Monthly Archives: October 2011
I’m still benefiting from that one night of watching Oprah’s Lifeclass. I’ve already proven to myself that there’s no way I can sit and pay attention to it every night, but I’m finding the archives valuable, indeed, allowing me to manage my time better and still being able to attend and enjoy Lifeclass. My time at night is currently being given to a lace knitting pattern which requires my full attention, visually and mentally.
One thing that I am grateful for and tend to overlook is the time that I now have since I’ve been out of work. First off, I’m SO grateful for the amount of time that I have been spending, with my son. I could never be home waiting for him to get home from school if I was working a day job. I would’ve missed all his milestones up until this point…. all of which happened during the day. I know too many moms who miss out on the most valuable moments of parenting. We were sort of maneuvered into my staying home. My work situation, and I can’t even say I had a career, was not paying enough for me to justify going back to work. It simply wasn’t paying enough and I didn’t want to have to work just t0 pay for daycare. Absurd, so it seemed to be a no brainer for me to stay home, though I did try to negotiate a work-at-home arrangement with my employer. This really was doable given my job and how it was conducted in the office. So, at the eleventh hour, after getting favorable feedback, I was maneuvered into the position of resigning at 5pm on the Friday before DH was due back from his FMLA leave. Still sticks me a little, but not much. DH’s salary was more than enough to keep us afloat.
I’m grateful for the present because the past is a memory and I really don’t want to think about the future. If I do, I won’t enjoy the present. Actually, I’ve been trying to prepare myself, mentally and emotionally, for a change. Our domestic situation has been changing and shortly (hopefully) I’ll be
thrust pushed shoved back into the workforce and my time won’t be my own again. It’s hard to let go of something and lose control. This is the one area of my life (my time) that I’ve had almost total control over, or at least enough to feel satisfied and not resent the other duties I have, like housekeeper, mother, wife, basically an administrative assistant for the household I call my own. It’s sad. I’m very sad about losing something I’ve enjoyed these past six years or so. So, by extension, I am grateful for whatever time I have in the present when my time is my own. Trust in the great big grand plan….
I am so grateful that I’ve had the time to pursue my varied interests. I love and need lots of time for, well, the fiber arts, which includes knitting, crochet, spinning both on a wheel and spindle. I’ve started wire wrapping various stones, gems, even rocks and made them into beautiful works of art that can be worn on the neck. This extra “me” time has allowed me to develop and work at creating beauty down previously untraveled avenues and not performing under appreciated scuttle work in an office. (can scuttle work ever be “fully” appreciated?) What’s really important is that I have not been subjected to other people deciding my worth. I’ve participated in a few craft shows and festivals, so while I’ve not been an overwhelming success, I’ve totally enjoyed the process and gained invaluable experience. I recently received an invitation to display my work in a consignment shop, dedicated to showcasing independent artists in another part of the country. I’m so excited! The venue is Charmed Butterfly in Scottsville, Va. Go check them out. I’m also preparing to participate in another local craft show this December. That’s pretty cool and things are looking up.
You know, and this is not trivial to me, I really appreciate my reading audience, whoever you are. All through the year plus that I’ve not posted, I’ve had people coming back. Amazing. I’m awed that I have these die hard fans out there who are reading. I’m glad that what I have said months and months ago is still being read somewhere in the world today. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU~!
