Friday, October 22, 2010 Finding My Mind
May you be blessed by the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 115:15 (NIV)
I’ve left stress filled home and work behind and am now in the mountains again. Of course, I could not leave without making sure my house was clean top to bottom. That is something I always struggle with, but this time, it was even worse because the clean up included straightening a house looking like a tornado went through it after the termite treatment, completion of the paint job, and new carpets. Nothing like a little home improvement to make you lose your mind. But, I am in search of it now and think I will regain my sanity in the beauty of the fall scenery here in the Blue Ridge Mountains. After a very pleasant flight on Delta (not that cattle car airline I flew before), made even more pleasant by the fact that I travelled light and wore slip on shoes to ease through security, I am once again in the mountains with my friend, Vicki, and her friend (my new friend), Kristen for a weekend at the Southeastern Fiber Fair. I am learning as I age, it is all about choosing to do what makes you happy (within reason) and so instead of attending my thirty year college class reunion and sitting in a bar with people who I no longer recognize, I have come to wind my way through the North Carolina Agricultural Center looking at beautiful wool and having a wonderful time. Coming to Vicki’s is as close to heaven as I will probably get on this earth. Tonight, we felted wool to prepare for a class we will take tomorrow, then, filled up on Mexican food before coming home to watch for the momma bear and her two cubs who insist on using Vicki’s deck for their toilet. We are all really tired as they picked me up at the airport and we went straight to the Ag center for five hours of nonstop shopping. Even though we all kept complaining about how exhausted we were, like addicts out for the next fix, we kept plowing through the vendors in search of great bargains and unique finds. Being among all that wool was like walking in a rainbow. I couldn’t get over all the color! Every type of animal fiber, every color of dye, finished projects, kits and materials to keep a crafter busy for centuries. It was all so beautiful and maybe tomorrow, I will have a couple of finished projects to show you. After all, it wouldn’t be a visit with Vicki without an opportunity to mess with wool. We hope tomorrow to have time to see the animals including the sheep. Seeing all that wool today made me think of the Good Shepherd who knows just when I need to rest and restore my soul. I am a very blessed woman to have such good friends and opportunities as I do. Sometimes, in the midst of real life, I forget until I stop the treadmill and get off for a while.
Saturday, October 23, 2010 Expanding My Mind
Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. Philippians 4:8-9 (The Message)
I like to do things right the first time. So, when I try a new craft, there is almost always that moment or sometimes moments, when I want to throw up my hands and quit. As is typical, I reached that moment fairly early in our craft class today where we were learning how to make a book bound in felt. We arrived with beautifully felted pieces of wool ready to work this morning. Our teacher was eccentrically dressed with a fun spirit and humorous teaching method. I should have been happy but I wasn’t because she started off teaching us how to embroider. I had a flashback to second grade when I started a sampler to earn a needlework badge in girl scouts. I did just enough to get my badge and then, much to my grandmother’s chagrin, quit working on it. She could not stand it and finished it for me, all except one flower which she left undone. Just to show me I should have kept at it, I guess. Embroidery has never been my thing. I kept thinking, what does this have to do with making a book? But, I obediently went along with the instruction and we spent all morning embellishing our felt. I outlined a tree adding sequins shaped like leaves and little beads. It was not until after lunch that we actually stitched our books together. Then, I was frustrated to find that I cut my felt too short and the tree was no longer in the center of the cover, but awkwardly off to the side. That ruined the whole piece for me and I was ready to put it away, sure that I had wasted my whole day. After the class was over, we wandered around the arena one more time and a knitting vendor asked to see our books. I was embarrassed to show mine and explained before I handed it to her that I would be cutting down the pages to shorten the insides so that the tree could move over to the middle. A labor intensive and risky plan to say the least. The woman just looked at me and said, “How about you take some Zoloft before you try that? It is beautiful the way it is. You perfectionists make me crazy!” That made me laugh and I looked at my little book with a different eye and saw that indeed, it is beautiful! Before leaving the fiber fair, we went out to see the animals. The alpacas were fascinating as they made a soothing humming noise. When asked why they hum, one of the breeders said, “They hum when they are happy. They hum when they are scared. They hum when they don’t know the words.” It made me think about those times when I get frustrated because nothing seems to be going right. Like, the alpacas, I need to just keep humming. And think on the good things of life and not the negative ones.