Friday, April 30, 2010

Pressing On...

I find God sending me down a new path, just when I was getting used to the old one. I've often struggled with starting and stopping projects. Sometimes it feels like it can take ages for me to get going and then heaven forbid anything interrupt that process because who knows how long it'll take to get started up again (: Is anyone else like this?

One of the things that seems to be up for change is a place to live. I've posted before about the desire to live in a smaller town down the road. As a matter of fact I had the opportunity to move there about three years ago. The cost was more than my current place, but felt God was asking me to take a step of faith and put down the first month's rent and deposit. Even though it was exactly where I wanted to be, the move didn't make sense at the time.

It was the perfect location, had beautiful curb appeal, a lovely fenced in yard for the dogs and just the right space for a garden. Even though it was small, it felt like home and was oh, so peaceful. So I prayed long and hard. The answer?...take the check by. Step out in faith...stretch.

As I drove to meet the owner at the local coffee shop to pick up the keys, a song came on the radio by Superchick called "Stand in the Rain." One of the lines of the song says...

"Alone in this fight with herself
And the fears whispering
If she stands, she'll fall down."

Oh! Exactly what I was experiencing! The entire drive, there was this nasty fight of thoughts playing in my head. "You won't be able to move here! It's not for you! You won't be able to afford this! It might be your dream, but it's out of your reach! Don't even entertain the possibility!"

Oh...something as simple as a move turned into a trip down doubt lane. But then the chorus started...

"So stand in the rain
Stand your ground
Stand up when it's all crashing down
You stand through the pain
You won't drown
And one day, what's lost can be found
You stand in the rain"

So with tear drenched cheeks I dropped off the check and picked up the keys. An almost immediate sense of peace came over me and I knew the right decision was made. The next day my Dad was in town so I asked if he'd like to go by and and take a look at the new place. Dad could sometimes operate on the negative side of things, but this day was different.

He was present in the moment and the glow of excitement on his face when we entered the front door was anything short of beaming! He loved it! We went through each room discussing where things might go and how the layout was perfect for entertaining. He even offered to help me move! This was quite the miracle so I knew his approval was genuine (:

To make a long story short, for whatever reason, the deal fell through. I was devastated! But I had prayed! I asked God and He said to move forward...what the heck was this? After much prayer I grew to realize it wasn't about the move, it was about stepping out in faith and growing my dependence upon Him.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. I drove by this same townhouse and noticed a cleaning crew. All the windows were up, bushes and trees had been trimmed and the renter had moved out! Was it available? Could this be true? My heart skipped a beat! I didn't see a sign. Could I dare go there again and think the possibility of a move was in the near future?

See, I pass by this place quite often and each time it brings back the memories of my Dad's visit. He passed away eight months after our tour and that time we shared together still means the world to me. So to be able to move into the very place where my father walked with me would be awesome!

I decided to put the thought out of my head and continue on to my intended destination. While pulling into the parking lot of the store a song came on the radio. You guessed it! "Stand in the Rain." The line of the chorus that stood out this time was, "And one day, what's lost can be found." Geez!! Okay God! What in the world!

Much like before, now is not a good time to move. I just started some new projects, am in the middle of painting and redecorating several rooms, plus the funds needed for such a task are low, not to mention my work world being in limbo. I found myself putting things on hold. Should I really do all this stuff if I'm going to move anyway? Why bother continuing if I'm not going to be here in a few months?

And then it hit me...I don't have to know all the details. I don't have to worry about missing an opportunity to move to this place. If it's meant for me, then God will take care of things behind the scenes. If a move is in the future then the funds will be available. If this town is meant to be my home soon, then my projects will fall into place. I do not have to worry. I don't have to try and control all the works in play. He's got it (:

Even though this home seems to be the perfect place, God knows what I need. He knows my heart and I feel safe in His arms. So, as I wait on His word, I press on and continue to work on projects, paint, organize...and be (:

"Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life"
~ Matthew 6:27

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Mother's Day...a time when we pull back to really focus on Mom and the legacy she offers. I wanted to share a little bit about the lovely ladies in my life and the blessings they have so greatly given.