Okay, so I had to take this excerpt out a post I’m working about gratitude. My thoughts turned into a rant touching upon the employment situation that is going on right now in the United States, and totally off my top. So, instead of deleting my thoughts, which I’m incapable of doing, I post here for your reading pleasure and/or amusement:
When I was working I missed out on everything the day had to offer, from the luxury of sleeping later than 5:00am to just going for a leisurely walk and taking in the cool crisp air that marks the joys of autumn. I hate the rushing around getting to and from a place of business, at which my time is not my own. I value my time and if I am going to give it away, it needs to be to something I enjoy and believe in. This is a tall order in the current landscape we call “Land of the Free”, “Land of Opportunity”, “Land of Milk and Honey”. For the average person these phrases either do not apply or remain unobtainable and unrealistic. I hardly can imagine the days gone by when people really just walked off the ship from Europe and wrote the classic rags to riches story. Really. Wow. Yes, there are exceptions out there, but most of us are not the exception. For one, I was born here and I think that’s more of a disadvantage than an advantage. I have an old fashioned work ethic. My father drilled it into me that once I worked for a company, I should be loyal, on time, and give 150% of myself to that company. I’ve done this and still believe in this ideal, but it seems that times have changed. It used to be that this was a two way street and that giving this much of yourself was justified because companies appreciated loyalty and good performance in their employees. You felt safe because if you did this, you knew that your job was safe; unless of course, if you couldn’t perform your duties sufficiently. Now, this is not so. The more valuable you are, the more experience you have, the more expensive you are to keep and maintain. Experience, efficiency and loyalty have turned into liabilities. My brain hurts by just thinking about the truth of that. It used to be that if you were a long time employee somewhere, it said a lot about you and it was all good. Companies were impressed by that. Doesn’t seem so any longer because companies are getting rid of their long-time, loyal employees in order to hire new blood at a cheaper rate. That’s not even bringing up the out sourcing of our jobs to other countries. This kills me and tells me something very sinister about where this country is going.
That is all.
grat·i·tude [grat-i-tood, -tyood] noun the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful: He expressed his gratitude to everyone on the staff.
Today I’ve been feeling that I need to write about being grateful for my friends. I’m still going to do that, but I wanted to do this preliminary post about gratitude, in general. I just hope I can do the subject justice.
It wasn’t until I consciously strove to feel grateful, did I start to really enjoy life. Not only that, but I do believe that it’s a critical ingredient to a happy and respectful marriage; and this, my friends is from where I speak. Through my marriage, my husband, I can see the world not as the old, cynical me; but as a refreshed me. I really credit my DDH (Dear Dear Husband) with the bulk of renewing my life, or at the very least he be the catalyst for it. He nurtures that, and you’d better believe, in his own subtle (or not so subtle) way, he calls me out on the carpet when I stray…. but not before I make a total jerk of myself… aaaah- He loves me~!
Not only is gratitude key for a good marriage. It’s critical to any relationship, and the other major one is my relationship with God. If I’m not grateful for everything that God has given me, then I really do have nothing. I’ve made it a rule that I must always be grateful for everything I do have in my life and forget what doesn’t happen to be here for me. I can’t waste my time going to places I can’t reach… yet. Concentrating on what I do have means that I’m not thinking about the negative, whatever that may be. What I’m doing now with these gratitude posts is refreshing my memory, reminding myself that there is so much in my life to be happy about and to remember to thank my Creator.
For me being grateful means that in taking the time to think about the positives, about the really good people in my life, presents more opportunities to project a positive spirit out to others. More opportunities to tell the people in my life how much I love them and how much I appreciate their presence in my life. Another thing is that up until now, I could not tell people how I felt about them. I was embarrassed or I thought it was silly. I thought it wasn’t important. Now I know that is a lie. It IS very important to those around me to know, more importantly TO BE TOLD how much they mean to me. I need to take the time to tell my friends I love them. That they are important to me. Thank them for being in my life. I won’t miss those opportunities again. Too many times we let the moment pass, then regret it.
Another concept I came away from Oprah’s Lifeclass is when she said, “Your presence is enough.” If I remember correctly this was part of a discussion about “what should I do when I walk into a room” or “what do I say?” Something like that, and this sentence, “Your presence is enough” just jumped out at me. Yeah, I really get that and I want to close my eyes: OOHHMMMM.
