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Spring Fever

19 Mar

Source: Uploaded by user via Craftsy on Pinterest

So we see these pallets everywhere. I mean EVERYWHERE!  Isn’t this the coolest recycling project ever?  I think I am totally gonna cover my porch with these this year.  Its is especially good for those who are space challenged as far as yards go so if you are a city dweller, or live in an apartment building with a small balcony or porch, this project is most certainly for you!  Happy Spring everyone!

Keep Breathing

1 Feb

When I was little all I dreamed about was becoming a ballerina, chased that dream till I was 24 and finally realized after I graduated college, it was never gonna happen.  From the moment you have understanding of words, people fill your head with notions that you can do anything you want to, be anyone you want to.  In a very broad, pure sense it is true.  Why then couldn’t little Bethany grow up and be that ballerina?  I tried my heart out.  I auditioned, trained, did everything I was supposed to, really put myself out there.   Real life limitations happened, my body’s limitations.  I have scoliosis.  That is something I can’t ever change no matter how hard I try.  I couldn’t become a Ballerina because my shoulders are permanently hunched, because my hips aren’t even and when I bend forward you can actually see where my spine curves.  I was a good dancer but I was never going to be “great” because my body just wasn’t made in the image if a ballerina.  God made me perfect though, yes I have limitations, but he has taught me how to use them, and accept them.  He gave me Yoga.

Yoga, pure and simple, is a beautiful art form.  It is slow and focused, stimulating mind, body, and soul.  Technique is key but if yours isn’t perfect, you aren’t moved to stand in the back of the class, you are encouraged, welcomed with open arms.  Even with yoga I am constantly challenged.  My scoliosis doesn’t take it easy on me here either.  I have a harder time rolling my shoulders back, opening up my chest, lengthening my spine, than your average learner.  This doesn’t mean I am bad at Yoga though.  In fact it has taught me to stop beating myself up, have patience, work with my body instead of trying to force it.  I embrace my weakness because it has shown me my strength.  I am graceful, strong, and determined.  I may have rounded shoulders but I have long straight legs that are powerful and amazing.  My feet are built perfectly for balancing, I have long toes and a beautiful arch, my ankles are sturdy and flexible.  My arms are beautifully shaped and graceful.  The fact that I have something to work for just makes it all the more worthwhile.

No matter how much joy filled my heart when I was dancing, I always felt I was on trial, that I had to prove that I belonged.   Maybe I never did.  God gave me the want to be in motion.  I want to move, leap, dance, balance, stretch.  Yet dance was judgmental, it wanted something I could never give, it wanted perfection and I was just….me. 

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Which is why I feel Yoga is such a gift.  It gives me the challenge of mastering a pose or movement yet it doesn’t judge.  I am not less because of my disability.  I am more, I have more to offer.  I understand so much now about how the spine works in our bodies, and how to protect it, care for it.  I have a better grasp on it then probably someone who has a perfect spine and lovely straight shoulders.  Now when I start teaching I will be able to help my students that much more.  I have learned that I am amazing at the balancing poses, or the stretching poses.  While my back may be curved, it is strong and I will master back bends.

Before, when I was a dancer, if there was something I didn’t know how to do, I would berate myself and force myself to do it whether my body was ready and capable or not.  I probably caused some damage that I will definitely experience in my golden years.  Heck, I already get achy joints when it is going to rain.  Through Yoga I have become excited when I see something I don’t know how to do yet, or I don’t have the strength yet.  Because this isn’t a race, I have all the time in the world to master the Inverted Locust pose.  I am not competing against anyone else.  I will be able to do it when my body is ready, and my body is becoming stronger everyday!

I will always have a special spot in my heart for dancing, when ever I hear an awesome song my body starts twitching, just aching to be let loose.  But dancing and being a dancer are two entirely different things and I finally learned that.  Yoga is Yoga.  God gave me Yoga.  God is Good.