I have the pleasure of sharing living quarters with mine and even though our space can get pretty small, pretty fast, we're doing just fine. The picture above reminds me of the many talks and times shared enjoying God's beautiful nature.

Mom and I moved in together many years ago to ease the financial challenge of caring for my Grandmother. What was a necessity at the time, turned into a huge blessing later down the road. You see, Mom and I have always had this up and down relationship. I don't even want to mention the teenage years! She handed down "The Mother's Curse" long ago..."I hope you have a daughter just like you some day...then you'll understand." My word! I hope that one passes me by! We love each other, but can drive each other crazy in the same breath. I suppose it's like that with all Moms and Daughters.

Years later Grandmother moved in and joined our household of merriment after being unable to live on her own. Now, for three head strong and independent women, this was no easy task. Mom and I experienced our own moments of butting heads because she has one way of doing things and I have another...and now an additional woman with the same stubborn streak was entering the space. Oh my!

But something magical happened while these three generations of women were living under the same roof. Grandmother and I talked like we had never talked before. She began to share things never touched in the past. It gave me an awesome view through the window of her eyes and I began to see both my Mother and Grandmother for the women they were...flawed, beautiful, inspiring strong women who made good choices as well as bad ones just like everyone else. I took notice of the legacy offered by each one...the many, many lessons to be learned from their walk down life's pathway.

Grandmother had the uncanny ability to lighten the very energy of a room with her presence. She saw the heart of people and loved others no matter how she was treated. She embraced life with gusto and could laugh with a passion like I've never seen!! Grandmother had the best sense of humor and wasn't afraid to show it! If you didn't have a good belly laugh at least once every other day around her, you weren't paying attention! She lived with grace, honor, courage and love.

Mom is just like Grandmother in so many ways. That same energy of love and grace abounds and you feel warmer just sharing the same space! I feel so lucky to have the Mom I do...she's an open book, not afraid to admit her mistakes, loves to make the simple, everyday things special and cares for others with an unconditional love that could only compare to the saints (: She's also a hoot to hang around! Don't get us out in public when we're tired, because the laughter at absolutely nothing won't stop until one of us falls over!

Yes, she's fun and wild and I've been so blessed to spend the last few years really getting to know her.So as this special time of Mother's Day approaches, I thank these beautiful, strong women for loving me, supporting me, inspiring me, guiding me, for being the incredible women that they are and for being my best friends!!

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Daily Hiking

Getting out and being in the great outdoors each day has really transformed how I feel and increased productivity. Not to mention getting the exercise this body has so desperately needed for the last few years (:

The photo above is a shot taken at the beginning of the route. It really is lovely! It seems like nature is putting on the best show yet! The greens seems greener, the flower colors seem richer, and the landscape is playing a symphony that could only compare to the work of Vivaldi.

Each week I've been adding distance to the walk. Today was surprisingly easy...possibly because the focus was on the beauty around me or perhaps the company (: This field of purple haze greeted us as we switched to the other side of the road for our return home. I'm so lucky to have access to such loveliness (:

And the pièce de résistance?

What more could have been given as my journey for the day came to a close? Can't think of a better way to end the walk home (:

"When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!" ~ Psalm 8:3-9

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Week Fifteen Update

Well, today was the perfect Sunday. Church at 8:00am, then breakfast with Mom and a lovely Sunday tour of the country side. Fort Mill is about 8 miles from my apartment and what a lovely place it is. I go there to think, get quiet and take in the beauty of small town living.

I also buy our raw milk there, buy farm fresh veggies there, get gas there (can save about 20-25 cents a gallon getting SC gas instead of NC gas), go to church there, visit the Asian Bistro there (they have a fabulous gluten-free Thai menu!!), walk the trails amongst the peach trees while watching the horses prance about and dream of one day moving there.

You see, it's home in my heart and has been calling my name for quite some time. But timing is the key word here. So as I wait and listen for that inner voice to share when the time is right, I simply visit and dream of one day moving home (:

Now...on to the update! This last week has been about getting things together. Spring is in full swing and spring cleaning begins! I'm still working on the studio makeover and moving at a slower than desirable pace, but things are still getting done. I was hoping to post some new designs, but I still have more work to do and hope to have that completed within the next few days.

