Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Question, and Some Photos

I used to tease my niece Sarah. She took photo after photo, but left them languishing on her camera. Really, her camera was like the photo books that grandparents used to carry - she'd pull it out of her purse to show you her snapshots.

Now she's a mom, and a blogger, and those pictures of her little guy go straight from the camera to her blog and to all the doting relatives. Nothing like an adorable toddler to provide motivation!

I have no adorable toddler; I have to rely on a fairly cute beagle for motivation. Today I realized I had several weeks of photos on my camera (shades of Sarah), so I'll share just a few.

But first - a question. I've recently attended a bridal shower, and a wedding reception, where we were asked to write down advice for the new couple.

What advice would you give? (I'm still thinking....)

Now, some pictures....

Bonnie, the sleeping, smiling beagle

Last year's poppies magically appeared in
one of our flower pots

This tree has several trunks branching out
from this base, where flowers
have taken root

A clearing in the Friendship Village Woods

Monday, April 16, 2012

Fifteen Minutes of ... Shredding?

On Saturday, Bonnie and I saw a vine growing alongside a tree:

Then we saw another similar vine; it had made quite an impression on its host tree!

As I thought about the dramatic effect of that small vine, of course I remembered all the cautionary tales about bad habits and how Satan will lead us with a "flaxen cord" (see 2 Nephi 26:22).

But I thought of the other perspective as well: "by small and simple things are great things brought to pass" (see Alma 37:6).

I have a tendency to put things off, because "I don't have time for that." A prime example of this is the disaster that is my office. Christmas and birthday yarn piled on top of boxes, bags of leftover yarn from finished projects, boxes full of papers that need to be shredded, papers to keep sorted in piles on the floor, stacks of books.... Yikes!

I once read about FlyLady's approach to organization in the home. One of her suggestions was to spend 15 minutes a day on a task. (This is based on my memory - I didn't go find the information again - so I may be totally wrong on what she said. But this is what I internalized.) Fifteen minutes is a small chunk of time, so it's not overwhelming - and yet you can accomplish something in that time, and those fifteen minute accomplishments do add up. (Just as saving small bits of money, over the years, will add up.)

That's the theory, anyway.

I'm going to try this approach with my office. This weekend, I tackled the yarn. I confess, I did overrun the 15-minute limit; there's something comforting (and addictive) about yarn.

BTW, having yarn lying around is hazardous, and handling it is even worse. Overcome by yarn fumes, I cast on for two new projects, even though the three already in the works are nowhere near completion. Oops.

I'm using two colors of Kauni yarn for this scarf. One is charcoal; the other is red, but not a solid red - it should shift through different shades as I knit more:

I also cast on for a baby blanket, but so far it is mostly in the skein stage. I'll post a picture when I've made some progress (though, with five WIPs, that may not be soon).

And now I'm off for fifteen minutes of fame shredding.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Every Spring is the Only Spring

Today Bonnie and I had a most enjoyable walk. The weather was Michigan Spring: sunny, temps in the sixties, blue sky, and spring green everywhere else. As we walked, I listened to the Knitting Pipeline podcast, and Paula shared this thought from Ellis Peters:
Every spring is the only spring, a perpetual astonishment!
That is certainly how I feel. Every year, when spring arrives, it is new and wonderful. Once again, I am amazed, and happily savor it all.

Here are some photos of today's little astonishments.

Actually, I took this photo earlier this week...

I love the pink hue to these seeds

This volunteer showed up near our fence

Such a beautiful sky today

Look at the light filtered
through the petals!

Pretty in Purple

Pretty in Pink

An unusual shape to these petals

Of course, I always have room for a beagle photo...

Bonnie helping me work this morning...

Friday, April 6, 2012

It Gets Better

I watched a video on YouTube this evening, It Gets Better at Brigham Young University.

I was awed by their courage and frankness, and moved to tears. The video was produced by USGA (Understanding Same-Gender Attraction), which is described as "an unofficial group of Brigham Young University students, faculty, and friends who wish to strengthen families and the BYU community by providing a place for open, respectful discussions on the topic of same-gender attraction."

The video is directed toward teens who are struggling with their own sexuality, and trying to figure out where - or if - they have a place. The young men and women assert that they can accept themselves; they've learned that God accepts (and loves!) them; and they've discovered others who accept them. They've found that there is a space for them in this world. They assert that "it does get better."

It really is beautiful and touching.

My job? Be part of that safe space.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Conference Weekend in Our House

We started our weekend on Friday, with a trip to Chicago. We visited with Dave (my brother) & Joyce, and David Phillip (my nephew) & Cassie, & their charming daughter:

Sorry this is a tad blurry...

Dave was working, so the rest of us drove up to Hyde Park and met him for lunch at Piccolo Mondo. We enjoyed eating and talking (once we finally managed to park our several cars). Had dessert back at Dave & Joyce's place, then bid all adieu and headed home (after kisses from the young miss!).

My friend gave me a lovely plant, to celebrate my birthday:

I do love daffodils!

We have friends whose 17-month-old grandson has an aggressive and rare form of cancer. (You can read about Emmett here.) Emmett's family wants to string together 1000 origami cranes for him, so we folded some while watching General Conference:

There was some knitting during General Conference:

There was also some sleeping during General Conference:

Jim & I celebrated my birthday today. Jim is always generous, and his gifts typically include jewelry (e.g. the gorgeous earrings he gave me) and yarn (several yummy new yarns to add to my stash). He also gave me David Bednar's book, Increase in Learning, which promises to be a good read.

Best of all was the opportunity to relax and enjoy General Conference. I am really grateful to be able to sit at home and watch all sessions. (I confess that attending at church was always problematic for me; most people prefer to dim the lights - supposedly it's easier to view the screen that way - but I tended to fall asleep....!) My favorite talk was Elder Hallstrom's, The Gospel and the Church. I appreciated the way he articulated the difference between being active in church and being active in the gospel - and I see ways I can improve the latter, in my life.

I have a list of other talks that I'm eager to review, where something was said that particularly caught my ear, or my heart. I look forward to studying them, as suggested in this recent Ensign article.

A small miracle occurred in between sessions on Saturday. I'd been sick all week with a cold - starting with a sore throat last Sunday, moving into hoarseness and then no voice at all, completely with stuffy head and coughing and general yuckiness. We considered cancelling our trip to Chicago, but went ahead with it (I just tried not to breathe on anyone). After the first session yesterday, I took a nap, and when I woke - I felt better! I still had the cold, but I had turned a corner, and no longer felt like death warmed over. So nice!!!

Here is one more beagle picture (because a blog can't have too many beagle pictures):

Begging for sausage