And comes autumn…

Oh yes! Beautiful lovely Autumn has arrived! How I crave this time of year! I awake in the dark and the morning comes creeping slowly casting her light across the yard and trickling down to the pond below. The air is crisp and cold, with a hard edge that hints at what is to come. I love to go out onto the porch, wrapped in a woolen blanket and meet the dawn. I have once more dedicated myself to my morning rituals; a scalding cup of milky coffee while I read the daily prayer from Tess Ward’s beautifully written book of Celtic Prayers. I must share an insert so you can experience the beauty of her prose.

“Blessed be you for Mother Earth, for her fruits that we may not go hungry. Blessed be you Creator of all, for supplying the sun and the rain. May I co-operate with you providence and know your blessing this day.

Praise to you Generative Spirit, for as the wind blows the leaves, and all around you crisps and curls with brownness and death, you show your care with pumpkins, squashes and gourds, golden and ochre, bulbous and buxom. And underfoot cream and magenta root vegetables ready to pull, hardy turnips, parsnips, beetroot and swede. On tree and bush, clusters of berries in scarlet and October orange, and nuts cradled in silken case within hard clasp of the shell, feeding birds and squirrels in scarce times. Praise to you.

Strange God who made dying beautiful, I abandon myself to your curious beauty this day. Let me cherish the blood and bone of all the life you have given when the fears of no-life creep in and I am cold. May I befriend the dark with open eye at summer’s end. My I stoke the feisty fire of my desire as vibrant as the leaves I see. May my creative impulses leap like the speckled salmon as I embrace the fertility of winter. May I love the ground on which I stand, as the leaf mold and decay of summer mulches the soil and strengthens roots. May I hunker down, curled up like a hedgehog, in the dark peace of quiet. May the wholesome table bulge with roasted earth fruits, steaming pies and warming drink, fueling my body for wintery days. Let me celebrate the sacred vigor of dying as I welcome this autumn day.”

This is just a sampling of a part of one daily prayer as there is more for the ending of the day. I just love how Tess uses imagery so vividly. I always read these out loud as I feel only in that way can I truly capture the beauty of the prose!

I have not been as regular with my daily walks, but have been out to explore a few places. Over the week end I headed out with Bella to one of my favorite walking trails. I wanted to see if there were many changes in the last 8 years. What I found was great improvements, as they paths are now being maintained. It still captured that sacred special feeling as we wound down through trees over arching the path. It offered a small bit of what I dearly miss about the PNW, the green silent secret paths that twist and turn, filled with mystery and magic.

I must admit I have done little to no sewing, I did start a few bags, but they are still sitting half done on my cutting table. I have been knitting, simple socks and a Child’s dress I started ages ago. Most of my time is taken up with childcare and PhD studies. But I am very content as I am finally settling into this new role. It has not been without its own trials and many bumps. But I love that I feel more of a purpose now. As much as I adore retirement, I was craving a greater purpose once again. My classes are going well. I am finally taking my research courses. I had dreaded and put them off until the last. But so far so good! I still have 2 more years to completion since I have been going part time. Next year I will begin the dissertation process, which is an entire year or more in itself. No rush, just enjoying the process….

Do you believe in magic, do you still have that sense of wonder and awe? I work to ensure that I never lose it! So when I was walking last week and came upon a fairy ring of mushrooms, I was enchanted! How wonderful, how magical!! The ring was only half as it was intersected by the path, but a perfect half arch was still clear.

Isn’t that just magical? What a wonderful gift from nature!

I have none of my holiday decor here, so have had to get creative with what I can find around me. I have thoroughly enjoyed the flowers and herbs growing in the yard and put together this little arrangement for my table. Of course a puzzle always takes up the majority of the table.

I have been enjoying a few yard and estate sales here and there and have found some lovely treasures. It is certainly much more enjoyable to have little companions on my outings. I have done so many things alone for so long, that I forgot just how much more enjoyable it is to have company as I treasure hunt, it certainly doubles the fun!

I have taken full advantage of the library here and find myself reading a great deal more than I have in years. When you have a 1.5 and 4 year old under foot, reading is one activity (along with knitting) you can do and still keep an eye out for mischief that only that age can find. Here is my latest pile. I discovered a you tube channel by a young woman in Portland, Morgan Long, which I have throughly enjoyed and discovered new authors to explore.

I don’t watch a much TV, but when I do it is either a cosy British production or You Tube. I enjoy so many You Tube channels and have discovered so many new things and gotten great ideas. There is just such a myriad of amazing women out there sharing their world and knowledge through You Tube; knitting, nature, reading, crafting, decorating, cooking, it is all there and then some! It was through the channel above by Morgan Long that I discover moon lamps! The kids have had a great time with them!

What could be more fun for a little one than holding the moon in your hand!

Well it is time now to focus on some research and churn out this week’s posting then get my sweet doggies out for a walk.

Adventure awaits!

Patricia

New Horizons

Oh my, it has been a season since I posted. It has been a very busy busy time with so many changes. I shall attempt to catch you all up as I share my latest adventures.

I have currently returned to the little community in eastern Washington that I left 8 years ago. I still have my home in Salem, but am busy preparing to put it on the market. But first, what brought about such a change and so very sudden. Well my daughter completed her nursing program and took a job offer here and I came along to help out with the grands. We found a lovely home with a beautiful dual living set up, absolutely perfect for both families and well, next thing we were both relocated. Let me tell you we moved during the brutal heat streak and the AC in the new house promptly quit. Oh dear was it a few miserable days! But all was soon sorted and we settled in. Very sparsely at first, I had what I could fit in my car and Becca had a smaller truck load. Both of us had homes to prepare and sell and husbands staying behind to work and visit as able.