The one thing I'm totally jazzed about is my garden! Yes, I said garden!! Living in an apartment does put a cramp on accessible outdoor space, but there's enough room on my deck for an iron bistro set and some veggies (: And you guessed it, the veggies I'm talking about are the lovelies in the photo above. I doesn't look like much does it? It will be a modest "garden" but it's mine and I'm so tickled I can't stand it (:

I've got a green and yellow pepper plant, a couple of tomatoes (the Sweet 100 Cherry Tomato suggested by my fellow gardening guru Carole) and a cucumber to top it off. My Grandfather would be turning over in his grave if he knew how long it's been since his granddaughter's hands have been in some earth to grow her own food!!

Mom has fond childhood memories of going to their truck farm...oops! Translation time - their home did not have enough space for a "respectable garden" so Granddaddy leased land down the road and each morning the family would hop in the truck and head off to the farm...hence the name "truck farm." That was my mother's creation and it stuck (:

I can still see Granddaddy's dark blue 1951 Chevrolet pickup sitting in the drive next to his prize rose bushes and I'd love to have one just like it...sigh...Another dream for another day (: So I'm trying my hand at patio gardening in honor of my Grandfather.

Our deck gets TONS of sun, but I'm not quite used to container gardening yet so playing it by ear will be a big factor. I'll pass along the progress and share some yummy recipes when harvest time comes (:

I also have another project in the works....Mondays will now be known as Makeover Mondays. I'll post photos of beautiful rooms and show you how to achieve the same design for less by making items yourself and buying low cost alternatives. If you have any pictures stored away of your favorite designs, send them over and I'd be happy to do a low cost makeover using your pics for the Monday post!

So, is having a Makeover Monday a good idea? Would you be interested in this being a regular post? I'd love to know what you think (:

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Earth Day...huh?

Well, yet another year of celebrating Earth Day has come and gone and with each year the concept of the "Green Movement" tickles me more and more. Well, maybe tickles isn't the right word...bumfuzzled maybe? Earth Day was first established in 1970 and designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's environment. A good thing...but when did common sense need a specific day?

My great grandparents, grandparents and parents surprisingly practiced "green habits," but it was called being frugal out of necessity. I call it being a good steward of God's earth. I've been "green" for quite some time, but not because of a trend or some new environmental push. I'm "green" because it makes good sense.

I remember my grandfather's rain barrels...he said the rainwater made the plants grow stronger. I loved hearing the stories my grandmother shared about herbal remedies made by her mother and grandmother because there was no money to go to the doctor at the drop of a hat.

You never had a light on in a room that was unoccupied. The water was never left running while you brushed your teeth. Composting was a given and scraps carried outside by the grandchildren was a common activity. Gardening was the only way to get the best organic veggies and making your own ice cream wasn't just a throw back to enjoy the simple days of the was economical. Run out of toothpaste? Baking soda and salt was always on hand. And with the same formula you could clean your bathroom while you were at it (:

You never threw anything out because it could be used later...for something. Hand washing clothes and drying sheets in the sunshine wasn't just a way to save energy, but when ya don't have the appliances it makes saving energy a whole lot easier (: Plus the sunshine made the whites whiter and offered the sweet smell of summer when brought indoors.

In following the common sense traditions of generations gone by, I make our natural cleaning products, toothpaste and body care products. Our bulbs are all CFL's (can't wait for a better LED version because the mercury thing seems counter intuitive), the temp in the house is kept at a consistent level and I always bring bags when going to the store...they were called totes long ago (:

I make our butter, ice cream and salad dressings, prefer home grown veggies, local free-range meats and will never eat a packaged meal over a home cooked one. Glass is used over plastic and filtered water is a must instead of wasting money on bottled. I recycle, buy used and save the difference and love turning discarded items into usable finds. Sewing, designing our home decor and creating new furniture from old instead of buying a finished item from the store is a passion.

So yes...I guess I'm "green"...or maybe I'm just being mindful of all the blessings God has given on this place called Earth. With such a beautiful gift, why would anyone choose not to be a good steward? (By the way...the photos above were from our Earth Day journey)

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Week Fourteen Update

Last week has been a busy one filled with new designs crafted and more on their way to come... not to mention patiently waiting projects that have yearned for completion, finally coming to a close. The focus for last week was organization and health and surprising turns have made an appearance. I'm a creative, go-with-the-flow kinda gal and too much structure doesn't necessarily agree with the inner workings of my spirit...or so I thought (:

Life is a balance and has its own sort of rhythm that keeps us in check. This allows us the foresight to know when good things are ahead and also provides intuitive senses when we might be on the wrong path. It's our choice to listen to these quiet insights and be guided accordingly. I love how our Father has given us these instincts to help us through what can sometimes be a chaotic life.

As I get quiet and begin to pay attention to the inner workings of my soul, the need for structure hit me by surprise (: As the week began a to-do list was created filled with new and old projects left to be done. As the list was made, an estimated time was associated with each task and a time limit of 10 hours each day to get things done. This would assist in seeing how long it might take to get everything accomplished since gauging time seems to be a challenge.

A list for each day was compiled based on the time needed for individual projects. It was quite exhilarating to see a formal plan...until the first day went by with nothing checked off...and then another day...what is going on here? This list was supposed to help complete things, not avoid them!

Then I realized...the structure of a list was needed, but not the time. The time was throwing me off. The time allotted for each project was a guess at best. See, when I set forth to accomplish things, I go for it! I just do it! Whether it takes 2 hours or 18, I just keep going until the task is completed. So knowing how long a project takes is totally off my radar.

But this isn't how life works...knowing the path we are walking is part of that rhythm. There are times when 18 hours straight is not conducive to normal living. Balance...that's the key. I realized that I've been an "all or nothing" kind of person, which can be good at times, but not the best way to live life.

I'm sure most of you are saying, duh, but I'm on a learning curve here (: And so I kept the list and removed the estimated time. The new list was a total list at days time assigned...just a pure list starting with the project I think will take the least amount of doing and going through to the one that might take the most. As projects are completed a time is written in as to how long it ACTUALLY took so this can assist in project completion down the road (: And you know....I started to see those magical little checks appearing next to each line...checks of satisfying.

So the need for structure was met as well as the need for non-restrictive creative flow. This works for me. Might not for everyone, but it's bringing the balance so greatly missed in this area.

Now on to the health focus...this is really exciting! My creative side needs slight structure, with the ability to change as inspiration hits, but my health is a totally different story (: I've started carving out a specific time of the day to walk and it's done wonders! I have certain times of the day to walk the pups for their potty breaks, but the power walk was kinda put in there whenever...which sometimes meant never (:

I didn't realize how much I missed these times of being in nature. Living in the city I ache for nature time. But to my surprise I had no idea that just down the road there lives this beautiful green space filled with trees, flowers and a small lake. Oh, my spirit now each day a hike is in the "schedule." And with that has brought extra weight loss. I haven't been focusing on loosing weight because in the past that has created a block, so my focus is sugar, no wheat, lots of fruits and veggies, healthy meats (no pork, wild/organic/free-range only), raw milk, raw cheeses, some lovely raw nuts and nut butters and only tea and water. With this I have now lost over 24 pounds and that's without even trying to loose weight.

Which again proves that what is focused upon is brought closer. If we focus on the fact that we need to loose weight, the need to loose weight will be brought closer. If we focus on the bad relationship, the bad relationship will be brought closer. Just by changing our thoughts and our focus we can actually bring forth what we need. So focus on good health, good relationships, good business, love, faith and mercy and see those things abound in your world in way you never imagined before (:

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Friday, April 16, 2010

Week Thirteen Update

Oh my goodness! Another week has flown by...Can't believe it's Friday and I'm just now posting my Week Thirteen Update! I'll get back in the swing of things soon (:

Last week and a good part of this week has been learning about confidence and boundaries. The one thing I love about getting older is the sense of confidence that grows each year. I'm stronger, more self assured, and darn right impressed with myself. Okay...not in the narcissistic, egotistical fashion, but I can look myself in the mirror and like what I see. There are bumps and bruises from the ride, but the journey has added a nice patina to the soul. Past experiences, good and bad, have allowed me to see beauty in the everyday simplicities and peace abounds.