A Clean Slate

8 Jan

Last year I was exhausted.  Exhausted by all the activities I tried to commit to, the projects I picked up, old projects I had worked on for ages it seemed.  Busy, busy, busy, but I never seemed to ever catch up, I couldn’t get anything done.  I would sit down to work on one project and my mind would be racing in so many directions, all the ideas I had and wanted to bring to life, that I usually ended up getting nothing done at all.

I am happy that I am an ambitious person, full of creative ideas, crafty, and filled with excitement, but what good is all that if I am overwhelmed and hunkered down on the couch because I can’t handle how full my plate has become?  This new year is about embracing everything I love about myself, and learning to manage it.   Simplify, relax,  realize everything has a time and a place, and keep in mind that multitasking is completely over-rated.

I came across this article in “Yoga Journal”, a really amazing magazine.  It was written by a published author Helena Echlin.  It just made sense to me.  The article was all about how our true happiness is so hard to find because we are constantly filling our lives with things that only bring instant gratification, and not putting in the time to figure out what we truly need, versus worldly wants and desires, that leave us wanting more, rather than satisfying us.

In the article, Helena, states that simplicity means focusing on whats vital in your life and deciding what truly matters to you as a person.  Steer away from a more commercial lifestyle filled with mindless acquiring of possessions that usually have no true connection to you as a person.  To figure out what you truly value and what you can live without, Helena writes:

  • Identify what gives you energy
  • Talk about it
  • Slow down
  • Confront the numbers
  • Visualize the simple life

Focusing our time on something or someone who gives us energy, instead of taking away from our precious store, is key to happiness.  When we are energetic, we are optimistic, cheerful, ambitious, excited about life.

Talking to someone who you trust is important, ( I definitely don’t always know how I think or feel truly until I sit down and hash things out, with my husband, or family, or my dearest friends).  Talking is a way of thinking out loud, we hear our own thoughts, receive honest feedback and are face to face with things we don’t always notice by ourselves.

Slowing down is an amazing thing that can do wonders, ( I don’t really absorb anything when I am rushing around like a mad woman), just like when you eat too fast you aren’t really tasting all the flavors of your food.  Life is full of flavors and experiences, just waiting to be noticed.

Confronting the numbers, something everyone is scared to do, me especially.  Think about it though, how many of us are weighed down by money issues, trying to spread out every dollar, working extra hours so that we can have more of it.   Maybe the issue is not that you need more money but that your money is going towards things that don’t actually give to a lifestyle that is conducive for happiness.  Go over your bank statement and divide everything into groups such as groceries, activities, bills, entertainment, clothing, etc.  Then do the math, how much do you spend in each group?  Ask yourself the hard questions, is it worth it, is it contributing to my true happiness,  is this a necessity or something I  can do without?  Who knows, maybe you actually do have the money to take up that sewing class, or start a garden fund, or a vacation fund.

The last, visualizing the simple life, might be the hardest of all.  You need to be truly honest with yourself.  Make two lists, one filled with everything you don’t like or want to change about your life.  Things that you waste hard-earned time, money, and energy on.  Things that might not make you unhappy but don’t really give in a positive way.  The second list should be filled with everything you really want to do, or have, or be, that hasn’t happened, simply because of lack of time, energy, or funds.  Now compare the two lists, see how they can be merged together to create the life that is truly you.  Sometimes we can’t do everything we would like too, but by cutting out some unnecessary things, we are making room for something that wasn’t fitting before.

When I read that article, it was a total “light bulb” moment.  For me, life is finally becoming life again instead of just being something to get through.  It’s nice when these little bread crumbs show up, beckoning the way we should go.  Now I just have to man up and put in the work.

I suck at editing but it’s still fun

1 Sep

a little green if you please?

Story Time

26 Dec

Still on Christmas vacation at my mum’s house, but I thought maybe you would forget about me if I stayed away too long. Christmas, by the way, was amazing and still is, enjoying every minute at home with my mother, all my siblings, and a gaggle of nephews.

