It’s November, I have Much to be Grateful For!

The First Thanksgiving Jean Louis Gerome Ferris

Image via Wikipedia

 

It might be that because Thanksgiving is celebrated this month, whatever the reason, it’s November and I have much to be grateful for.  And I know it!  Sometimes it seems I’m not as aware of gratitude at other times.  What I believe is something about November brings it all rushing to the front of the line.

Blame it on the weather or the shortening of daylight hours.  Something about it being November causes me to pause and reflect on people, places and things I’m grateful for in more depth than at other times of the year.  Sunshine and warm weather invite activity and other distractions.  November, especially the early part of the month, seems to invite nesting and contemplation of the joys of simple things.  Hearth and home, hot soups and stews, warm drinks with spicy aromas.

Thanksgiving has been my favorite holiday for as long as I can remember.  So many good smells coming from the kitchen.  People gathered at tables displaying abundance and variety.  The “good” dishes, flatware and crystal seen in use, not just on display and gathering dust.  More people “dressed up” than usual.    There seems to be an unspoken agreement that this is a time for appreciating life and sharing in the wealth and abundance of it.  It’s a party, just not the same kind of party as Christmas, New Years or a birthday.  It doesn’t seem to have the raucousness those events bring up.  Subdued isn’t the right word.  There’s a quiet peacefulness to it.

Once the holiday rush starts this mellow time comes to an end and doesn’t seem to return for another year.  Yes, there are definitely moments from one November to the next.  We all have to take time out occasionally to reflect and absorb.  Something about November seems to concentrate it all.  October seems to involve finishing things, maybe some preparation for the nesting ahead.  I’m just guessing at things here.  Trying to tell if there really is as much of a pattern to things as I suspect.  I like things to make sense, as much as possible.

This year has been totally jam-packed.  So much has changed since last November.  Some friends have moved away, some new friends have been found.  My attitude and outlook on life has improved dramatically.  I’m not sure I would recognize the person I was last year and I’m pretty sure she wasn’t thinking these kind of thoughts.  Gratitude, quite likely, just, differently.  I don’t know if I can clarify.  Wonder if grateful is different from thankful.  Are the underlying motives different?  You know, like the difference between suggestions and advice…strings attached.

Gratitude is a way of life.  A way of thinking, feeling and acting that recognizes the many graces in each and every day.  Not just acknowledging them, giving them active attention and notice.  Looking for them, cause you know they are there, no matter what is going on.  A smile from a stranger.  A green traffic light where it has “always” been red.  Money in a pocket you had forgotten was there.  The way the sunlight hits a tree or a crystal prism or creates silhouettes in the distance as it sets.  A friend gets good news that lightens his or her spirit or heart.  Choosing exactly the right thing for a meal.  A chance to do something you’ve wanted to for a long time and “everything” falls into place and you do it!  And it’s grand!  SO many daily graces and because we’re not looking for them and at them they just go by, not recognized for what they are.  I kinda think we start out just saying thank you at the odd times we happen to notice.  The more we notice and say thank you, the more we notice.  It seems to be self feeding.  Before we know it, we are living gratitude.

I don’t think it happens  over night.  It starts slowly and gradually and we do have to participate in order for it to begin building on itself.   For as long as we fail to notice the variety of daily occurrences of grace we slow the process.  There are other things going on at the same time and we can get bogged down in the stuff we don’t like to such a degree that we don’t give much, or even any, notice to the stuff we do like.  When we only see grace every other day or week or month or year, life looks hard and tedious and rewarding.  It’s as if gray days are twice as gray and sunny days are dimmer than they could be.

It is altogether too easy to overlook grace unless you actively start paying attention.  We have become so accustomed to being worried and stressed that more than a few of us start thinking not only that’s all there is, we also think, that’s how it’s supposed to be!  We get a lot of encouragement in that direction; however unintended.  Parents, bosses, spouses……the press, books, movies….even some churches.

Noticing daily grace has a kind of Pollyanna flavor to it and may be seen as superficial.  Something.  It’s rarely what you hear people conversing about.  I guess that mostly depends on your usual contacts, more than anything.  Most of my friends, now, don’t just notice daily grace, they talk about it.  Sometimes with a quiet smile, sometimes in total excitement, sometimes with a sense of awe.  Hanging around with these people has definitely rubbed off.  I’m encountering more people in different situations and circumstances who also notice and acknowledge daily graces.  I no longer think it is limited to people who have chosen a particular set of life principles.  It’s like, they are living the principles without having them literally spelled out.  Interesting!