Returning to a small community has been challenging. So many things I took for granted are not to be found in this rural area. I admit, it has been ups and downs as to my feelings about liking the return to a rural area. There are a list of pros and cons and they both keep growing as each month passes. The biggest adjustment that I have faced has been caring for 5 children with a 4 y/o and a 1.5 y/o. Boy Howdy do they keep me on my toes. Becca works 12 hour shifts so I am one busy grandma. Thankfully the two oldest are so amazingly helpful!!

It has been interesting readjusting from an entire house to a smaller apartment, but I was up to the task! Between thrifting, bargain hunting, and getting down right creative, I have managed to put together quite the sweet little home, or my hidey hole as I call it. My living area in the house is bright and cheerful and I have a nice little deck which I enjoy spending many evening and early mornings on. Let me share some pictures of my little home.

I brought many of the items that had great meaning to me; mother’s baskets, gifts from the grands and my girls, things with sentimental value, and things that just make my soul sing.

I found all these curtains at a yard sale. I felt they added just the right ambiance to my little space.

My darling teen grand daughter Bella, who has the 3rd bedroom in my apartment, likes to call this our witchy area as it has all our special crystals, sage, herbs, and other items that we treasure.

I am waiting to find just the right overstuffed chair to replace the one with the blues. I am hoping for something in a nice rose shade…

I loved the detail on these French country chair I found on a great sale. And this little chest I grabbed from a yard sale…isn’t it precious?

I have a lovely sewing area as well in this sweet three bedroom apartment. Don’t mind the mess…..

All this shelving I found on marketplace and at great prices. I just had to have all my fabric and craft items surrounding me!

And a lovely large bright bedroom filled with my special things and a nice large writing desk!

This little wicker dresser I picked up for pennies and painted. It works perfect for my clothes and small tv.

I also have a nice little book nook, but I brought very few of my books. However, it is perfect storage for the wonderful wine offered here and my sewing room overflow.

On one of my yard sale outings I happened upon an artist who was retiring and selling off what was left of her work. Oh my Gosh! Beautiful pieces and such a wide range of styles. I’ll share what I found.

The cross stitch was made by my eldest Christina decades ago, it is so lovely.

However my most precious piece is an original by my friend Candice! I love this piece as it reminds me of my father and I when I was a child. I adore her work!! Notice the small little canvas as well. Isn’t her work just AMAZING!

I hope you enjoyed the tour. It is really just a perfect space. Although I have not a one of my hutches, which I dearly love, I have managed to still surround myself with the things which are dear to me and create a warm and cozy home. And is is nice being surrounded by family. I still dearly miss my eldest and grands tucked over in Ireland, and my middle in Cali. But my siblings are all much closer and I can now visit them.

My days still follow the same rhythm, early slow morning savoring the dawn of a new day, walks with the dogs (not as often as I’d like), knitting and crafting, and still working away on the PhD. Now with the cooler weather I am getting out more. I do miss the beautiful PNW and all my lovely lovely green spaces, but I am finding the beauty in my current surroundings and appreciating a more rural and quiet community. I have always believed that wherever you go there you are and you must simply bloom where you find yourself planted. So I find I will bloom here in this space and this season of my life.

To new adventures!

Patricia

So Much Catch Up

I have not blogged in forever, I did start one several months ago, but just never completed it. Do you have those times when you just don’t feel the ability to write, be it journaling, blogging, letter writing? I go through those dry periods and one such happened over the summer. But now I am back. I do want to publish the last blog I was working on before starting anew. So this is very outdated…several months so. But be that as it…..

June 2021

Oh so very much has transpired since I last posted. First was a lovely train trip to Cali for a wonderful visit with Erica and family. And greeting the newest precious grand baby, Grayson! He is a darling baby indeed!

While visiting I helped the grands engage in some fun tie-dyeing. I had found a wealth of white cotton shirts that would fit each and took them down. It was fun and the results were amazing! All so very different and beautiful. They also had fun dyeing up a batch of onesies for baby brother!

While there we also celebrated the graduation of sweet Milsie. She was graduating from both HS and CC as she took all the courses to complete her AA during her HS years! What a great accomplishment! She is off in the fall to LA to college, what a brilliant and brave young woman is Milsie!!

It was a great time visiting everyone and meeting my newest dear grand, Grayson!

Next it was home and what a flurry of busyness followed! My youngest took a nursing position in the town I had loved before relocating to the PNW. Since her husband was staying in Nevada to work, I decided to join her and provide help with the kids. We found a beautiful home with a nice mother-in-law 3 bedroom apartment in the lower floor. It is overlooks a park and large pond and is absolutely beautiful inside and out. But oh what a flurry of work, the hubs and I decided to sell the house while the market is so high and just move our belongings to WA where I will be living. He will also stay in OR and work for several more years. So I got busy and packed the entire house in the 10 days prior to my leaving for WA. I managed to get it done but what a job!

In relocating I only initially brought what we could fit in the car, which meant I was moving in with no furniture except a chair my daughter brought. I have managed and picked up pieces here and there over the past few weeks. I nearly have a nice little place together. What a change this has been.

I am posting this and will follow with an update of what has transpired since my move and return to a community that I had once loved so dearly.

Embracing change,

Patricia

Beautiful Busy Days and Welcome to a Beautiful new Grand Baby!

So much busyness has transpired in the past month and all has been wonderful. My middle, Erica, and family arrived for a nice month long stay. I had been looking so forward to this visit for months and cleared out the house to put up numerous beds to accommodate everyone. 10 additional bodies in the house made for much busyness, but it made my heart so happy. I loved having a purpose and reason to cook and care for others! We took endless walks, exploring and enjoying the beauty of spring with all abloom. On the last week we headed off to the beach for a glorious week of seaside beauty. It was perfect the entire time with warm sunny days. I don’t believe anything is more lovely than the seaside!

When the time came for them to say goodby and return home, I was delighted to have this little sweetie stay on for an extended visit! My heart was indeed full!!

With the loves gone, except one, life settled back into routine. Daily walks, knitting, reading, and of course, the beginning of summer classes for my Phd studies.