So tonight, we are going to have story time. The short story I am about to share was written by a dear woman named Lucy Maud Montgomery , from her book, “At the Alter” (I know a couple of my blog friends are clapping their hands in excitment). Enjoy!

The Pursuit of the Ideal

Freda’s snuggery was aglow with the rose-red splendour of an open fire which was triumphantly warding off the stealthy approaches of the dull grey autumn twilight. Roger St. Clair stretched himself out luxuriously in an easy-chair with a sigh of pleasure.

“Freda, your armchairs are the most comfy in the world. How do you get them to fit into a fellow’s kinks so splendidly?”

Freda smiled at him out of big, owlish eyes that were the same tint as the coppery grey sea upon which the north window of the snuggery looked.

“Any armchair will fit a lazy fellow’s kinks,” she said.

“I’m not lazy,” protested Roger. “That you should say so, Freda, when I have wheeled all the way out of town this dismal afternoon over the worst bicycle road in three kingdoms to see you, bonnie maid!”

“I like lazy people,” said Freda softly, tilting her spoon on a cup of chocolate with a slender brown hand.

Roger smiled at her chummily.

“You are such a comfortable girl,” he said. “I like to talk to you and tell you things.”

“You have something to tell me today. It has been fairly sticking out of your eyes ever since you came. Now, ‘fess.”

Freda put away her cup and saucer, got up, and stood by the fireplace, with one arm outstretched along the quaintly carved old mantel. She laid her head down on its curve and looked expectantly at Roger.

“I have seen my ideal, Freda,” said Roger gravely.

Freda lifted her head and then laid it down again. She did not speak. Roger was glad of it. Even at the moment he found himself thinking that Freda had a genius for silence. Any other girl he knew would have broken in at once with surprised exclamations and questions and spoiled his story.

“You have not forgotten what my ideal woman is like?” he said.

Freda shook her head. She was not likely to forget. She remembered only too keenly the afternoon he had told her. They had been sitting in the snuggery, herself in the inglenook, and Roger coiled up in his big pet chair that nobody else ever sat in.

“‘What must my lady be that I must love her?'” he had quoted. “Well, I will paint my dream-love for you, Freda. She must be tall and slender, with chestnut hair of wonderful gloss, with just the suggestion of a ripple in it. She must have an oval face, colourless ivory in hue, with the expression of a Madonna; and her eyes must be ‘passionless, peaceful blue,’ deep and tender as a twilight sky.”

Freda, looking at herself along her arm in the mirror, recalled this description and smiled faintly. She was short and plump, with a piquant, irregular little face, vivid tinting, curly, unmanageable hair of ruddy brown, and big grey eyes. Certainly, she was not his ideal.

“When and where did you meet your lady of the Madonna face and twilight eyes?” she asked.

Roger frowned. Freda’s face was solemn enough but her eyes looked as if she might be laughing at him.

“I haven’t met her yet. I have only seen her. It was in the park yesterday. She was in a carriage with the Mandersons. So beautiful, Freda! Our eyes met as she drove past and I realized that I had found my long-sought ideal. I rushed back to town and hunted up Pete Manderson at the club. Pete is a donkey but he has his ways of being useful. He told me who she was. Her name is Stephanie Gardiner; she is his cousin from the south and is visiting his mother. And, Freda, I am to dine at the Mandersons’ tonight. I shall meet her.”

“Do goddesses and ideals and Madonnas eat?” said Freda in an awed whisper. Her eyes were certainly laughing now. Roger got up stiffly.

“I must confess I did not expect that you would ridicule my confidence, Freda,” he said frigidly. “It is very unlike you. But if you are not interested I will not bore you with any further details. And it is time I was getting back to town anyhow.”

When he had gone Freda ran to the west window and flung it open. She leaned out and waved both hands at him over the spruce hedge.

“Roger, Roger, I was a horrid little beast. Forget it immediately, please. And come out tomorrow and tell me all about her.”

