed to be drawn to. I walked downstairs with it and found Grandma on her porch - gently rocking in "her" rocking chair (which now sits on MY back porch). I don't remember, but she was probably sewing on a button or working a crossword puzzle.

I asked her if she would mind if I borrowed her book, Face Toward the Spring by Faith Baldwin, until the next time I made it back down to her home "in the valley".  She said, "Of course, Annie. Oh, that's such a cozy book."

I never was able to return it to her. She passed away before I returned it - but I know she wanted me to keep it anyway.  And, yes indeed, it IS a cozy book. Faith Baldwin was a writer of stories, but this book shares some of her personal thoughts and feelings as she goes through a year of her life. Its chapters are based on the twelve months - so it's a book you can read all at once - or pick it up and just read a chapter/month at a time.

I picked it up the other day and read her "May" chapter.  She was such a wise woman. I love this passage from her book...

My copy of Grandma's book is kind of beaten with age - but I wouldn't trade it for the world. Really.

NOTE:  I thought you would be able to read the entire paragraph in the photo. When I reviewed the posted blog, it appears that even though I made it "x-large", you can't read the entire passage unless you click on the photo and open it up.  If you still are unable to read it, let me know and I'll happily retype it in the text. It's good don't want to miss it. :-)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Can You Smell Them?

Lilacs. Oh the sweet smell of lilacs.

I'm very fortunate. I have a long row of very well established lilacs. From the day we moved in, we've called it Lilac Lane.

They happen to be purple lilacs. Is it a coincidence that they are purple and purple is my favorite color? I think not. I think God put them for me personally.

Every spring I oh so happily cut handfuls and handfuls of lilacs to fill my house (even though I can smell them through every open window and doorway), to give to my friends, to share with passer-by-ers (done it - many times I've been cutting when someone drives by and says something to me about them - I hand them a handful and they hand me a smile) and even to the gaggles of elementary children waiting for the school bus on some warm, fragrant morning.

So, go ahead. Give it a try. Can you smell them?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Pillow Talk

I prepared a few bird-tweet pillows for a friend of mine to give to her mother and mother-in-law for Mother's Day. She picked her favorite two and that left me with two. No problem. Actually, good. I could post them for sale on my Etsy site. More postings are always a score.

But another friend that has an incredible shop called Compliments in Nisswa, Minnesota, asked if I wanted to put them in her shop. She said she'd love to carry some of my items and maybe have a trunk show with me later this year!  How fun!

So two of my tweet-pillows have headed up to the northwoods of Minnesota. It's always exciting to be able to venture into new territory....literally!  (So sorry for the poor color quality of the photos - I took them on a dreary morning before heading to work - and I didn't "have time" to putz with proper lighting on my camera. Some day I'll learn to slow down and do it right. You can't tell from the photos, but they both have the same navy blue background fabric.)

Have a tweet day! (Sick, I know - but I couldn't resist!)