I have been doing quite a bit of knitting of late and finished up numerous projects. I had enjoyed the sampler blanket I made for the upcoming new baby that I indulged in a wrap that was knit of a variety of sampler stitches. For the wrap I used all my own botanically dyed wools. I love the end results, it is so soft and cuddly, long enough to wrap numerous times around the neck or shoulders.

I also finished the little hooded sweater I had been working on for Mimi. It is just adorable and matches perfect with the little thrifted dress I found!

I finished up another pair of socks out of some leftover yarn. I always have a pair of socks on the needles as it is mindless knitting that is easy to pick up and go as needed.

Little Ava and I have been busy having our own adventures. One of the things the grands have always looked forward to with grandma is yard sales and thrifting. We have had the grandest time visiting various charity shops and the yard sales on the week-end. She has loaded up on toys, even finding an American Girl doll for a few dollars!! Oh what fun we are having! It is so lovely to have a little one around the house again!

We took a lovely trip south to Eugene and spent the most wonderful few days with my brother and sister. My brother continues to hold his own and has even improved as he continue to battle the end stages of amyloidosis. Time with his is precious and we enjoyed memories of our lives and delved into the deeper meaning of life. Anytime with my sister Sue is always fun and this time was no exception. We had a marvelous time! I treasure this time with my siblings.

The gardens are growing fabulously! My cottage garden improves each year. It is really quite remarkable as the majority of my plants are discounted from the big box stores. I watch the clearance section as it is an inexpensive way to get a large variety of plants for little investment. This peony was one such clearance plant last year and is absolutely gorgeous this year. Peonies are one of my favorite flowers!

I do splurge on the absolute must haves! I have added so many new plants already this year I can’t begin to count them. Slowly bit by bit the gardens are taking on a new life. The challenge of the back yard still remains, due to all the shade, but it is evolving into a lovely green paradise.

Currently we are busy redoing our deck as it had rotted beyond repair. I love playing in the dirt and soil and watching new shoots push up through the ground and the flowers put forth their blooms! There is really nothing quite like a garden as a balm for the soul against the chaos of the world.

Comes the day when the newest member of the family arrived. Precious Grayson made his debut loudly and safely. We couldn’t be happier to welcome this new sweet baby boy! I will be traveling down Sunday to welcome him and see the rest of the gang!

Oh my as I look back over this blog, I realize I started it back at the beginning of May! How time flies and gets away from me so easily. So very much has transpired in the month or so since I started typing, but all wonderful magical moments that will be tucked away to be retrieved and relived as life continues to march on.

Celebrating life and love,

Patricia

Visits and Vaccine

Last week past was one of those most lovely weeks that will be stored away in my memories. My brother, Fred, who is fighting the good fight against the rotten amyloidosis, was to be in Pdx for a few nights along with my sister and niece. It was the perfect opportunity to go join them and spend a few days just being together. We had a marvelous time. Sis, Sue and niece, Rachelle and I did get in some fun shopping while Fred rested at the hotel. It was such a glorious time with no schedule other than just being together! The weather was beautiful and the time was so precious! Unfortunately I did not get any pictures, but my mind is full of memories and precious pictures of this time! My niece did so generously gift me some of her doll collection. Just look at these darlings! The Madame Alexander Little Women collection. I just love them! Three darling daughters, just like my own!

Back home and to routine. I just love my daily routine including the walks. My soul needs the daily dose of nature! The PNW puts on such show in the spring. The daffodils are thick; lovely lemon yellow with their little lacy heads pointed toward the sun. They are indeed one of my favorite flowers!

I just love all the oddities I see when out in my little patch of nature.

My sweet little girl is getting such a frosty face. How they both love the walks too! Sadly the walks have had to be shortened, Misha’s back leg is acting up again after the stem cell is long over and done. She is getting some rehab and we are cutting the walks back to a mile until she is better. I think this may be the new normal. It appears she did not tear her meniscus which would explain why the stem cell was not 100% successful, but I have read that often it takes two injections. Although I banked the cells, I prefer not to put her through that again and will stick with rehab for now.

Speaking of nature, I started reading Sharon Blackie’s The Enchanted Life and find it just so perfect for this point in my life. She discusses how our western culture leaves the gift of wonderment behind in our childhood and how destructive this is to ourselves, humanity, and the earth. Being a child of a huge imagination, this book resonates so deeply with me. In my 5th decade I began to shed the western views and re embrace my own sense of wonder and belief in the magical and mystical. It has coincided with a spiritual growth, as how can you truly believe in the spiritual without a sense of wonderment and mysticism?

I have been getting in quite a bit of knitting in the evenings. I discovered a new Brit mystery series, George Gently, and I am hooked. It is so nice to curl up in my oversized comfy chair, knitting in hand, and fall deep into the English countryside and a chilling mystery. I finished the sampler blanket and loved making it. All the different stitches kept it interesting and it simply flew off my needles! The picture is awful, it is so hard to get a good picture of some knitting projects…sigh…

Since I enjoyed playing with so many stitch patterns, I decided to dig out a sampler wrap pattern I had purchased some time back. I used my own botanically hand dyed yarns in DK weight and went to work. It is amazing how fast this is knitting up as well!

I have been waiting some time for the vaccine to open to my age group here in Oregon. When I heard it was coming I jumped onto the net and immediately booked an appointment at a local pharmacy. I got my Pfizer the first day of the opening! I did experience a bit of a reaction as I woke up in the night with chills and headache that continued through most of the next day with a general feeling of malaise. But I have the first shot down and honestly feel like I can breath again and can perhaps put all this behind me and get on with seeing all my girls and grands again. Next thing will be to book a flight to Ireland!! It really is such a huge relief!!