Gratitude is the fertile soil for Love. See what those OHM’s can do?
edited to add: Just found this quote I was saving about Joy:
“When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find
it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see
that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”
Last night I tuned in to Oprah’s Lifeclass for the first time. I went all out and had the TV on as well as the web which I was glad that I did because the talking continued during commercial breaks and also after the TV version ended. All in all, it was pretty good and definitely a godsend with all the crap they put on TV these days. Definitely worth the time watching.
So if I got one thing out of last night’s show was the suggestion of writing a Gratitude Journal… and I’m going to. The point is to write 5 things that you’re grateful for each day. I’m a bit late today because I was out all day, but maybe that’s the best way to do this so that I can have the opportunity to think back on the day and remember again what I’m grateful for. Please note that this list is not necessarily in order of importance. Whatever is relative to my life IS important to me, so here goes:
I am so very grateful for my husband, Ed. It’s the every day things. The small, seemingly insignificant things that turn out to be anything but insignificant. He way of being is so calming, in and of itself. I just can’t get over where my life could have been if it weren’t for him. He inspires me to be more than I am and that’s it in a nutshell. Yes, I’m grateful for him every single day; and through him, we have the most beautiful and amazing boy.
By the way, our son is the second thing I am grateful for. I wish I could show you on this one page how truly amazing he is. He is definitely forming his sense of humor and have no idea where that will end up, but he’s like me in the way he laughs at his own senseless jokes, which really does make it funny, well to me. His laugh, however, comes from his father… a guffaw-like chuckle. I am grateful to the babe who teaches his mother about life every single day. Who is supposed to be teaching who here? lol… That question is up for debate because he is, well, amazing….
Which reminds me, I MUST REMEMBER TO DO HOMEWORK TOMORROW….
I’m so SO grateful for my Posse~! A collection of wonderful, wonderful ladies who get together once a month to celebrate Friends, Fellowship and Food! HA… Well, mainly we share our joy of the fiber arts through crochet, knitting, and charity projects. These ladies are: Linda, Eartha, Pauline, Dolores, Helen, Pat, Desirre, Jeannette, Susan, Laura, Jeri and myself. No, I’m terrible because there are others who while are not present every month are missed. There are newer people, too, who are always finding us; but I’m not so good with names and I apologize if I left anyone out. Today was our special day and it could not be better. Delicious food, wonderful friends who are always positive and uplifting to the spirit. When we are together we laugh, laugh, laugh and we find it hard to pull ourselves away from each other. It’s a virtual lovefest. LOVE YOU GIRLS~!
I’m grateful for my faith. Without that I would be a total mess right now. Having a loving and forgiving God to believe in makes living easier. I know that I am never alone. I can forgive myself because I know that God forgives me. I just look around in my life and know to the core of my being that He exists and is taking care of me. I believe that He has hand picked my mate and by extension, our son, our family…. Thank you, Lord… so, SO much~!
I’m grateful for where I’m living. I must say that I complain a lot about the area I live in. It’s a terrible urban area with lots of crime, but the block we live on is relatively reminiscent of a nice neighborhood. It’s a dead end street, so no heavy traffic, well, if you don’t count frequent number of cars who don’t realize it and try to scream into our neighbor’s yard at the very end of the street. Oh, forgot, keep it positive. I’m grateful for our home. We rent on the first floor and have a nice breezy porch. We have large public rooms and it’s just right for us. It’s our home and I love this space so much. We have, or I should say “had” a garden until the landlord’s son pretty much took it over. My first reaction was a bad one, but I’ve gotten over it. Now that it’s the fall, we have to see what will be happening with it next spring. I had a small spot that the landlord gave us and we planted lavender and rosemary bushes, basil, tomatoes, oregano, thyme, mint and whatever else I could fit in there. I can’t begin to explain how it made me feel to just be able to walk out back and pick fresh herbs and veggies to use in my cooking. It brought me closer to the earth. I sure hope we can work this out and I’m optimistic about it and for that, I’m grateful.