Looking forward to each new day as a surprise and an adventure, the good kind, is still pretty new to me.  If you’ve never lived any other way, none of this will make sense.  If you have lived another way, I hope this makes sense and offers encouragement that different good is possible.

One of the daily graces I have discovered and been paying close attention to is how much joy there is in writing.  Putting thoughts into words and sentences and paragraphs is my idea of a good time!  I do have other ideas of a good time, it’s just that writing is almost always available.  Between starting the blog and NaNoWriMo, I am definitely in seventh heaven!  It’s like a walk through continuous scenic country and I always have just enough light to see obstacles ahead.  Putting things in black and white (unless I’m in a rainbow mood) shows more choices than just thinking and worrying ever do.  Seeing the obstacles means I can avoid them, work around them or work through them.  The biggest difference is actually “publishing” thoughts and musings and opinions and such.  Might be that it forces me to look upside down and inside out; more than one way.  However you choose to express it.

So, it’s November and I have much to be grateful for.  How about you?

Checking in; Life beyond NaNoWriMo

Mother's Day

Image via Wikipedia

I’m just checking in today; looking to see if there is really life beyond NaNoWriMo.  I suspect there is and felt compelled to do a reality check.  Yeap, life still going on in all it’s glory!

I’m not sure what the tempo is going to be from day to day, so, I’m really playing it all by ear.  I missed postaday2011 yesterday cause I let NaNoWriMo run me most of the day.  Only stopped at all because I’m a grown up (sometimes) and meet my commitments.  Having said that, I found out how great a friend a couple of my friends really are.  My friend in NYC was so cool about my obsession and totally understanding about my delayed response to her text!  And another friend, closer to home cut me some major slack!  seems when I typed our appointment into my calendar all I put was the time….When she arrived I was surprised to see her.  Couldn’t figure out why she was there and she was right on time too!  She graciously rescheduled and went on about her business.  I’m going to have to activate sticky notes again.

I did take time out yesterday to get together with friends and go to a gift making class at YBN!  We had so much fun!  I made bath salts and the toughest thing to do is decide who to give them to.  Denise made a candle and it smells great!  I actually debated with myself for several minutes before deciding to do the bath salts, the smell of the candle is quite inviting.  Some folks would only burn it around Christmas because it is spicy, citrusy.  I’d burn it any time I could get one together with a match; it smells that good.

If you live in or near Crofton, MD go to YBN and take a gift making class.  Check out the website for schedules and costs.  www.YourBodyNeeds.com

Well, thoughts are completely drifting to the novel now and I do have to be ready to leave my little nest at 2 p.m. today, so…

Just checking in;life beyond NaNoWriMo……All is well!

 

 

This is only a test!

Microsoft Office OneNote 2007

Image via Wikipedia

Can I really blog from OneNote?

Yes!!! I can!!! It will include categories, just no tags, that I can see .

[tag postaday2011,testing]

Wow, this is way cool!  The second best thing, after my handy-dandy Netbook is having OneNote installed!  It gets better and better as I find new things it can do!  Don’t tell anyone, I really am something of a geek and it only gets worse as I get older.  Especially when I figure out how things work and get them to do what I want!   I can be particularly annoying until I get used to it, or, bored with it!  OneNote has been a constant source of entertainment, involvement and wonder.  Every time  I think I have reached the limit of it’s abilities, I find a new one!  And it’s like getting a brand new toy!!!  So, even after a year, please be warned, I am still annoying.

My friends are probably saying,” thank God for blogs, I’m pretty sure I’ve heard all I care to about that.”  You would swear I came up with it myself ,or, was the ONLY person on earth who has ever heard of it or used it.  I’d apologize, except that I expect to continue the behavior, so it would fall flat.  So, if you’ve already heard (read) as much as you’d care to, now is the time to leave.

When I first saw OneNote  I was thrilled cause it’s like one of those organizers.  And separate notebooks with tabs and everything.  As an admin type from way back it was love at first sight.  I’m not as orderly as I’d like to be, so, it’s nice to have some organization, somewhere.  Wish I could have it real world, not just in the computer.  I’ve still got a couple of things out of place any way.  Must be the rebel in me, or I was in a hurry.  Makes me really glad of the tabs.  And I think it has a search feature too.

I can record video and sound from OneNote also.  I don’t play with that often.  I mostly like knowing it’s there.