Well with March comes the slow return of YARDSALES!! Hurray!! On Fridays, I do a bit of driving around to scout for sales. I have happened to find a few here and there and found a few small treasures. This year is much more about a budget, so it is an added challenge and fun to see how far I can stretch $5.

I love this glass globe and it is a lovely addition to my collection. The stand has a multicolored light so that the globe can be illuminated.

I have quit collecting milk glass but when I saw this little beauty for a dime, I just had to bring it home.

Who doesn’t love a cathedral? I have such fond memories of visiting numerous on my trips and when I saw this beautiful vintage sketch of Reims Cathedral, well I couldn’t resist for .50.

I also got a few nice tops that I can wear as we transition into spring. Oh the joy of the hunt as the season begins again. Thrifting is one of my favorite past times!

Also while out I had to grab a few mugs that I saw. I just love the huge soup type mugs. I just seem to have a thing for mugs in general. I like the ones that just feel right in your hand. To me cosy is a warm mug of coffee or tea in a mug that fits in your hand like a glove, spreading warmth. Silly but just one of those peculiarities….

I recently moved one of my bird feeders to a spot directly in front of the window. Oh how I enjoy the little birds that come and feed each day. Have you all be noticing the birdsongs early in the morning as spring has sprung? It is one of those sounds that I never tire of and as lovely as any symphony.

I just cannot get enough nature at this time of year. Do you find the same feeling is driving you? I want the windows open and prefer to be outdoors. It is the perfect time also to start the deep cleaning, although I generally prefer most of that in the fall and winter as I prepare to hibernate indoors.

And now I must off and complete yet another assignment for this terms course. It is winding to the end and I have a paper to get busy on. I have thoroughly enjoyed this course on the Mythic Journey. Like I keep repeating, this PhD is the best gift I have ever given myself. Each new class is like Christmas and the joy of opening a new gift and discovering just how much you love that particular gift.

Happy Spring everyone!

Patricia

Another trip around the Sun

Once again I have seemed to let so much time slip away before sitting down once again to add to my blog stories. February left us with a little calling card. We were hit with an ice storm that was quite severe and caused much damage to the entire area, downed lines and trees. Although we had a branch come down through the roof and into the bedroom ceiling, we were luckier than many who had whole trees on their homes. Also we only had a 24 hour power loss with many having an outage for well over a week. All in all I felt quite lucky indeed.

As I lay in bed the night of the storm, I could hear trees and branches falling all around. The sound of transformers blowing was unnerving, but the sound of the branch (although it may look small) hitting the roof was quite terrifying as it shook the entire house. It was too dark out to see the extent of the damage, and in looking out the entire back yard was a mess of branches.

On my first walk following the storm, the extent of the damage was quite visible. My favorite little nature park was closed as the bridges into it were covered in branches and the park itself had numerous trees down covering the paths.

It was quite the mess. But neighbors were out helping neighbors clear the trees and the power company and city crews worked diligently and in a few weeks most of the damage was cleared and roads were opened again.

With that bit of excitement behind us, the weather took a beautiful turn with sunny days interspersed with some rain. The temps increased as the days grew longer and then March tiptoes in like a lamb. The walks have been glorious as the world begins waking up again. Yards and gardens are awash with purple crocus and stark white snow drops. The buds are fat on the bushes and the trees are beginning to green up. It is a joy to be out in nature when spring begins to bloom. I have been working to increase my walking mileage daily. Just being out in the sunshine, surrounded by a myriad vivid greenery makes my heart and soul sing! The dark days of winter are behind us and my body breathes a deep sigh of relief. This has been such a difficult year and, I am sure that many of you agree, fighting off the beast of despair and depression was often a daily chore. A chore made all that much more difficult with dark short cold days gnawing at our very souls.

March is my birthday month. Yet another year, boy they sure seem to go faster the older I get. But I had a lovely day and received some wonderful birthday mail.

This came all the way from Ireland and is scrumptious!!

Beautiful hand dyed and hand spun wool from the Irish Isles with a book on Aran sweaters. I just love Aran sweaters but have yet to attempt one. My mom made me the most beautiful one and it was passed down to my daughter and then to my granddaughter and is now tucked away for the next generation.

And this lovely chakra tree from sunny Cali. I have a special altar in my room and it holds all my dear sacred items. This chakra tree is just the perfect addition! I love the meaning of various stones and the belief in their power to facilitate healing. Everything on this altar is thrift finds except the tree and the rosary (it was a birthday gift last year from Ireland, my dear grandson bought if for me) and some of the crystals my sweet granddaughter gathered up from the wild Atlantic Irish beach and sent them to me.

I have been enjoying my latest knitting project immensely. The girls and I decided to do a knit along in January. But I was held up waiting on my yarn. We decided to do sampler blankets and I wanted a super wash as I was going to make my blanket for the newest baby on the way. I chose Lions brand Wool ease, a worsted weight, in their ivory color way. The pattern is The Little Snow blanket by Kay Jean Designs, a free pattern on Ravelry.

Terrible picture, but you get the idea. The different pattern stitches have been so fun to explore and yet all have been simple and easy. I love how it is knitting up and it will block out beautifully. I am just finishing up the last design portion and will finish off the boarder. I have been monogamous on this project with only a bit of a dip here and there knitting on my current sock project.

With March comes the possible beginning of yard sales! Oh how that makes me smile! I do love my weekly thrifting adventures. I must confess I have made a few trips to the local thrift stores and picked up a few treasures. Mainly some cashmere sweaters to ship over to Ireland. But I have also found a few books and a bit of decor for the other girls as well. With the downsizing of my own things, I now concentrate on finding treasures for my girls and grands. Oh how fun is the hunt!

The other week end, with the sun shining so brightly and the world abloom, I thought it was the perfect time to bring out a bit of Easter decor and brighten up the house a bit.

Not a great deal, but just enough to add some cheer and bring a smile.

