ItF: Unit 1a

How do I see? Hear? Touch? Taste? Smell? Can I change the way I approach the world through my senses? Can I catch a glimpse of something else? Might I be surprised by inspiration?

I began wearing contacts at age 18 and wore them exclusively until 12 months ago. There used to be a clarity to vision that I took for granted. After a major relapse of my auto-immune disease I was no longer able to wear them for long periods of time — more like for a few hours at time. At the time, it seemed like the worst thing in the world. How would I see? How would I get around? How would I cope to wearing glasses and having multiple prescriptions for various purposes (which is not the same as bifocals or trifocals)?

Then about six months ago, I just quit wearing them due to dry eyes. I switched to just my glasses and occasionally not wearing any corrective lenses at all.  I am learning to lean into the fuzziness at the edges and appreciate the crispness of vision in my “good range.” I’ve noticed a gentleness as I switch between various lenses and uncorrected vision. I am seeing more while actually seeing less. I notice little things and I appreciate small pops of color.

I’ve even noticed a shift in my favorite colors. I used to prefer greens and browns, Now, I want red, blue, and purple. Although not together, land sakes NO! I even bought a bright red winter coat! It has been a great surprise, but I love it. I love that I can see it. I love the way it feels like a ray of brightness in an otherwise gray world.

 

 

BookNotes: Educated

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I have a new reading plan for 2019: 2 fiction (1 read, 1 audiobook), 1 non-fiction (educational), and 1 memoir (or biography) all going at the same time.

  • Cluster 1 consisted of Artemis Fowl (fiction, on audiobook) and Kingdom of the Blind (fiction), New Celtic Monasticism (educational), and Finding Saint David of Wales (biography).
  • Cluster 2 was just completed with Circe (fiction, audiobook) and Cherringham (fiction), The Celtic Way of Praying (educational), and Educated (memoir).

I can’t say I enjoyed this book and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t written for us to enjoy. It did cause me to do a lot of thinking about fundamentalism (in all its various shapes and sizes) and how very vital education is both for children and even for adults.

My own life experience teaches me that the more I learn, the more I grow and change, and the more I grow and change the more I love those around me, the more I see things from their perspective, and the more capable I am of avoiding judgment and simply loving.

ItF: assignment 1

Why did you choose this course? What do you hope to gain?
I chose to participate in the ItF course because I wanted to examine my life and make sure all the parts are working harmoniously as I approach the second half of my life. At 52, it is likely that I have fewer years ahead of me than behind, and I want these years to be filled with grace, kindness, and goodness. I feel like the many parts and paths of my life have converged to bring me to this place. I am at peace.
I am a wife, a home keeper, a farm manager, the primary support mechanism for our adult son with autism, a mother to a grown daughter, and the devoted servant of our pup. I am also living with a chronic auto-immune disorder that, when not in remission, causes inflammation, pain, fatigue, and diminished kidney function. It has taken a large percentage of my eyesight and I have been unable to drive for a 18 months. Yet, I still live a life that is very connected to the earth and the land upon which we are planted.
I spent some time learning the Enneagram. I am a 5w4, the iconoclast. This study has given me tools for understanding myself and my childhood. Growing up I learned the “valuable” lesson that to be invisible is the safest option. My way of becoming invisible was to take a book, climb a tree, and flee away on the wings of imagination. I have learned to be present, and not fear the confrontation (yet, not necessarily to seek it out). I tend toward minimalism and simplicity when healthy and toward hoarding and storing up when slipping into the dark places.
I believe choosing to live life by the three principles of simplicity, purity and obedience will help keep the rhythm of my days, years, and life focused on faith. It gives a stability to my routines and helps me accomplish all the things that need doing. The ten way marks give me guidance and a structure on which to hang my Way of Life.
And still . . . my favorite way to recharge and process is to take a book, sit under a tree, and fly away on the wings of imagination. Although now, it is not to become invisible but find new worlds, new thoughts, and new joys.  It is the difference between fleeing and flying.

pour over coffee

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I have found a new (to me) way of making coffee that is so easy and tastes so good. It was born of desperation. I have used a French coffee press for many years when I wanted a cup, but in December I broke mine. It went tumbling off the counter along with my newly ground beans, and 12 oz of nearly boiling water. It was such a mess.

My daughter kept a pour over carafe in the cabinet. She bought it shortly after beginning to work in coffee shop, but for the most part it just sat in the cabinet — unused. I can’t tell you how close I had come to popping it into the Goodwill bag, but I never did because it wasn’t mine.

So after the cleaning up the disaster of my broken press, I still wanted a cup of coffee. It was just one of those cold, overcast, grey December days where you just want what you want. A quick google told me to very roughly grind 1 TBSN of beans for each cup of coffee.

The grinder came back out, the beans came back out, and I got more water going in the kettle.

Beans in the basket.

Pour the water over.

And coffee! Wait, what?! No waiting? No plunging? Just grind, boil, pour, and sip?

Yes, it was really that simple. I find the coffee very smooth, light, and not as bitter.

My favorite way to sip is 8 oz coffee, 2 oz macadamia nut milk, and 1 squirt of flavored liquid stevia.

 

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What I’m reading:  The Celtic Way of Prayer, Cherringham 16-18, Educated

What I’m listening to:  Circe, Welsh

What I’m watching:  

What I’m learning: Igniting the Flame, Welsh, Permaculture

What I’m thinking about:  Paper #1 part 1 is written, edited, and ready to be turned into  my mentor. Paper #1 part 2 is outlined and rough form is copied into the outline. Now to get the ideas to flow, the words to be correct, and then edited.