One of my favorite features is the clipping tool.  I have used it to send my Dad pictures of his great-grandchildren from Facebook.  He chooses not to have a Facebook account, so, this is the next best thing.  It did take some trial and error before I found the best way to include the pictures in an e-mail.  It was all worth it when it succeeded.  My Dad lives in Illinois and my son and his family are in various places because he is military.  His wife posts lots of pictures so friends and family can keep up with them.  Now, even Dad can.  And I really like that.

Ever tried making a phone list, even with a data base?  getting everything nice and neat and complete can be mind-bending.  I have mentioned that I do a lot of figure it out yourself in a previous post.  Haven’t ever been real good at asking for help or following directions.  OneNote makes it simple, even for hard heads.  It’s awesome.  Creates columns and rows and even column headings.  All I have to do is type!  Use the letter keys, spacebar and tab key. Voila, phone list!

It does schedules, charts, forms…you name it.  I may be reinventing the wheel, but, I’m having a fine time doing it!

How are your math skills?  mine are fair to average, depending on the day and my state of being.  OneNote will do the math for me!!!! You are my very best friend OneNote.  Really.  When I first read about that feature, I didn’t believe it. So, I tried it.  It worked!  Haven’t tried any rocket science or advanced formulas, so, I can’t vouch for the depth of skills.  Guess I’ll find out when I need them.  Haven’t so far.

And…..it’s interactive! whether I’m planning a trip, looking for a recipe, thinking of a book or a movie, whatever, I can search the internet, schedule things, download things, whatever.  And it keeps track of all of it.

I could write things out by hand, in the program and have it turn script to text.  I’m kinda proud of my handwriting, most of the time, yet find I don’t do well using a mouse.  So, I haven’t really used that feature.

Because I have Windows 7, I have a speech to text program as well.  Still need much work with that, unless I’m in need of a good laugh.  Have you ever tried speech to text?  This is my second go around with it and it’s still just as funny as I remember.  My diction must be absolutely horrendous, cause I’ve gotten some stunningly funny results attempting to dictate letters.  I wish I had saved them.  Can’t say for sure why I didn’t.  It could also have been the result of the microphone I was using.  I don’t buy high end stuff for non-professional use.  I’d consider the options of beg, borrow, steal…it’s just not that serious. At the moment.  Maybe later.

I believe this program was designed for students and it almost makes me wish I was back in school.  Except for the classes that didn’t allow recording devices; party poopers!  I take pretty good notes; but who wouldn’t want to have the class at the click of a couple of buttons?  I had one or two deadly dull ones and a nap would have been nice!  I also had a couple of professors who really loved what they were doing.  Some of the best classes I was ever in, it would be fun to revisit them.  Of course, I didn’t get my first computer until long after I graduated.  My computer programming class was on Fortran IV.  How appropriate is that Roman Numeral????  I did well enough to pass the class, doubt that I remember much and also doubt that anyone uses that programming language these days.  It was that or COBOL.  I think i have that right, Common Business Language.  And that is the limit of my knowledge on that particular topic.  Was it being phased out at the time, replaced by FORmula TRANslation?  Or were they just different languages?  The push was for students to learn FORTRAN.  Oddly enough, I NEVER used it again!  What was the fuss about?  Learning logic was helpful, what I remember of it.  Mostly just enough to p___ me of these days.

Of all the programs I have EVER worked with, I like OneNote best.  It’s easy to work in and with and has so many features I really enjoy.  To whoever did all the programming, my hat is off to you.  I even put one on so I could do that!  You have no idea how rare an occasion that is.  I hate Hats!  They often look nice and all, they just don’t wear well.  Your program was worth the temporary discomfort.  If you ever come up with something better, well, okay, yes, I’d like to know.  We just won’t tell my friends about it.  I’d really rather they didn’t avoid me, through the introductory period.  I’d say we could keep it under our hats, except I just explained why that’s unlikely.  Sub rosa?  That might work!

Okay, I’m like 400+ words shy of word count goal here.  This topic went a lot farther than I ever expected and wasn’t even what I had in mind in the first place.  it all started yesterday afternoon when I ran the little mousey over some things under “file” and saw “blog this”.  Say What?  Of course I had to try it.  Wouldn’t anyone?  I know have at least three, maybe four ways to post on my blog.  Maybe more, cause I beginning to think of another possible source.  I ask you, is it any wonder I’m thinking in blog?  It’s EVERYWHERE!