I have been doing a great deal of reading lately. Little fiction, but many books on spirituality. Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have been focusing greatly on increasing my spiritual life. This has coincided perfectly with my mind body PhD studies, as well, as my courses over the past year have been Spirituality and Health, Guided Imagery and Health, and now The Path of the Mythic Journey.

I find that Celtic Spirituality resonates so deeply within me. Newell’s book shares so beautifully the basis of Celtic Spirituality. At the core is the belief that God is present in all creation and can be found in the beauty of nature, that the innate goodness of God indwells within all humans as we are made in God’s image, and that God is neither exclusively male or female but instead both. Celtic Spirituality desired that the church be built upon the Apostle John’s teachings and beliefs. It viewed women as an important part of creation and that they held places in the teaching and sharing of God. They viewed the veil between life and death, heaven and earth, and what is seen and unseen, as thin and at times transparent. To them all was sacred and God was found in the mundane of daily life.

The book by Mirabai Starr, oh where do I begin! Everything about this book is amazing! I discovered Mirabai through a symposium on mysticism and fell in love with her energy, teaching, and just her very essence. I savored this book and took my time reading and rereading sections. I found myself referring to her and quoting her again and again in my current PhD course. Here is one quote that I now keep on my desk,

“Ever since you first tasted the elixir of nobodyness, in the midst of meditating or grieving, you have lost your hunger for sombodyness. Mainstream culture conditioned you to construct a persona and defend it with all your might. The endless self-improvement project, fueled by self-loathing and foiled by the realities of the human condition, has only reinforced the illusion that you are separate from your Source. But a combination of spiritual practice and tragic losses ended that game. You, for one, are relieved to surrender” (p. 61).

How I love this. So much is said in that one small paragraph that leads to deep inner healing and a breaking through as we surrender and shed the expectations of the material world we live in.

I also purchased some new books. This is an author that is new to me but her name kept coming up as I was deepening my spiritual journey. I have not yet started either book, but The Enchanted Life is next on my list.

Christine is another author that has been transformative in my spiritual growth. I chanced upon one of her books in one of the little libraries that dot our community. Oh My Goodness! If you want to engage in a personal retreat Christine offers a deeply rich and meaningful series of steps to deepening your spirituality and walk with God. An example of one such practice is her walking in prayfulness. She has taught me to fully utilize my daily walks as a means to deepen my own communication with God and seek the beauty that not only surrounds me, but dwells within. She breaks her books into weeks and offers exercises and practices for each week to fully engage in a closer walk with God. She also practices in the Celtic tradition. This is her newest book only just released. I am saving it to begin my next journey with her guidance in April.

The days they just slip by don’t they? I keep busy with my knitting, playing in the sewing room, reading, doing puzzles, and getting out for my daily walk. Add a bit of watching my favorite YouTube channels and British mysteries, and this retirement life is just the thing indeed. Soon the pandemic will be behind us and I will be on my way to visit all my children and grands. Oh how I await that day! I still have not had my vaccine as the list does not include me yet, but fingers crossed before mid April I will have that shot in the arm and a new life awaiting! Oh how the sunshine and beginning of spring brings such a renewed feeling of hope and wonderment!

Happy Spring!

Patricia

Away so long

Well it has been some time since I last blogged. Time just seemed to get away from me and I did have a bit of pandemic fatigue as I am sure you have or are experiencing as well. The fatigue that just makes you want to take to bed and hibernate it away. But must needs we have to carry on with the business and busyness of living. For me that is a great deal of the mundane and simple. Being alone with family all at such distance and now retired, my days are simple and slow. I do like slow sweet simple days however. But I do miss my children and grands dearly!

I have also been struggling with family health matters. My big brother was just put into hospice care. I shared some time back about the gene that 3 of my siblings have that causes amyloidosis, his was the worst case and is coming to its end. I did take a trip over to see him in spite of the Covid dragon blowing fire all about. I am so glad I did. There is so much that could be said about this, but the words just escape me as my heart feels the feelings.

My days are rather routine. I have my sweet rituals that add meaning; morning prayers, daily meditation, and lovely long walks. The doggies and I are now up to 3.5 to 3.7 miles daily. I remember back to the days when we were lucky to get in 2. I set a goal of 60 miles a month and blew past it in January. It is a bit more of a challenge to walk in the suburbs as the same ole same ole streets can get a bit tiring. Luckily we have so many open green spaces here. Those are my daily soul medicine as I need nature to thrive! However the rain can often turn them into bogs and I ended up slogging home one day after wandering into a boggy area and treading up to my ankles to get back out. That was a mess, but I had to laugh at myself for being so silly as to enter a boggy area after days of heavy rain.

I did chance upon a new organizer for 2021. An ad popped up on my IG for this lovely Dragontree planner. It was discounted 50% as the new year had passed. I debated about it for a week, but I just love a new journal and planner and finally took the bait. I am glad I did as I love it. It is nice and large and spiral bound. It is not a journal, but a planner. I enjoy filling it out daily as I plot and plan what I shall do at the end of this pandemic or when (if ever) I get a vaccine so I can resume travel. Isn’t the color of this planner just dreamy? I do love periwinkle!

I have since enjoyed exploring the Dragontree Apothecary site https://dragontreeapothecary.com It is a Portland based company and has a treasure trove of wonderful offerings. I have enjoyed a guided imagery offering and now use their Ayurveda Kapha oil blend. They offer an excellent video on full body self massage that is a perfect addition to my self care routine.

Do your communities have the facebook buy nothing groups? They are such a wonderful idea. I have been able to clear out so much stuff and find homes where it is needed or used through that group. I have also found things I need as well. When someone posted this set of books, I threw my name in and was the lucky recipient. What a fun old set of novels. They are the story of a young married couple and just easy pleasant reads, just what is needed right now. I love discovering a new author and book series, although these were written in the late 20s to 40s. Books of that era are always my favorites. I had to then pull my favorite Christopher Morley’s off the shelf and fall into the lovely stories of Parnassus on Wheels and The Haunted Bookstore. They were as delightful as the first time I read them! This was followed by one of my favorites, however more modern, The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher.

