when INTENTION is all I have | May 2020

when INTENTION is all I have | May 2020

I am joining Honoré today and sharing my Little Word update for the month!

Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen Hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is. — Mary Anne Radmacher

I am positive that this was not the word I should have picked for 2020 because here we are closing out May, and my struggle with intention continues. This was absolutely not what I ever imagined when I settled in with a word for 2020 late last year.

Words like uncertainty, circumspect, and home-body seem like they might have been better word choices, but I am not a quitter – so onward with intention!

But Mary Anne Radmacher’s quote still beckons and this month Choose with no regret has become my daily mantra. And sometimes I was even successful!

  • All month long as areas began to “open up” I confidently elected to stay home.
  • We have a Primary Election next week so I applied for a mail in ballot… and sent it in.
  • I trimmed my hair.
  • I have not yet given myself a pedicure, but I have been using this delightful scrub regularly accompanied by a foot massage!
  • I wrote more, thought more, and read more.
  • I had long (and frequent) conversations with my kids…perhaps talking longer than we would in person!
  • I spent time knitting (of course) and practicing my meager crochet skills.
  • I wrote down little bits of gratitude every day, even when it was hard.
  • I also found myself back in the circle of grief, visiting stages I thought I was done with.

Choose with no regret was absolutely what I needed this month.

You can see my Intentional Journey here.

 

 

 

Friday Update, Photo Edition

Friday Update, Photo Edition

It’s been a quiet couple of weeks around here, at least until we went “Yellow” last Friday.

Yellow for my house looks a lot like Red. Unlike my neighbors, we are not racing out to dine in a restaurant, shop at the mall, or get our hair done. It will be interesting to see in the next few weeks if the cases in the county reflect the colossal stupidity I see happening all around me.

But enough with the rant, how about some distractions!

While I have been gone, I have been doing lots of thinking about this blog and how to make it feel fresh to me. Some ideas are percolating around, but nothing concrete yet. For the time being, I will continue stopping in here at least a couple days a week.

Yesterday, we had a swarm of special visitors (who were welcomed, admired, and applauded). This immense swarm of honey bees is festooning on our trimmed bushes waiting for the Bee Scouts to come back and direct them to the new location of their hive! Somewhere in that swarm is their Queen, who left her previous colony and took about half of her workers and set off to find a new place to live. In a week of absolute shit news, this swarm lifted my spirits. I did not know that swarming is evidence of a healthy bee colony…yep, they don’t swarm if they are sick! I wish you could see the size (and weight!!) of these bees – the size of the swarm is about 15″x10″ in size and they are weighing down the sturdy branches so much that they are resting on my neighbor’s chain link fence!

My iPhone does not quite do justice to the magnificence that these bees are!

As you can see above, sweater knitting is moving right along, I have divided for the sleeves and am now just mindlessly knitting body. I am hopeful to have this done by next Wednesday!

These past couple of weeks I have been mourning the loss of singing – specifically choir singing. The realization that there won’t be any choir, or singing in church (if and when ‘in-person’ worship resumes) makes me very weepy. Who ever thought that singing would spread germs faster…certainly not me. So I spent a good bit of time watching all the “separate but together” choirs on YouTube – and there are lots of them, but this one kind of sums of how I am feeling…

I also have been practicing with “the big camera” this week. However, the weather conditions were either too windy, too sunny, or today – too rainy!

Lamb’s Ear makes me smile

Even in the rain, they don’t let go of each other. There is a lesson here for all of us!

That is all I have for today. I will be back next week to share an update on my word next Tuesday with Honoré! Have a good weekend everyone!

 

Unraveled Wednesday | 5.20.20

Unraveled Wednesday | 5.20.20

I am still working through the last clue of the Larissa Brown’s mystery shawl. I have some blocking of the pieces to get done (and a pattern update on dimensions just dropped yesterday) so in the mean time I am being entirely distracted with a Linen Ranunculus. The photo above is an hour or so of knitting, so I think this sweater will knit up quickly! AND it will be the perfect summer sweater! (and yes, I am totally copying these sweater mods)

This yarn is just incredibly yummy!

