autumn days

Monday, December 9, 2013

Intention & Appreciation

My mind and body have been much happier over the last several months.  In wanting to share the joy and appreciation with you, I'd like to give you some details of my daily practices.  Please know I am sharing these because they work for me, not because I expect you to try any.  These ideas are here for you to think about and perhaps create sacred time in your day to connect and energize.  Here are my details.

I have been spending much of my time and energy with intentions.  Each morning I intentionally appreciate my life and my ancestors and ask to raise my vibrational frequencies in a variety of ways.

This is a little of what it sounds like. 

"Oh, God, I love my life!  My name is Jenn Smith Beagley Jensdatter Bensdatter Haworth Allen Warr Wayman (add as many as desired) Merfee-t.  I appreciate my mother's mother's ancestors all the way back to the beginning and all the way back to the stars."  Repeat for other ancestors.  I ask for my body to be fully energized and for great physical healing, mental clarity, and emotional stability.  I sing songs that make me happy, songs like "Exactly" by Amy Steinberg, "In This Circle" by Anne-Louise Sterry, and "Peace Like a River" by Elizabeth Mitchell

I have a clear list of what needs to be accomplished in a day and let the rest slide.  I spend a minimum amount of time on the computer, again with clear intentions most of the time.  When I pop myself on Facebook, I start most of my personal posts with "I appreciate..." followed by some small moment in my life.  If I am going to say something, I intend for my words to comfort and inspire those in my circle.  I honestly don't keep up with what my friends are doing, yet just check to see if they've sent me a message, and then log out. 

My children and I spend our time showing our love for our friends and family, serving meals at a church, going to meditation classes, heading outside for a nature hike, writing love letters, reading and learning together, blessing our meals, and appreciating the details in the moments we share.

These are little things that have helped me to maintain my energy and to appreciate the details in my life.  And all these efforts are completely worth it when my son sits down to fresh strawberries and says over and over, "Oh, God, I love my life!"

Quilts for My Three Year Olds

When my daughter was turning three and excitedly awaiting her little brother's arrival, in my nesting phase (Oh, I adore nesting!) I crafted a two-sided beautiful quilt for her.  She picked out her own colors (pink, yellow, blue, green) and fabrics (stars, fish, cupcake cotton) and helped in organizing the squares.  With Hannah's helping hands, Grandma's gift of fabrics from her own quilting stash, skills learned from my mother and a student's mother, and Great Grandma's gift of an antique Singer sewing machine when I was 11 years old, Hannah's quilt was a family project.

Now that my son is almost three, we are again working as a team to make a quilt.  My two energetic children picked colors (blue, green, orange), fabrics (pumpkins, mushrooms, and snakes), arranged, arranged again, played with the squares, and are now helping with small details as I sew squares and strips and sides together.  My children and I are all learning about patience, patience, and more patience as we slowly meander our way through the squares.  I appreciate that my dear old sewing machine has had its first major tune up in 30 years (or ever) and is happy to hum along on this project.  This quilt, much like the first, will be completed shortly after the third birthday, though this family project is a gift we are giving each other step-by-step.  Hannah has mentioned the desire for another quilt, so this is just the beginning of our quilting journey together.

still in strips and patches and practicing patience (mostly with myself)

White Winter Appreciations

We have had our first snow, a short flurry of white on this very cold morning.  My children couldn't wait to get outside to collect all the snow they could find.  Being outside with my children is quite cold, yet it warms my heart to watch their joy and to reflect back to my own blissfully joyous school-free days building forts, snow people, and other projects with my brother.  I can still hardly sleep when we expect snow and I wake my children with my shouts of joy on white mornings.  My mother reminds me how much fun she had watching us play outside for hours without caring a bit about the cold.  We appreciate this cold white day. We also appreciate that we only have a month of freezing weather each year, instead of the very long hard winters of my dad's homeland of South Dakota or my grandmother's home in Utah.  My dad fondly says, "I'd choose rain over snow anytime.  You don't have to shovel rain."  On these days at home with my thrilled children, I cannot imagine wanting to be anywhere else.  Everything I need in this world is right here with me.

children's winter crafts

As the temperatures drop outside, we are having the time of our lives preparing endless crafty gifts in our warm cozy home.  In addition to canned apple pie filling and pears and applesauce, we have created colorful melted crayons, rice-filled hand warming bags, healing lip balm and salve, and are sharing herbs and recipes.  Most of these projects were created with things we have on hand (We openly welcome our friends' old things!) or at local library activities.  Here are photos of what is on our kitchen table at the moment.  Happy winter crafting!

This photo will go in a book with a copy of the Santa letter, as it does every year.

Another passionate Santa letter writer

I crafted this ceramic necklace for my mom at the local clay shop.

coloring old business magnets

magazine photos glued onto glass beads and magnets with E6000 glue

buttons to glue outside baby food jar as candle holder

dyed noodles for necklaces

colored snowflakes, some we watercolor ahead of time, double as masks

While awaiting the birth of my son, Hannah and I made 12 sets of the 12 Days of Christmas.  Here are two turtle doves.

Ten lords a-leaping cutouts

flower topped pens (with the help of a glue gun and floral tape)

simple bookmarks to decorate
An I-Spy bag made with an old swimming ring

It only took us 15 months to complete this project.