Other favorite activities have been jigsaw puzzles and knitting. I cast on another sweater for sweet little Mimi, a simple hooded cardigan. I am making it plenty big so it will fit her next fall. I finished up one of a pair of socks, I always have a pair of socks on the needles as I love the mindlessness of sock knitting, and I cast on a sampler baby blanket for the newest grand due in the summer. I am using an acrylic wool blend for the blanket as it needs to be easy care and washable. The cardigan is a pure wool and with proper care will last for generations.

As I like to watch a bit of TV while knitting, I look around for a new British series and fell upon Hattie Winthrop Detective. It is delightful. What is not to love about a woman of a certain age (my current age) determining to open up a detective agency and solving the most intriguing crimes across Britain. Delightful indeed! That and my favorite you tube channels give me a lot of enjoyable knitting time. I just marvel at the you tube variety. I have learned so much about so many things through watching these video blogs. I have my favorites who I never miss and chance upon new ones quite often.

One new thing I chanced upon in my you tube browsing is Miranda Esmonde-White and Essentrics workouts. Although this has been on PBS for years, I was never aware that it existed. Now it is my daily workout routine. I find that I do feel more fluid, less achy, and more flexible. It seems to be a mix of yoga, pilates, and dance. I was doing a simply daily kettlebell exercise, but I find this much more to my liking!

Today everything is thick with ice. Snow was the forecast, but we got freezing rain instead and the temperature at midday has still not risen above freezing. It is days like this that I am grateful to be retired and able to just cozy up at home with nowhere to go. So I am curled up in front of the fire, cuppa at hand, and knitting on my lap. This is indeed, as my grandma used to say, the life of Riley!

Stay warm and stay safe!

Patricia

Be Still My Heart

After my wonderful and so love filled visit with Becca and family, it was quite a let down that Erica had been exposed to Covid so that visit was cancelled. Imagine my delight when after a negative test and quarantine they arrived on my doorstep for a nice long visit! Oh how full was my heart! I have been so lonely for all girls and grands. I cannot even think of my loves tucked away in Ireland without crying. My heart hurts with missing them!

Oh to open my door to the whole bunch minus my Doodle who is busy at the Uni until break. We got busy and just moved furniture and made up 3 beds and had plenty of room to fit everyone! There was lots of game playing and puzzling! I was so wonderful to have the house overflowing with laughter and the busyness that a houseful of young ones can bring.

You never know what you will find in your pictures when you leave your phone with your silly grands!

Silly Lou! I just adore her sweet freckle face..lol.

All too soon Erica and grands were off back to their busy lives and my life returned to routine. But with both wonderful visits, I had many memories and the warm glow of love to keep my heart full.

With the house once again so quiet, I decided it was time to begin the sewing room purge. I have so much fabric and much I will never use. So I sorted through it and managed to empty one of the shelving units. I will destash all this fabric on IG after Christmas. I also decided I needed to move the cutting table. My reason for all this was to make more room for the next visit. If the cutting table could be folded during visits, it would open up a great amount of space. All that sorting and purging and I accomplished exactly what I set out to do. In the process of purging, I came across some yarn and decided to cast on a sweater rather than purge it. I also found this pattern for the cutest little hooded sweater. It has been knitting up so quickly and is a fun project.

I also cast on a pair of socks. I like to keep a pair of socks on the needles when I just need some mindless knitting. I like how these are turning out. I used some of my own hand dyed for the heel and will also use it on the toe.

Misha is healing quite well and we are able to return to daily walks (as rain allows), yet still not back to our usual 3 miles. I just love these walks as I find that I need daily doses of nature for my own wellbeing! On my last walk I took the time to focus on the little things.

The PNW is just filled with so many wonders and beauty. I love walking through the wild green tree filled areas. It makes my heart sing and fills my soul with wonder and joy.

Is everyone else enjoying the so sweet and sappy Christmas movies and all the wonderful Vlogmas videos on youtube? I just love when my favorites engage in vlogmas. I have been soaking up Voolenvine, Stitched with Mrs D., Hawthorne Cottage, Knitting Expat, and others here and there that catch my fancy. I get so much inspiration from the crafty/knitting vlogs! I admit tho that I just love all things Christmas. I have been engaging in a bit of baking and candy making….and eating too much of the results! I have been listening to Christmas music since October (Ok actually I listened to a bit in September) and the house is all aglow with twinkling lights. My advent wreath is up and my candles burning bright as I engage in the centuries old tradition of prayer and mindfulness of the reason for the season. The only change I would make to the holiday is to place it deeper in the dark long winter…perhaps mid January to break up the bleak dark days.

The advent gifts I did for the girls this year have been a huge hit! Every day they each open a small gift and it has been so fun to witness their joy and delight as they look forward to each days little token of love from home. It was quite a job to come up with 75 items and then wrap each one, but it was most certainly worth it. I am thinking next year I may do handmade items only such as ornament, socks, etc. Time will tell and I shall see…

The other day I got the sweetest happy mail! Louella always sends me the cutest handmade beauties! I have nearly an entire tree decorated with the little lovelies she has sent. I just love these. The stockings had treats for each of the doggies too! Just love happy mail!!

And now I must off and walk my sweet doggies. A small break in the rain means it is time to make the outdoor dash!

Sending Joy!

Patricia

Bring on the Holidays

Hubby managed to garner some vacation time and we took off to Nevada. Becca and family had already had Covid so the MD agreed it was safe to visit. Oh how glorious! I had not seen baby Mimi since she was born and she is now turning a year. Becca also bought a new home and I had an entire car full of decor I had collected for her new home. It was so wonderful to see them! While there we decorated her house for Christmas, put together numerous Christmas puzzles, and just reveled in the blessing of being together!