I have really hit my reading stride this week! No bingo’s yet, but I should have my first one in the next day or two!

Dept. of SpeculationDept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I started this book and almost stopped reading it because I wasn’t sure I needed a rambling stream of conscious book right now. And then it clicked. Perfectly. Or rather, imperfectly.

Three things no one has ever said about me: You make it look so easy.

If you have spent any amount of time looking at your life wondering why everyone else’s life is perfect and yours is just, well, not. This is the book that will validate you and have you feeling good about it by the time you are finished. I wish I had read this book when I had three small children and contemplating divorce. I too was living in the Little Theater of Hurt Feelings as well, but I wish that I knew the name of if while I was there!

This could have been my Christmas Letter, had I ever made the effort to send one:
Dear Family and Friends, It is the year of the bugs. It is the year of the pig. It is the year of losing money. It is the year of getting sick. It is the year of no book. It is the year of no music. It is the year of turning 5 and 39 and 37. It is the year of Wrong Living. That is how we will remember it if it ever passes. With love and holiday wishes.

Now I am looking at all those Christmas Letters I got and wondering…

I highly recommend this brilliant little book.

The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the BlitzThe Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Early Quarantine Days Me just could not settle into this book at all. I would pick it up and read a page or two and zone out.

So I put it down and waited. And about the 10th of May, I picked it up and started again and it all just clicked this time… and I suddenly found myself needing to pace my reading to make it last!

This is a brilliantly written book about Churchill and the Blitz of London. I thought when I started the book the first time that I would end up disliking Churchill, but I can tell you that is absolutely not true, in fact – I might love him even more!

If you like history you will enjoy this book. If you love history, you will love settling into the days with Winston, and you will appreciate the insight, the conversations, and all the things that are not in history books.

The preface gives a hint at the splendor to come:

Although at times it may appear to be otherwise, this book is a work of nonfiction. Anything between quotation marks comes from some form of historical document, be it a diary, letter, memoir, or other artifact; any reference to a gesture, gaze, or smile, or any other facial reaction, comes from an account by one who witnessed it. If some of what follows challenges what you have come to believe about Churchill and this era, may I just say that history is a lively abode, full of surprises.

AMEN! If you read nothing else this year, but this book on your list! I highly recommend!

And that is all I have for this week! If you wrote a post to share, please leave your link below and thank you for joining us!


Unraveled Wednesday | 5.13.20

Unraveled Wednesday | 5.13.20

I finished Romi’s Mystery Shawl and I love it!! It is exactly what I wanted – it is lightweight and perfect for “indoor AC deep freezes” Haha. It is one color, and knit from some centuries old Knit Picks Shadow Lace yarn from my stash. I could not be happier and I loved every step of this shawl from the brilliant center start to the superbly stretchy (but not sloppy) bind off. Now I am wondering what might be my next Romi knit!! I have been eyeing Miss Bab’s new yarn and contemplating…

I think I finally found solace in my reading because my reads this week were so good! I filled 3 more bingo squares, but still no bingo’s… My squares this week: Comfort Read = Tartine Bread (because homemade bread is the ultimate comfort food, amirite?), Originally published in the 19th Century = Leaves of Grass, and Borrowed = Shadow Pass. I am on the wait list for the third book in the Inspector Pekkala series and eager to get it! (and next week, I get even more creative with my square and book pairing, haha)


Tartine BreadTartine Bread by Chad Robertson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What does one do when you are stuck in the Great Stay at Home Pandemic of 2020… why you try to grow a Sourdough Starter! (Key word…**try**).

This book came highly recommended by a friend, and so I got it and began reading. This is truly user friendly. It explains clearly what to do to get your starter going, how to maintain your starter, and then how to bake bread (and dozens of other things) using your starter. I have several Peter Reinhart baking books, but they seem complicated where as this book is truly streamlined and tested! (With test bakers that were not all bakers!!) If your goal is to bake sourdough bread, look no further! Get this book and get going!

I highly recommend!

Leaves of GrassLeaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had “read” this in high school and wrote a paper on When Lilac’s Last in the Dooryard Bloomed. Or should I say, I wrote a paper with the help of my maternal grandfather. The Lincoln poem was one he had memorized. When I read this a lifetime ago, I did not get it at all. But, now…

Wordy, geographical, questioning, wondering, amazing.