Roger came. He bored Freda terribly with his raptures but she never betrayed it. She was all sympathy–or, at least, as much sympathy as a woman can be who must listen while the man of men sings another woman’s praises to her. She sent Roger away in perfect good humour with himself and all the world, then she curled herself up in the snuggery, pulled a rug over her head, and cried.

Roger came out to Lowlands oftener than ever after that. He had to talk to somebody about Stephanie Gardiner and Freda was the safest vent. The “pursuit of the Ideal,” as she called it, went on with vim and fervour. Sometimes Roger would be on the heights of hope and elation; the next visit he would be in the depths of despair and humility. Freda had learned to tell which it was by the way he opened the snuggery door.

One day when Roger came he found six feet of young man reposing at ease in his particular chair. Freda was sipping chocolate in her corner and looking over the rim of her cup at the intruder just as she had been wont to look at Roger. She had on a new dark red gown and looked vivid and rose-hued.

She introduced the stranger as Mr. Grayson and called him Tim. They seemed to be excellent friends. Roger sat bolt upright on the edge of a fragile, gilded chair which Freda kept to hide a shabby spot in the carpet, and glared at Tim until the latter said goodbye and lounged out.

“You’ll be over tomorrow?” said Freda.

“Can’t I come this evening?” he pleaded.

Freda nodded. “Yes–and we’ll make taffy. You used to make such delicious stuff, Tim.”

“Who is that fellow, Freda?” Roger inquired crossly, as soon as the door closed.

Freda began to make a fresh pot of chocolate. She smiled dreamily as if thinking of something pleasant.

“Why, that was Tim Grayson–dear old Tim. He used to live next door to us when we were children. And we were such chums–always together, making mud pies, and getting into scrapes. He is just the same old Tim, and is home from the west for a long visit. I was so glad to see him again.”

“So it would appear,” said Roger grumpily. “Well, now that ‘dear old Tim’ is gone, I suppose I can have my own chair, can I? And do give me some chocolate. I didn’t know you made taffy.”

“Oh, I don’t. It’s Tim. He can do everything. He used to make it long ago, and I washed up after him and helped him eat it. How is the pursuit of the Ideal coming on, Roger-boy?”

Roger did not feel as if he wanted to talk about the Ideal. He noticed how vivid Freda’s smile was and how lovable were the curves of her neck where the dusky curls were caught up from it. He had also an inner vision of Freda making taffy with Tim and he did not approve of it.

He refused to talk about the Ideal. On his way back to town he found himself thinking that Freda had the most charming, glad little laugh of any girl he knew. He suddenly remembered that he had never heard the Ideal laugh. She smiled placidly–he had raved to Freda about that smile–but she did not laugh. Roger began to wonder what an ideal without any sense of humour would be like when translated into the real.

He went to Lowlands the next afternoon and found Tim there–in his chair again. He detested the fellow but he could not deny that he was good-looking and had charming manners. Freda was very nice to Tim. On his way back to town Roger decided that Tim was in love with Freda. He was furious at the idea. The presumption of the man!

He also remembered that he had not said a word to Freda about the Ideal. And he never did say much more–perhaps because he could not get the chance. Tim was always there before him and generally outstayed him.

One day when he went out he did not find Freda at home. Her aunt told him that she was out riding with Mr. Grayson. On his way back he met them. As they cantered by, Freda waved her riding whip at him. Her face was full of warm, ripe, kissable tints, her loose lovelocks were blowing about it, and her eyes shone like grey pools mirroring stars. Roger turned and watched them out of sight behind the firs that cupped Lowlands.

That night at Mrs. Crandall’s dinner table somebody began to talk about Freda. Roger strained his ears to listen. Mrs. Kitty Carr was speaking–Mrs. Kitty knew everything and everybody.

“She is simply the most charming girl in the world when you get really acquainted with her,” said Mrs. Kitty, with the air of having discovered and patented Freda. “She is so vivid and unconventional and lovable–‘spirit and fire and dew,’ you know. Tim Grayson is a very lucky fellow.”

“Are they engaged?” someone asked.