How full my heart was. Seeing them and just being. Their new home is beautiful and all the pieces I took fit in just perfect. How fun to help decorate her new beautiful space!

We had planned on heading to Cali next, but my daughter’s workplace had a Covid exposure so that was a heartbreak…. So home it was for us.

Since being stuck at home, I am joining the growing group of others who have decided to decorate for Christmas early and excessively. In this year where we are separated from family and dealing with the fallout of an insane self appointed king and stress of Covid’s rising numbers, I am all about finding happiness where I can. Christmas makes me happy; the music, the decor, the smells, all the twinkling lights… So I did a bit more decorating than I have in the past decade. I used to go all out when the girls were home, putting up 5 trees and hanging bulbs from the ceiling. But when they left home I sent many of the decorations with them and scaled back. But this year it is time once again to surround myself with all the Christmas cheer that the decor brings.

It began with this gorgeous 9 foot tree that Becca sent home with me. I generally get a live tree, but with putting up decor so early that was not an option. I love how this turned out and I was able to use all my decorations!

Although Thanksgiving is still one week away, it is heartening to be surrounded by the joy of Christmas cheer. I now plan on getting a bit of Christmas sewing completed. All my gifts have been bought, boxed, and shipped or delivered. When you have family on distant shores, timeliness is of the essence. This year I did do something a bit different. Last year when I was seeing all the various knitting podcasters opening the advent yarn clubs they had joined, I thought well why not create advent gifts for my girls. We are all far apart and cannot spend Christmas together, so what better way to send a daily holiday love note than with a small personalized gift to open daily? So all through the year I was picking up little items here and there and tucking them away. It was quite a trick to gather, make, find 75 items…but I managed. I am so very excited for them to begin to open them. Another tradition that I revived from my mom this year is the Christmas pillowcase. I managed to sew 19 pillowcases, one for each child. These I wrapped up to be opened December 1st and used throughout every Christmas holiday season. My mom did this when I was young. I had the most wonderful pillowcase made in a Christmas novelty print. I looked so forward to it coming out every December 1st to be put on my pillow until the season was over. I believe it was the reason I had such wonderful and fanciful dreams as a child.

Once home, routine was again established. The daily walks were much shorter as Misha is still on walking restrictions due to her stem cell procedure. But she is doing better than we could have ever hoped for. For those of you who had not been following me, Misha had a partial ACL tear and after much research we determined to try the stem cell procedure. Initially it was grueling as the procedure requires two back to back general anesthesia sessions followed by keeping her immobile for a week. She ended up with a nasty rash or infection and needed antibiotics and she quite a bit of pain initially. Once she started to feel better the challenge became a bit harder, but we have managed to keep her from jumping and running. I put my bed on the floor so she can still sleep with me of course…… She was finally able to begin short walks just before we left for vacation. We are finally up to a mile walk this week. She does get 2x weekly hydrotherapy and laser therapy treatments as well. She was so darn excited when she was allowed to go outside for a walk, even if is was a short one! I just love that sweet frosty face!!

How I love the PNW and my daily dips into nature are critical to my overall wellbeing so I was delighted to get back out again with the doggies!! A practice I have added to my self care and spiritual growth tool box is walking the rounds. This is a Celtic practice that states “to walk sunwise (clockwise) means to walk in harmony with cosmic forces. The number of rounds varies, but generally you would walk either a single round, the sacred number of three rounds, or a full seven or twelve rounds, also holy numbers.” This is from Christine Valters Paintner’s book The Soul’s Slow Ripening: 12 Celtic Practices for Seeking the Sacred. Christine has a number of books available and I cannot recommend them highly enough!! I live near a beautiful green space surrounded by a flowing brook and a path that circles around this incredible beauty. Here is where I walk my rounds and focus on gratitude, offer prayers, soak up the beauty, or whatever my soul needs that particular day. In adding these daily practices, I feel a serenity that has long escaped me. I feel the blessing more readily flow as I am open, listening, and ready to accept my destiny, my lessons, my journey. In this troubling time this is priceless!

Although I am living in a suburban area, I still find snippets of nature here and there. Places of peace where one can restore the soul.

I am thoroughly enjoying my PhD studies this term. The current course I am engaged in is on guided imagery. This program has been transformative to my own personal growth; spiritually, emotionally, and physically. But then it is a mind body program so if it did not create some major upheavals and improved overall wellbeing it would be for naught wouldn’t it?! I believe that we get out whatever we put in so often to be true. I have been engaged in a deep spiritual journey over the past several months and soaking up so much learning as I grow deeper into understanding my own spiritual gifts and purpose. I have enjoyed and benefitted greatly from adding daily mediation and imagery practices, along with essential daily dips into nature.

And now dear friends, I must off and work on research for my current course. Some of my greatest moments of learning come from the research writing, but it is never fun nor is it easy!

Blessing!

Patricia

Hello Again..

Gosh it has been forever since I have sat down and written a blog. Oh so much has gone on since I last wrote. Let’s start with the fires. My beautiful Oregon joined the ranks of California and was burning vast acreage. We had fires all up and down the valley area and quite close to my community. So many lost their homes, but by the grace of God, very few lives were lost. We were smoked in for two weeks with hazardous air quality which meant we had to stay indoors with the house all closed up. It was a long two weeks. I have never experienced the impact of smoke and fires that close. The first day it was actually dark all day long, like night time dark, but with a red glow casts over all. It was so eery and unsettling… These photos were at 1pm. It was hard to capture the true darkness as my camera wanted to add light to all the pics, but it was like looking outside after dark…just so unsettling.

Thankfully the cooler weather and heavy rains moved in after a long long 2 weeks, and the fires were able to be contained. The main road over the mountain is still closed and will possibly remain so for some times as they still battle the fire and clear up the messes. I am ever so grateful for those who battle these fires! It was heartwarming to see our entire community come together. Since we were considered safe from fires, as we are surrounded by open areas, our fairgrounds became the Red Cross center and shelter for those who had to evacuate. So many people offered to go get livestock and keep them, so many offered food, necessities, clothing, shelter. It was so heartwarming especially in these times of so much hatred and division!

