Monday, March 20, 2017

Springtime Mail Exchange

Mail... do you miss mail? Real, honest to goodness, snail mail? Do you miss opening your mailbox/postbox and finding something fun in it...not just bill-payment requests or junk mail? As many of us do more banking online, as well as so much else via the internet, sometimes we don't even receive that many bills in the mail. We can go a while without so much as an envelope in our postbox, TJ & I. And along with so much done online, I know I'm guilty of sending birthday and other greetings more often via online card services. But I'd like to help change that... 

How would you like to be part of a little mail project this spring to cheer up our lonely mailboxes/postboxes??!! Would you like to put a smile on the face of someone else and send some fun mail to someone new--maybe find a new friend?!

My LOVELY long-time friend Marie over at And Then We All Had Tea are collaborating on hosting this Springtime Mail Exchange to bring some happy mail cheer as far and wide as we can! :)))

How the Springtime Mail Exchange works is quite simple. Everyone participating--each person on the participation list--is kindly requested to contact at least ONE person on the list to exchange mail with. Reaching out to many is, of course, optional, but at least one person. That way there's a chance of everyone being contacted and receiving something in the mail. Do think about reaching out to someone on the list you don't know. Let's mingle! 

A card or letter is suggested for sending in the mail exchange. Postage being what it is these days--rather high--sending a little gift is optional. So we recommend letters or cards at least. Cards with a handwritten message--or a even handwritten letter--that alone is fun!

Now, this mail exchange is not limited to us folks in the Northern Hemisphere only. It might be called Springtime Mail Exchange, but if you are living in the Southern Hemisphere you are VERY welcome to join us--please do!!

If you would like to be on the sending and receiving end of this fun mail project, please leave a comment here. A blog link or other will help participants meet each other from the participants list. Marie and I will compile the list of all participants and their links, and we'll publish the exchange list as soon as it is ready. It might seem soon, but we're aiming for folks to have sent/received cards or letters by Easter! But a send-by date will be announced shortly...

In a time like this, when so much negative seems to be happening around the world, in the news, etc... it can be hard to know what to do, or how to help. Let's do even a little of what we can to spread and share a little happiness, love and peace. What do you say??!! Would you like to join our Springtime Mail Exchange today?! I can't wait to send you a card! :)))

Friday, March 17, 2017

This Week... a lot of yarn-ing around...

This week... Well, this was the week that kind of wasn't in some ways. One of those that you wouldn't mind rewinding and having another go at...

TJ became unwell last weekend with a cold that struck fast and fierce. On top of allergies he's been experiencing, and along with the cold, he was doing pretty poorly. I was playing nurse for most of the week. There was a LOT of tea brewed. Much making, reheating and eating of chicken soup. There was some simple bread baking. Easy, comforting, nourishing meals.

I wasn't feeling too great myself this week, although for different reasons. My monthly period had me at it's mercy, and I was feeling pretty low. The really not good kind of low... So we were quite the pair here this week!

Yarn-ing around... There was a LOT of lovely quiet time the last few days. And when it's quiet, a LOT of yarn-ing happens! My Ocean Ripple Blanket received a lot of hooky attention... (Yes, two baskets going for my current projects... ;)

I finished my Good Morning Lace Cowl! I just love wearing it! This knit cowl project felt signifcant for three big reasons. 1. Learning better knitting in the round techniques. 2. Better grasp of lace pattern knitting. 3. First wet blocked project--and what great shaping wet blocking gives to wool! All in all, a wonderful learning project. It's given me confidence returning to knitting, and working on more challenging knitting!

More yarn-ing around... learning the anatomy of a crescent-shaped shawl. I want to knit or crochet a crescent moon-shaped shawl. Sooo many great patterns out there. I found a crocheted one I like, but I want to jazz it up a bit, so I'm trying to see if I can learn how to chart something I have in mind... and get it right!

Luna... has been such a good girl while we've been in a slump this week... She's been content to play adventures with her "imaginary friend", and scampering around after her toys. She likes to play hide and seek under the dining room table cloth. This girl of ours is just tooo CUTE!
Today TJ & I celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary! (Seventeen... 17!!) Now that TJ is turning the corner with the cold/allergies, we're hoping we can take time during the weekend now to mark the occasion!