I feel good today despite the fact that there is a woman in Starbucks right now disrupting the whole place with her loud words, noises and insane rants. I was ” close to complaining about her, but then I realized there might be something “off” about her that would account for her behavior. I guess I’m more sensitive to that. I can’t help but hear their conversation and she is just not making any sense. God help me to not hear, but she is just being very loud. So, for today, for this one post, I will concentrate on why I’m feeling good at this moment.
The most immediate reason I am feeling good is that I just followed up on an application for employment by just showing up. I saw the manager of a local A.C. Moore store, inquired, asked questions; and though I have no answers right now, I am confident that he will remember me when he goes to look through the applications he has. I need a good sign and if life won’t hand it to me, I must make them for myself. So, if you’re thinking that this is hardly an uplifting reason to feel good, I’ll assure you that it is. It’s a big deal to me. Granted this is no guarantee of securing a job, but at least I DID something positive to that end and THAT makes me happy.
Recently I was invited to display my pendants for sale at the Charmed Butterfly. Go check them out. They showcase independent artists and the work they do. Pretty soon my name will be listed under their “Artists” list. Pretty exciting! This shop is way out of state for me, in Scottsville, VA; and is owned by someone I call my friend. Though we’ve never met, we have spoken over the phone and though we live so far away, I often think of her and feel grateful she is out there. The reason that I’m feeling particularly good today about the Charmed Butterfly is that I finally got a package out to her carrying my creations. Wow, this could be the start of something good for me. I just hope I’m ready- be ready for anything!
“Four Strong Winds” is playing on the sound system and it brings back really nice memories of learning how to play the guitar and practicing. This was one of the songs my mentor insisted I learn, though I had no idea how it was supposed to sound. Since I cannot read music, I play almost entirely by ear. Most of our list was like that. He loves mostly country music by the “good ol boys”.. the old masters like Hank Williams, Sr. and his contemporaries. This song, though, is not country, folk, I think. I miss the guitar so much, but I can’t seem to make time for it… ah Anthony would scoff at me and, indeed, I would, as well. “…. GET ME A WHOPPER, GET ME A WHOPPER….” just infiltrated my strain of thought, being said to nobody. Nobody left to get a whopper. Geez, we’re in Starbuck’s! OMG… they just left. Thank goodness, but there’s no excuses now not to concentrate on this. To pick up my thought where it was screechingly severed I will report that I still have my guitar, a Yamaha f-310, sitting in my closet patiently waiting for me to take her out so we can make some beautiful music together.
One of my favorite songs is “Greensleeves”, a melody from long ago, Middle Ages maybe. The more modern song with the same melody is “What Child Is This”, a Christmas hymn. I loved to play this on my guitar, sooo beautiful. Well, the other day our family visited the Morris Museum up in Morristown, NJ. There was a very interesting exhibit there on “Musical Machines & Living Dolls: Mechanical Musical Instruments and Automata from the Murtogh D. Guinness Collection” with a collection of all kinds of antique music machines. After our visit, of course we stopped at the museum shop, prices were very reasonaboe, by the way, and I purchased one of those tiny music machines you find in music jewelry boxes. The tune is “Greensleeves” and Gabriel immediately put a claim in for it, even though it was really for me. Now, that was two weeks ago and I’ve not heard him playing it recently. Yesterday I got into a singing for a spell and one of the songs was this Christmas hymn. Wouldn’t you know it, Gabe immediately came in and asked me what the song was that I was singing. I told him and he responded that it’s the same as his music box. Momma was so proud of her little boy! He’s got a good ear, I think. It was hidden because for so long he had a terrible hearing loss and recently it seems to be corrected for good. He’s been going to a specialist for years now, ever since preschool. HA.. for a long time he’s been singing off key and I had resigned myself to the fact that this might not be a good avenue for him to pursue. He just loves to sing and play the drums… Yeah. Everything is a drum to and drum sticks.