Whitman takes your hand and eases you into his world. I wonder what he would think of what this world has become. Through his eyes, I see new possibilities and with balanced longing for what was, and hope for what might be – I carry his words with me:

“Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you.
You must travel it by yourself.
It is not far. It is within reach.
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know.
Perhaps it is everywhere – on water and land.”

I highly recommend you take the journey.

Shadow Pass (Inspector Pekkala #2)Shadow Pass by Sam Eastland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Two of the Inspector Pekkala series did not disappoint. More character development happened in a very good way. More of Pekkala’s past was revealed and the start of seeing that Pekkala is not entirely enamored of Stalin’s Russia.

The writing is very good and I will continue with this series!


That is all I have for today (and this week!) What is making you happy in your making or reading this week? Please share!!

And if you wrote a post to share, please leave your link below and I will see you back here next Wednesday!


Macro Monday | 5.11.20

Macro Monday | 5.11.20

I would love to share a post with all the exciting “Motherly” things I did this weekend, but well… on weekend nine (ten?) of Stay At Home… not much was different. We had snow/rain on Saturday and it was not warm enough to be outdoors on Sunday.

I did have calls with my kids… that was nice, but it would have been so much nicer to physically *be with them* (and honestly, there were tears all around)

Hilariously, PA is “opening Allegheny County” this Friday. However, without mass testing and contact tracing, I am not going to be running out to “re-enter” whatever used to be normal life.

However, I do have a couple of macro photos to share. Despite this miserable freaking weather, my chives have started to bloom! I love these little purple pompoms! They are one of my favorite things of spring!

That is all I have for today, I will be back on Wednesday for some Unraveling to share with you all. (And, for the next couple of weeks, it will only be Wednesday posts. I am taking a bit of a “blog vacation” but!! Wednesday’s will remain “vacation free days!”)

I hope you all had moments this weekend that brought you joy, see you all back here on Wednesday!

 

TGIF | 5.8.20

TGIF | 5.8.20

This week, oh boy. It was so hard. So damned hard. And so full of just horrific news… each day seemed to be trying to outdo the day before. I struggled this week to find a single thing for my gratitude list, much less a list of them. But here we are at another Friday and I will try and share some things that were, for me, beacons of hope in a very dark week.

Tiny Treasures:

Sometimes all you need is a letter to brighten you day. This week there were some incredible letters that filled me with hope. First up, Emerson – a letter writing devotee. (it’s a long thread, but a very worthy read!)

Sometimes, just one letter is all it takes to make a difference. Dennis Ruhnke wrote a letter with a huge impact.

This week I am thankful that I live in the world with Emerson and Dennis (okay, and Kansas State as well!!)

Gather near and listen!

Something on my bucket list was to be in the gallery of the Supreme Court. This is one of those “gosh, I wish I could do that” things that my realistic mind knew would never happen. Enter the coronavirus, and with it the LIVE STREAMING of the Supreme Court! In my wildest dreams, I never imagined being able to hear Justice Ginsburg arguing for women’s rights LIVE, from her hospital bed. Yes, that is right – if you had doubts about her superwoman powers, doubt no longer! She might be small, but she is fiercely mighty! (Here is the LIVE STREAM link and here is the archived audio from Wednesday’s argument of Little Sisters of the Pour Saints Peter and Paul Home v. Pennsylvania)

Inspired Singing:

I don’t know about you, but when I am having a blue day – some music (that I can sing along with) helps. One thing I have loved is watching artists perfect together apart. This especially made me smile. And, a new word… CONFINATION.

Friday Birthdays Are The Best:

Finally, today is my Sam’s 28th birthday. He, thankfully, must work today. (that was not a guarantee earlier this week when he learned that his work was laying off 10% of the workforce) A solo birthday at home might not be the best thing ever – I sent off a care package and we will FaceTime later today where we will be together, apart.

That is all I have for this week; I hope your Friday is full of some shining moments that make your weekend glow with happiness! See you all back here next week!

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