Oh, and do stop by here on Monday, if you can...  I have something fun to share!!! :)))
How was your week? Wishing you all a LOVE-ly weekend ahead!

Friday, March 10, 2017

This Week...

**Keep Calm and Spring Clean**

This Week... Spring cleaning began at our house. I have a cleaning to-do list from now until Holy Week. Very much I hope to be finished before Easter festivities. It's too cold to keep windows open, or clean the windows outside, but hopefully if weather permits, the windows may get done too in the weeks ahead!

In the Roman Catholic Church-- Several Saints Feast Days celebrated this week: St. Colette of Corbie, Sts Felicity & Perpetua St. Thomas Aquinas, St. John of God, and today Sctottish martyr St. John Ogilvie.

At Home-- Mornings begin with prayer and reading. Lots of reading for Lent! I realized I have four different things lined up for reading this Lent... which may be a bit too much along with daily scripture reading and keeping a Lent journal. In my enthusiasm, I try to do too much, I think...LOL! So I'm paring back to what feels essential right now, and keeping this for Lent reading. 

Out & About-- At the grocery store we spied this very fun fruit-creation in the shape of a parrot! Its grapes & citrus fruit sampler platter had been scavenged, but the parrot was still standing beautifully...

On the Menu-- Tinkering with different beans and rice recipes for "sacrifice meals" at least once a week during Lent. This week I made a simple but very tasty Red Beans & Rice.

Reading-- Earlier this week I shared what I'm reading as this month of March began.

Listening-- Revisiting an old favorite... Miles Davis' Kind of Blue.

Watching-- Not much watching/viewing this week... more do-ing...

Creating-- For the first week of Lent--a little painting... I'm hoping to create a canvas each week during Lent, inspired by spiritual reading and what's happening in my heart during this season. 

...return to me with all your heart. --Joel 2:12

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me... give me back the joy of your salvation -- Psalm 51:10, 12


Inspiration-- Pastels...and how to use them! We have this lovely set of soft chalk pastels. Paint Draw Blend,which is a creative site with focus on use of Pan Pastels. And Pastel Journal Blog. (So some paint play along side the fiber fun I usually have going...)

LUNA-- Lookie at our funny-monkey! Luna makes us laugh and smile so much--every day! She often plays with her tail. Here she is mid-play one evening. Most of the pics were a fur-blur...LOL!

How was your week? Wishing you all a LOVE-Ly weekend ahead! :)))

Monday, March 6, 2017

March Reading

This month my reading is a much more varied mix! Here are a few selections I have in digital format for March. Books which also tie in with things I'm focusing on during Lent.

40 Days of Decrease by Alicia Britt Chole. This encourages fasting from the things that clutter our hearts. Regret, escapism, perfectionism, discontent... and soooo many other hindrances that keep us from getting closer to Jesus, and to others. This book challenges the low-level fasting for Lent from Facebook, chocolate and other small weak habits and motivates us to dive right into what's really simmering in the heart. And maybe we even begin the hard work of eliminating those negativities that drag us down. Great support for Lent, or any time of the year or life, really! I'm reading this book now during Lent while examining things potentially toxic to my heart, mind, body and spirit.

The Lifegiving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming by Sally and Sarah Clarkson. The heart of the home is explored by a mother and daughter team, who share warmly of how to cultivate a home environment around the happiness of home-keeping, cherishing family & friends, God-centered traditions and following the months of the year to nourish all who dwell together under one roof, and much more. A beautiful book! I'm reading this book  during Lent as I am throwing BIG doses of love into my home--caring for my life and home in special ways during the Lenten season!

Creative Revolution: Personal Transformation through Brave Intuitive Painting by Flora Bowley. A few years ago I took Bowley's Bloom True creative e-course. A 40th birthday gift to myself, the course gave me the courage and support I needed to get back into painting. It was HUGE for me! I admire Bowley's whole mind, body and spirit approach to creativity. Her latest course offering Creative Revolution is, quite frankly, too expensive for me to participate in at this time, so I'm VERY glad there is a book that ties in with what is offered in the course! I'm exploring this book now during Lent as creativity is part of my Lenten journey this year. I may write/share more about this later... We'll see how it goes!