There is so much to be grateful for….
I’m writing from my heart today and when I do that, I’m not always rational or logical. I speak from a place of great emotion, and emotions almost never make any sense. I will most likely be judged as being out of line by posting but it is what it is and I write to sort of work through this myself.
Less than a year ago I had a passing conversation with a friend and her position and words are still with me today. If I remember correctly, I had initiated the topic, and at the time, accepted her opinion as just that, her opinion and she is definitely entitled to that. But her words rubbed my personal hide so much the wrong way then, but I brushed it aside because I had asked for her opinion.
My son had recently been diagnosed with autism and I was taking every opportunity to get input from anyone I could, whenever I could. We were driving together one day and the subject of education came up. My husband and I had just attended our first IEP meeting after the diagnosis and the team suggested something called a “50-50 Program”, which allows the child to stay in an inclusive classroom along side the general educated kids. This is preferable, if possible, because the children actually, for a lack of better words, they learn better. They need to have that socialization with the mainstream kids. Social behavior has a major effect on learning. More of that at another time because I feel a tangent building and we got to nip that in the bud….
So, we were pretty happy with the solution, but made a mental note to assess whether Gabe was actually benefitting from it. This program is structured to have a classroom, consisting of no more than 10 special needs kids and 10 general ed kids, with 1 special ed teacher and 1 general ed teacher. Among other things, I was wondering, however, who those general ed kids were going to be, how they would be selected and finally, if their parents needed to approve the set up. Which leads us up the to that friendly conversation with my friend. I was telling her about this whole set up and we both wondered the same things. I don’t remember if I asked her or if she just said, which I realize doesn’t matter; but she said point blank that she wouldn’t want her kids in the same classroom as a special needs kid. At the time, I felt the sting of that comment because she knows us and knows Gabe. I took it personally, though I told myself that I could not because it was just a discussion we were having and she was being honest.
Her position for not wanting her kids to share the same classroom with a special needs child is that she was concerned that time would be taken away from her own kids’ education if the teachers had to take time away from teaching the whole class to deal with a potential meltdown or whatever disturbance that would originate from the special needs kids. At the time, I agreed with her; and I do find myself concerned about that, as well. People tell me that I must only be concerned about my own kids’ education, and I am; but I am also concerned with the rest of the class and the teachers and the effort that it will be required to keep the classroom running smoothly.
In this year’s time, I have learned so much. I’ve learned that it’s absolutely necessary, if at all possible, to keep all the kids integrated in the classroom. Let me take a moment to explain that I’m talking about the higher functioning children who do have communication skills. What makes arranging appropriate education, socialization, extracurricular activities, etc., is that the children should be grouped together with those of equal levels of abilities. I sometimes think that it’s no wonder schools fail at socializing the kids. Well, not fail, but they seem disinterested and practically ignore the argument.
I’ve seen so much, first hand, too. The fear that ignorance can spawn can be avoided. I’ve just decided to begin advocating for a Social Behavior group conducted at the school. That is going to be a tall order, I think, despite the fact that there are enough kids there to get it done. Autistic kids can learn social skills from the regular kids. I’ve seen Gabe reach out to his classmates just to be pushed away and snickered at because they do not understand that he is different and that he is just trying to make a friend. I saw this specifically on a class trip last year that I had helped to chaperon. I had Gabe and two other boys. One, I recognized as Gabe’s “best friend”, I’ll call him Charlie, and another boy Gabe had spoken about, and I’ll call him Brian. It turned out that Gabe’s “best friend” was not really his friend. Charlie beamed up and informed me that Brian was his “best friend”. This stung a little, though I do realize that kids this young are still learning how to form relationships. I had to keep myself objective and I do believe I did a pretty good job of it. However, going through the day, watching the two new best friends sticking together, with Gabe on the outside of this privileged little circle broke my heart as a mother. Even more when Brian pushed Gabe away multiple times when he tried to take his hand, as we were all required to hold hands. On the bus, Gabe tried to get their attention by making sing-song sounds that grew quite annoying to them and they kept staring at me, like “he’s weird”. Hence a vicious cycle (mom’s heart talking) perpetuated itself. I recognize that Gabe’s behavior was odd and seemed very strange to these other two boys. That’s not their fault.