Here’s a taste of what I was thinking about, until I got distracted.  I keep getting these things about SEO and I’m not sure I understand them.  And if I do understand them, I’m just not sure I’m ready for totally amazing blog traffic.  I’m building up to it, just not there yet.  I get so tickled just getting comments.  And I read somewhere it’s a good idea to respond to them.  I definitely respond to the personal ones.  The ones that come with what looks to me like advertising or back link to what looks like advertising I hold off on.  On the one hand, I understand people have to make a living.  As most of this type is caught in my spam catcher I suspect it’s a pay per post thing.  On the other hand, I don’t know what companies and products they are linking back to and I have other priorities that inhibit me from back tracing and researching them.  I am considering whether or not to include a caveat emptor type thing at the top of my page or simply deleting.  Time and space for thinking and considering (praying and meditating as well).  This is so much more than I ever expected and I don’t wish to lose the joy of it!  One thing I would suggest, if you don’t wish to be deleted, yet wish to leave a link, tell me ONE specific thing you like about the blog, or, didn’t like.  Either is acceptable.  Tell me something about what you’re plugging and I’m even more likely to approve.  Legal, ethical, moral…all critical issues.  I write because I love it and would prefer my space to be a safe one for any one that stops by to read.  This is the internet after all.  I was born at night (really) just, not last night.  So, as my Dad would say “play Nice”.

The horse is in the coral at least, food and water.  Maybe get brushed tomorrow!

 

Epiphany

Do you love that word?  It does seem to have a religious tone to it.  Haven’t decided yet whether it’s an undertone or an overtone.  Not sure if it matters either.  What I’ve noticed is experiencing Aha moments in series, of late.

Many people I hang out with and talk to a lot might refer to them as spiritual awakenings.  And I can work with that too.  Seeing everyday life from a whole new perspective and not much has really changed on the outside.  Still getting older by the day, still about 5’7″, still don’t tell anyone my weight (even me), still live at the same house in the same room, etc, etc.  A few weeks ago I admitted, talked about some things that took place back in 2001 and took accountability for some action/inaction.  Nothing looks the same since!  A few simple words written on a page and said aloud to another human being.  Seems so simple, even elementary, now.   All very exciting and living one day at a time has taken on a whole new meaning.  Seems more necessary now than ever, cause the temptation is to jump into the future… in my head anyway.   My time machine is busted, so i can’t go there physically.

My point is, I’m not stuck and even more important, I know it!!!  Epiphany is a good word to describe the experience.  Hey, it’s even the #3 definition in the dictionary: an intuitive grasp of reality through something usually simple and striking.  The “and striking” gives me pause, all the rest seems right on target.  Also found out why I thought it had religious tones to it, it does.  January 6th, the celebration of the Magi visit to the Christ child.  I seldom think in religious terms, but, I will be pondering this, now.

To all the folks out there who have attempted to show me I wasn’t stuck, thank you.  Would love to have known this sooner and just glad to know it now.   My attitude and outlook are the things that changed the most.  To anyone who has never felt stuck, this is probably all gibberish.  To anyone who has felt stuck, trapped, doomed to live the perils of Pauline ’til the cows come home, I believe it is a message of hope.  For me, it took awhile.  It might for you too.   My path is the twelve steps; yours might be something different.  Seek and ye shall find.  Don’t mean to get all biblical, just that sometimes, it’s what fits.

Don’t worry, not walking on water or even attempting to.  Sat down to write and this is what came out.  I’ve often been fascinated by the results of these sessions.  Sometimes I start with a specific idea, other times just go with the flow.  I still use spell check, flying fingers don’t always touch exactly the right keys.  If it makes sense when I read it and spell check approves, I click publish.

Spell check approves!

The Blending Experience

Just a few suggestions for making essential oil blends.

Lavender flowers
Image via Wikipedia

Evidently I must do this without pictures!  Okay, here goes!

Last Wednesday my friend Denise and I pooled our resources and spent a fun afternoon working and playing with essential oils.  Not quite a mad scientists‘ lab, much more fun.  Doubt that we were ever in any danger of blowing ourselves up or gassing ourselves.  We had plenty of raw ingredients and containers to put them in.  Plus, we had recipes we were curious to try, not to mention our own imagination, creativity and curiosity.

Set up took a little time.  Denise already had her act together, impressively organized and ready for blending.  You think I’m kidding, maybe.  She had her oils all in alphabetical order, carrier oils grouped together and bottles with stoppers; all ready to go.  Books and recipes were also close at hand.  Did I forget to mention tags?  She had ’em.  We have talked about doing this since last May, I think.  It was easy to see she was ready to work/play.