“Not yet, I fancy. But of course it is only a question of time. Tim simply adores her. He is a good soul and has lots of money, so he’ll do. But really, you know, I think a prince wouldn’t be good enough for Freda.”

Roger suddenly became conscious that the Ideal was asking him a question of which he had not heard a word. He apologized and was forgiven. But he went home a very miserable man.

He did not go to Lowlands for two weeks. They were the longest, most wretched two weeks he had ever lived through. One afternoon he heard that Tim Grayson had gone back west. Mrs. Kitty told it mournfully.

“Of course, this means that Freda has refused him,” she said. “She is such an odd girl.”

Roger went straight out to Lowlands. He found Freda in the snuggery and held out his hands to her.

“Freda, will you marry me? It will take a lifetime to tell you how much I love you.”

“But the Ideal?” questioned Freda.

“I have just discovered what my ideal is,” said Roger. “She is a dear, loyal, companionable little girl, with the jolliest laugh and the warmest, truest heart in the world. She has starry grey eyes, two dimples, and a mouth I must and will kiss–there–there–there! Freda, tell me you love me a little bit, although I’ve been such a besotted idiot.”

“I will not let you call my husband-that-is-to-be names,” said Freda, snuggling down into the curve of his shoulder. “But indeed, Roger-boy, you will have to make me very, very happy to square matters up. You have made me so unutterably unhappy for two months.”

“The pursuit of the Ideal is ended,” declared Roger.

Don’ sit under the apple tree, with anyone else but me

9 Oct

I found this lovely recipe for Apple Crisp, one of the easiest “appley” desserts there is to make. In fact its such a sunny ,crisp fall day today I’m gonna make some crisp to eat! I suggest to receive the full effect of this recipe you find a farmer’s market that sells home-grown apples  or better yet pick your own apples from a pay and pick orchard. It adds to the whole flavor of the recipe. But in a pinch store-bought will do just as well.

INGREDIENTS

5 medium Golden Delicious apples (about 2 pounds) peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
2 to 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup uncooked rolled oats
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1/2 stick), cut into small pieces

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat oven to 350°F and arrange rack in middle. Lightly butter an 8-by-8-inch baking dish.Combine apples, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt in a medium bowl and toss to coat. Place apple mixture in the prepared baking dish and set aside.
Mix together brown sugar, oats, flour, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl until evenly combined. With your fingertips, blend in butter pieces until small clumps form and butter is well incorporated, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle topping evenly over apples and bake until streusel is crispy and apples are tender, about 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool on a rack at least 30 minutes before serving.

I played around with this recipe, I added honey to the apple mixture and doubled the streusel recipe cuz everyone knows the crust is the best.

Stress free Halloween

28 Sep

Halloween is no longer just for kids!  Adults have rediscovered the joy of dressing up, of being someone else for a night.  You secretly love watching SpongeBob Squarepants?  Halloween is the one day where you can let the world know of this love without actually looking like a total nerd!

The only trouble with wearing the costume of your dreams is actually finding it.  Most of the time you have this fabulous idea but all of your searching was to no avail and then you end up wearing a costume in a bag which five other girls are also sporting.  Halloween let down!

I was facing that dilemma this year.  I have this awesome costume idea, which I know no one else will be wearing.  Which also means that finding it on the internet would be impossible.  Which left me three options, scour every thrift store from here to Kalamazoo, pick up sewing and invent the pattern, or let someone else figure it out.  For all you busy bee’s out there the last choice defiantly sounds the best but how much it end up costing you?  As much as you want!

On the website www.etsy.com they have a feature called Alchemy where you post something you want made, how much you want to pay, and when you need it by.  Then the artsy people out there bid on who gets to make your item.  Then you get to choose who you want, and who agrees the closest to your asked price!  It almost sounds to good to be true until I tried it out and as we speak the costume of my dreams is being made somewhere out there is someone’s home and I am paying the exact amount I wanted to!  So check it out if you have given up on ever finding that perfect costume!