Everyday Super Food by Jamie Oliver. I love Jamie Oliver's style of cooking and his enthusiasm for making good food for family & friends. Over the years I have enjoyed all of his cookbooks. This book centers around health, nutrition and making smarter food and lifestyle choices. I want to make every recipe in this book! The gorgeous photos alone make you want to run to the kitchen to cook and eat! What I also like about this book is that there is not as high a focus on meat. A lot of the recipes are ideal for Lent or can be adapted for Lenten menus. This book is inspiring me with healthy food ideas for meat-free and fasting days! :)

What about you? What book(s) is/are on your nightstand, or coffee table, in your bag, or on your tablet/device... or even on your wish list?! Any recommendations?!

Friday, March 3, 2017

This Week...

Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished...

--Mary Oliver from "My Work is Loving the World"

This Week... A touch of springtime to lift the winter...  and the journey of Lent!

In the Roman Catholic Church-- Tuesday was the Feast Day of the Holy Face of Jesus and Shove Tuesday, sometimes also known as Fat Tuesday/Pancake Day--traditionally the eating up of rich or fatty foods before the penitential Lenten season begins. Wednesday, Ash Wednesday, marked the beginning of Lent. (I deeply appreciate the solemnity of Ash Wednesday Mass and breaking the fast of the day.) And today is the Feast Day of American St. Katherine Drexel.

At Home-- Our home altar received a tidy up, as also a purple cloth and purple candle for Lent.

Out & About-- While out & about in our small town, I walk the main street/high street to and from places. There is a secondhand shop that changes their window display a lot. I like this mix of cozy things! It's a good thing I didn't have time to go in and snoop around... I might have come home with something... LOL! Must resist temptations, and especially during Lent! ;)

On the Menu-- Ash Wednesday was a day of fasting. I had fish soup and Lenten Pretzels made for breaking the fast later in the day. I make a big cauldron of the soup to freeze, which we graze on during Lent. And I usually end up making more than one batch of the pretzels too. We eat fish every Friday, and often other times during the week. I fast Wednesdays and Fridays, much like our cousins in faith of the Eastern Orthodox Church do on a regular weekly basis.  We fast, we deny ourselves, that it may prepare us to receive His light and love. And that we may be in solidarity with those in need. I think of fasting as a love offering.

Reading-- Daily I'm reading Praying Lent. Next week, Monday, I will share more about other books and reading I have set aside for the month of March, including reading for Lent.

Listening-- Lent at Ephesus by The Benedictines of Mary, Queen of the Apostles. There are not a lot of music CDs out there dedicated to Lent, so this is very special. This group of singing nuns is AMAZING! They have other recordings available and all are ethereal collections of hymns that redirect the heart, mind, and spirit to Jesus. This is one of my favorites! I'll be listening to this until Easter... and then listen to Easter at Ephesus! ;)

Watching-- Into Great Silence a beautiful film inside the hermitage of reclusive monks of the Carthusian Order in France. It is almost a completely silent film, in that there is no dialogue. Just following the monks among their days in a year's time. I just love this beautiful silence, and I like to watch this during Lent.  You can watch it here, via YouTube.

Creating--  My current rotation of 3 yarn projects--which are "slow cookers"--are inching along. No great finishes to update on yet...

Inspiration-- "The cross, this is the sign of who I am, of my actual and real identity." Ann Voskamp, from: The Broken Way.

For weeks I've been making little homemade tattoos of the Cross with a Sharpie marker, inspired by my reading of The Broken Way. (I'd like to make this a REAL tattoo!) As Lent begins, I finish the reading of this profoundly beautiful book, and carry it's messages with me to practice throughout Lent. The book and it's Study Guide contained so much food for thought, and I will be working more on the Study Guide during the Lenten season.

LUNA-- We've had Luna with us for a little over a month now. Every week, each day, has been a wonderful experience with her. She loves her plush igloo bed!

How was your week? Wishing you all a LOVE-ly weekend ahead! :)))