All my materials were more or less neatly transported in this cool wooden box that looks like a treasure chest.  My first task was to make an alphabetical list of my collection.  I was amazed how quickly that was done, I’d put it off for so long… can’t say why anymore.  Doesn’t matter now, does it?  When the list was finished, next was carrier oils and other blending ingredients.  As we didn’t plan specifically, I came prepared to blend cosmetic, perfumes or cleaning solutions.  The only thing I was sure of was we were going to blend something.  Last from the chest were my books and recipes, or, and some containers for finished product.  Denise definitely had the better choices, she has been doing this much longer.

The excitement of Finally! doing this was harnessed and we went to work.  We both made a kitchen cleaner deodorizer using lavender, eucalyptus, bergamot and tuber rose in distilled water.  The proportions of oils are determined by the amount of water.   Goes like this:

2 oz distilled water

8 drops lavender

10 drops bergamot

5 drops eucalyptus

3 drops palma rosa

I believe we each did a double batch.  We’re coming into cold and flu season and it’s a good idea to clean the kitchen well.

I made something called Insomnia Buster and neither one of us was sure, just exactly how it is supposed to be used.   A good lesson in gathering info.  It’s a really good idea to gather complete info, or at least note the source in a handy place to ask questions later.  The plan at the moment is to use it diffused.  Could be added to a carrier and applied to bottoms of feet or ear lobes.  Perhaps added to a hot bath.  It smells great!!!

6 drops Clary sage

12 drops lavender

4 drops roman chamomile

12 drops geranium

It is currently in a tightly capped blue-bottle and I think the blending process will have reached peak in the next couple of days.  Once you decide what you are going to blend and then do it, remember to roll or shake the bottle at least once a day for the next week.  The scent alters.  I’m pretty sure it remains the same after that.  I’m learning as I go.

Denise made a blend for trigger finger and, sorry, forgot to get it.  I can if anyone wants to know it.

My third blend was a perfume.  Perfumes are something of a mystery to me and I thought it would be a hoot to try making my own.  Just this once.  If it turns out well, I’ll let you know what is in it.  Too iffy right now and there are still a few weeks before the aging process is finished.  I like it so far.  You do the same with a perfume that you would do with other blends, store in dark glass tightly capped bottle and roll or shake up at least once a day.  Mine is oil based, did I mention that.  I could have use vodka or I think, brandy.  I’m sure the results would be different.  Since I was anxious to try making a perfume and didn’t have alcohol handy, I went with the oil option.  Time will tell.

I am embarrassed to say I’ve forgotten what Denise’s  third blend is!!!!  I took some pictures and was all excited to get this blog written and posted.  Got the pictures to the media library and thought I was all set!  There I go thinking again.  I WILL figure out what I’m doing wrong, until then… As if that wasn’t enough, my handy-dandy little Netbook has been balking at some things lately, or it was a full moon, or Mercury was retrograde, or_____________; end result, I could get to my blog page, just couldn’t do anything but admire it and say, yup, that’s my blog page!  Hurray, today I can do stuff!!!  Not everything I was hoping to, like include the photos from Wednesday.  Oh well, the writing is done!

What a Wednesday!

Description from Whitehouse.gov: "The Whi...

Image via Wikipedia

This is going to be a hurry up kind of thing cause this has been a full day.  Mostly fun, a decision to mull over keeps it from being an all star Wednesday.

Day started out cool, attitude and weather wise.  Activities pretty much according to schedule.   A ” situation” developed relating to work and that’s what the mulling over is about.   Doing things differently and hoping for different better results.  Don’t mean to be cryptic, hell, maybe I do.  Just not ready to spell things out yet, need to verify the alphabet.  Any way, work done, all was back to smooth again.  Had lunch and called my friend.  We had a tentative plan for today and the gods smiled on us.

I don’t want to go into too much detail now, but,  we finally got some things organized and sorted and succeeded in making three blends each using our stores of essential oils and etc.  Hope I haven’t given it all away, cause I’ve got pictures too!  Did I forget to mention, it’s for tomorrow’s blog!

 

We had a very pleasant meal together with her husband and all in all, it was a great day!

What a Wednesday!

 

Recommit to Post a Day

A few months back, I took the Post a day challenge.  Seems I wasn’t ready at the time.  I’m back to take on the challenge again, God willing and the creeks don’t rise!