During the fires, the residential conference for my PhD program took place. It was virtual this year, so I was not quite sure what to expect. There were so many wonderful sessions being offered and I was able to have 5 glorious days of intense yet so uplifting, educational, and transformative engaged learning. I was so saddened to see it end. I wasn’t sure how the zoom sessions would work, but they were amazing and we even broke out into small groups with the technology. I always come away from that time of engaging with peers feeling so empowered and uplifted and this time was no different. I know I say it all the time, but I love this Mind Body Medicine program at Saybrook. It has been one of the best gifts I have ever given myself! It has honestly been transformative and brought such positive into my own life in so many ways!

With the cooler weather, the walks have been glorious! Nothing can compare to a PNW fall! I just love being out early in the morning before most of the neighborhood has awakened. There is a softness to the silence and the air is still heavy with the evening chill. I knew I needed to cherish these walks as soon my sweet Misha would be going in for stem cell procedure for her torn ACL which would mean weeks of inactivity.

Just look at that sweet frosty face. She is such a sweet girl and has my heart.

The day came and we scheduled our sweet little girl for her stem cell procedure. I had read very positive things about the procedure so felt it was the best choice. Poor little thing sure didn’t do well with the anesthetic and I spent two night sleeping on the floor next to her. But she finally came right round and started being herself once again. She is 1.5 weeks out and can only go out to potty. Her movement will be severely restricted for the first 4 weeks and restricted for 12. So far it is working out ok but she is sure wanting to play! My sweet little frosty faced girl I cannot wait til we can take walks again and she can run and play!

I have to admit that by mid September I got out the Halloween decorations and went to town with decorating. I figured what the heck why not. With the pandemic and the inability to see my darling grands and my girls, I need to do what brings me joy and so out came the decor. While going through the boxes I also sent off two boxes of decor to Ireland so that Christina and kids would have a bit of Halloween joy. When they moved they left most all their decor with me, so I am slowly getting it sent over to them bit by bit. Yes it is expensive to ship overseas, but it is priceless as the joy it brings!

I put out a few more things here and there and it is all quite festive! I adore the colors of Autumn and Halloween Decor!

I did a bit of thrifting the other day and found this set of beautiful Franciscan china for $8! I loved the soft lavender and decided to use these for myself as every day dinnerware. There is place setting for 8. I could not believe the price! But then no one wants china anymore so it is generally quite inexpensive.

Here is another little thrifty find that I just completed painting and distressing. It was an awful dark brown. I needed a bit more space for books as my library is expanding once again. I like to keep the books I am currently reading or using in my studies close by, and this is just the perfect little cabinet to do just that!

Where a great amount of my energy has been going is into continually purging, rearranging, and opening up more space for a cleaner look. First I painted all the furniture ivory, then I took two pieces out of the sectional so that I could have the windows open. I added curtains, sheers as the PNW is by nature darker so I need all the light I can get. I did have to bring the dog kennel back out for at least 4 -6 weeks while my little girl heals her leg. I am please with the progress so far of this area of the house!

I also have done more in my front room and dining area. I move my large hutch to a different wall and made a wall gallery of all the beautiful handiwork pieces I have made or collected. But that room is currently holding all the items I am taking to NV and CA so it is rather a mess so no photos at this time. My little home is just the right size for the two of us and I am happy with it as humble as it may be. I enjoy finding ways to repurpose what I have or find wonderful thrifted items. I find that less is becoming more and I prefer to fill my house with items of meaning in place of new mass produced disposable junk that seems to be the trend. No hobby lobby or dollar store for me!

Which brings me to a bit of a ponder that has been on my mind. I do like to keep this blog positive, but sometimes I feel the need to just share a thought or opinion. I love IG and I follow so many posts and I am hooked on YouTube and the wonderful marvelous channels of Fairyland Cottage, Bayoona, Hopalong Hollow, White Cottage Company, Daughter of Old, Stitched by Mrs D, The Elliot Homestead, Bealtaine Cottage, The Cottage Fairy, and of course Voolenvine which was the first YouTube channel I discovered and sent me down this rabbit hole. I think I listed my favorites, but I may have forgotten some. I use YouTube for meditating and for music, as well. I am drawn to the whole simple living movement and living a life of contentment while using less and living more mindfully. I love the beautiful images that so many of these wonderful young women capture on camera to bring joy and peace into my own home. Not long ago I discovered all the home decor accounts and stories on IG. While I enjoy seeing all these beautiful homes, I got tired of the constant pushing of merchandise by these people while preaching about Christ on the other. I found it extremely artificial and commercial. I get that is the basis for capitalism, but I just have always struggled with a marriage of capitalism and Christ. The two do not mix, they just absolutely do not. So I appreciate the accounts that are tools for teaching and sharing the beauty of life and nature. I appreciate those who have written books to share their talents and knowledge. But I do not care to have every single story be Jesus and swipe up to buy this gadget. And that dears is my little rant for what it’s worth…lol…

I do believe we are all taking a closer look at our homes as the pandemic has caused so many of us to be home a great deal more. Being that I am an introvert and have been a huge homebody my entire life and one with so many hobbies and crafts that I could never complete them in one lifetime, the adjustment was not hard. Missing my girls and grands has been hard! But I realize how blessed I am in all that I have when so many have so little at this time. I believe that it really is about living a life of gratitude, but it took me decades to get to the point I am now at. We all have our own journeys to travel (why although it irritates me the accounts I ranted about above, I realize they are also on their journey and learning and growing). And with that I will close this as I must off to complete my current school assignment.

Be kind and gentle to yourself and others, stay safe, and savor each day!

Patricia