Boundaries...ah, now that's a different story. See, I'm a giver and a warrior when comes to helping others. Always have been. I spot a need and want to fill it. Someone is being wronged and I want to defend them. The trouble with that is sometimes people need to help themselves or maybe someone else has been called to fill that need. Just because I see it doesn't mean I must take action instantly.

I have a couple of people in my life whom I love dearly, but they don't quite see how their actions affect others around them...aren't we all like this at one time or another? Now, these two have greatly hurt someone close to my heart, someone who is also a giver, and it's hard to sit back and say nothing. But sometimes that's exactly what we should do.

In my warrior state of mind, "If I just explain how their behavior is hurting others around them, surely they will see!! They just don't realize what they're doing." But attempts have been made in the past with little change to follow...only annoyance expressed that anything was addressed with no discussion of the situation's validity...just sweep it under the rug and act as if nothing happened. It's even harder when family is involved.

I'm learning that silence is sometimes more powerful than a voice. There are times when your voice must be heard and be heard loudly, but so many times it's the quiet silence that wins the battle. In the silence we hear the guidance of that inner voice leading us to the next step, the next task or the next response. When we step back in silence we can also weed through the chatter of distraction. Is this my battle to fight? Do I step forward now, or maybe later? Most of the time it has nothing to do with the other people in our lives, but how we respond to them. I can choose grace and mercy or anger and hate. How would I want someone to respond to me?

And so my inner warrior is learning about boundaries. Boundaries aren't limits on connecting with others, but safety zones set up to keep us healthy and whole. They give us balance and the space to see what's ahead and respond accordingly. Setting up boundaries and learning how to say no has been so freeing!! (: It's helped me to encourage/honor others and myself as well.

"Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing."
~ 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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Friday, April 9, 2010

How Local Honey Can Help During Allergy Season

If you're like many this time of year, sneezing, stuffy noses and chest congestion are visiting and in a big way!'s allergy season!!

This season reminds me of my Grandfather. No, not because he suffered from allergies, but because many considered Granddaddy a bee charmer - a cherished southern tradition of those who can "speak" to bees and collect honey without getting stung, which eliminates the need for special protective clothing.

Okay, I know what you're thinking..."We jumped from allergies to bees? Where is she going with this?" Just hang on and follow me...we'll get there (:

My Mother has fond memories of Granddaddy working in concert with his bees as he collected honey and tended to the hives. He was a naturalist and always seemed to be most comfortable being "at one" with the world outside.

Grandmother loved sharing ways they would use this harvested liquid gold and one that might surprise you was using honey to soothe allergies. Some say it's an old wives' tale, but I've found it very helpful in my own life. After much research, there does seem to be some truth to Grandmother's theory, even though massive scientific statistical analysis is lacking.

Wildflower honey contains antioxidants as well as small amounts of pollen from many different kinds of plants. When ingested, it allows our body's immune system to produce substances to protect us, reducing the allergy symptoms to local flowering plants.

This key here is to eat local raw honey - the jar must have "local" and "raw" on the label for it to be most effective. 2-3 spoonfuls each day for several months prior to pollen season is a good rule of thumb, but you can still reap the benefits if you get a late start. I usually put honey in my morning smoothie and it does the trick! No allergies for me and the pollen is EVERYWHERE!!

Although this works for many people, it might not work for all. If you suffer from seasonal allergies it's worth a try! If it doesn't help with the sniffles, sneezing and lovely congestion experienced this time of year, then at least you're getting vitamins B6, thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc...and a sweet treat to boot!! So be a Food Renegade and try a natural, local solution before heading for those over the counter pills (:

This article is part of Fight Back Fridays sponsored by Food Renegade - a blog dedicated to changing the way we eat and think about food. Each Friday those participating in the blog carnival post links to their articles about being a Food Renegard. They share updates & stories of their Real Food journey, tips, recipes, or anything they think others might find useful, helpful, encouraging, or inspiring.

So who are the Food Renegades? Well, they’re the adventurous ones — the people who opt out of the industrialized food system, distrust the standard American diet nutritional advice, and embrace whole SOLE (Sustainable, Organic, Local, and Ethical) food.

If you'd like to learn more about becoming a Food Renegade, hop over to Kristen's site. You'll never think about food in the same way again (:

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