30 Days of Yoga

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This January my sisters and I did the 30 day yoga challenge by Yoga with Adrienne. The theme this year was dedicate. Of all the yoga challenges I’ve done this one was my favorite.

The program was really well designed and Adrienne is a joy to watch and follow. She is quirky, cute, and really knows what she’s doing. In the past month, I lost 2 pounds (and the only change was doing this program every single morning) , some lower back aches have resolved themselves, and that pesky problem shoulder has a lot more range of motion. Unfortunately, not much can be done about my hands, but I’ve learned to modify poses when I need to.

On top of all that goodness was the sheer fun of chatting via text with my sisters each evening as we checked in with each other. I loved being part of their evenings and talking yoga and dogs.

Now that it is February, it is time for some new habit tracking. I’ve chosen:

  • 28 days of yoga
  • 24 days of walking
  • 8 days of strength training (and I’m doing Kettlebell Swings)
  • continuing Welsh practice (bring section 2 levels up to 5, SSiW #6 and #7, and listening practice #1 each day.
  • 24 days of writing — something, anything, for my class, for this blog, just on paper, whatever, but 6 days a week.
  • 2 retreat days (after my Spiritual Companion Group, I’ll walk, and get lunch and then sit and read or think, but not work, until Hannah picks me up.
  • read 2 fiction books and 2 non-fiction books

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What I’m reading:  The Celtic Way of Prayer, Cherringham 16-18, Educated

What I’m listening to:  Circe, Welsh

What I’m watching:  

What I’m learning: Igniting the Flame, Welsh, Permaculture

What I’m thinking about:  My first (big) paper is due next month. I have an outline and thoughts jotted down. I just need to winnow them until the paper comes into shape. Then I need to do the serious writing and editing.

safety razor

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Why did I wait so long to make this switch? I suppose I was afraid of great quantities of spilled blood, massive scrapes (and scars) along my shin bone, and scads of tissue paper stuck to my body.

In actual fact, the switch has been painless. My husband dropped his and bent it all to pieces (after 5 years) and so I was on-line buying him a new one. I decided to just go ahead and add a second one to the cart and here we are.

What I like: super cheap blades, smooth cut, easy handle to hold, easy to clean, (I’m assuming) easy to replace the blade, and much less plastic attached to hair removal.

What I don’t like: I actually have to remember to take it in the shower with me. It does not work for a quick leg on the counter type shave. That’s ok. It is encouraging me to be more deliberate about the matter. I’m learning the fine art of slowing down little by little.

 

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What I’m reading:  The Celtic Way of Prayer, Cherringham 16-18, Educated

What I’m listening to:  Circe, Welsh by native speakers on BBC Cymru

What I’m watching:  The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (1 and 2)

What I’m learning: Igniting the Flame, Welsh, Permaculture

What I’m thinking about:  February habit and goal tracker. I want to add some strength training (maybe Kettlebell swings)

a quiet time

I kept thinking to myself, “I’ve really got to sit down and write a blog post.” Yet, there didn’t seem to be anything to say. Well, that’s not entirely true. . . I had a lot of words about a lot of things. It was the “really got to” that finally got through to me. I needed a bit of quiet time. I needed time to sort through my own rumblings so I could really hear what was going on in my head.  (Hello, any Enneagram 5s out there?)

So I took the time between Christmas and today to just sit with my thoughts and feelings. And today, I wanted to sit down with the blog and do a little writing. Sometimes I lose sight of my goal for this blog. What is the goal, you might ask.  And I’ll tell you. The goal of this blog is for me to tell my story, in my words, in my way without wondering or worrying who might or might not read the words.

That is liberating!

 

I don’t really do New Year’s resolutions or word of the year. It is just not me. What I do is set monthly habit goals and goals. I can do anything for 30 days.  I always start the year with a 30 day yoga challenge. It gets me on my mat during a month when I would really rather just curl up and sit by the fire for hours and hours. Usually yoga is the only exercise I get during January — and I am ok with that. More than ok with that, I think for my body, my life, and my goals that is the best way to be in January.

This year I also set a habit goal of practicing my Welsh every single day. I’ve been doing it already, but that same desire to sit by the fire needed a bit of a kick in this direction too. I love learning Welsh. I probably haven’t enjoyed learning anything as much as I am enjoying this. I delight in it, it brings joy even while stretching brain cells and forging new connections in my grey matter.

I had a bit of family drama and that took a real toll on me this year. My auto-immune disorder was already flaring a little bit and the interactions with this person caused a full-on flare. This happened via text on Christmas Eve. So I’ve come to the place where I realize she will never accept responsibility for causing hurt and I cannot do a thing about it. The best course of action is to limit our interactions and make sure that any interactions with my (adult) kids are acceptable to them.  They have to decide their own level of relationship with her.  It was easier when they were little — see this post for my solution to this very same stress.

This year there is no imminent move to Europe, not even an imminent visit, sigh, so I’m practicing yoga, practicing Welsh . . . and writing.

It is good to be back home. Here, telling my story, my way, and living a good, small, simple life.

 

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What I’m reading:  The Celtic Way of Prayer, Cherringham 13-15

What I’m listening to: Circe 

What I’m watching:  Snow, ice, rain, puddles in the yard.

What I’m learning: yoga, Welsh, Igniting the Flame class, Permaculture 

What I’m thinking about:  Enneagram, knitting, how much longer until seed planting. . . 

There’s a lesson . . .

There is a lesson here in hope and patience.

Jasper needs to lose weight so we’ve cut down the amount of human food treats he gets.

These photos were taken ten minutes apart as he stared at the napkin I had used at lunch. He hoped it would fall. He waited patiently for it to fall.  When it was clear nothing was coming his way, he jumped up on the couch and snuggled instead.

Poor boy.

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