ALL the kids need to learn, understand and hopefully accept the autistic child. Are kids this age even old enough to comprehend? I’m thinking they can be instructed in an age appropriate way. What a tall order and I have not the slightest idea on how to accomplish this, especially with the school’s policy of keeping privacy intact and not wanting to draw attention, potentially negative attention onto the autistic child. I get that, I really do; but then how to get past this issue and create a learning opportunity? What I do know is that all through history how we’ve ever managed to affect social change was done through the young, the next generation.
Sigh. So, here I am thinking back to my struggle at the beginning of this post. I don’t hold any ill will. Indeed, do you think it arrogant of me to even say that. Well, these are my thoughts and I need to bring it all around to complete the circle. To bring all this to a close and there it is.
A good friend of mine is getting married December of 2011. Being a knitter, the first thing I thought about was, “OH. I can make her a shawl or something.” Well, she picked out Gail (aka Nightsongs), a beautiful, yet free pattern that she happened to pick out. Though I love lace, I do have a hard time connecting to knitting charts which most lace knitting patterns are written as. As luck would have it somebody actually created something called an “UNchart” which is sort of a part written and part charted pattern. It was love at first sight!
So, the yarn that Paula pick out is Sterling Silk and Silver by Kraemer Yarns in Tuxedo colorway (black). 63% Superwash Merino, 20% Silk, 15% Nylon, 2% Silver ~3.5 oz./ 100 Grams, approximately 420 Yards. This stuff is lovely. Real sterling silver threads run all through this stuff. Recently, Kraemer’s was forced to give up getting real silver threading because it’s getting harder and harder to get, so now they have some other fake material substituting for the silver…. SO, I am making this shawl, with one of the last skeins available with the sterling silver inside. Nice gift, eh!
I had completed the majority of the shawl when it got really hot this summer. Of course, I totally abandoned the project knowing I had plenty of time. About a week ago, I picked it back up and as of tonight, I’m up to the last 19 knitted rows for the edging. My eyes were giving me some problems at about 11pm, so I stopped for tonight and will resume tomorrow… I can’t wait to get this thing done, but I’m loving it and watching the leaves develop and I’m really looking forward to blocking this baby using my relatively new blocking wires. This will be the first project I’m using them for and excited…. Well, as excited as you can get, considering.
Yeah, I was pretty boring tonight, but I did want to document this shawl in some way and have been meaning to do it…. PLUS this will be the first post on my knitting blog in a LONG time, so it really was begging to be done.
Now for something really important. I have a wedding to go to at the end of March 2012 and I’m considering asking Paula if I could borrow her shawl… hee hee. We’ll see…. I have no idea what I’m wearing for that yet, but I do know that I don’t have any elegant piece like this to speak of in my wardrobe. After completing this one, I’ve got some serious Christmas knitting to start, so I can’t even whip out another shawl right now.
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. ~1 Corinthians 13:2
Oh well, searching for this quote has pushed me past 12 midnight and so I’ve lost the post a day challenge. That’s okay, though, because I have love.
Not feeling so well tonight, so thought it would be the perfect time to use this new “copy post” feature and dredge up a past post. This one made me chuckle and maybe you’ll get a kick out of it, too…….. Just hope I’m not a bad mommie for watching this at least 8 times so far tonight. It’s just the knowing what’s going to happen….
Just couldn’t resist posting this clip I got of Gabe today. He showed me today that he could sit on it, himself…. So I wanted to take a pic… then thought of doing a video. This is what happened: