Sunday, July 26, 2009

Making A Place for Spiritual Practice

Three years ago, back in our old house, I used to have a place in our house specifically designated for prayer and meditation. I had a little altar set up on a small table where I had meditation stones, some prayer books, my Daily Word, and my journal alongside a very comfortable chair that was used only for my prayer and meditation.

Each morning before going to work, I'd wake up early and go to that quiet place to do my daily spiritual practice. That was a special calm place and you could just feel the calm and peace emmanating when you entered that room.

Well, I haven't been going to Unity services lately as I used to, and I really miss it. So I decided today to get up early, go to church there at Unity Village - you wouldn't belive it, but the topic of today's lesson was "Spiritual Practice." And guess what? I haven't been practicing! In fact, I don't even have a good meditation chair or altar in my home anymore. And that's sad.

The only thing spiritual I've done in recent months is to pray at night for those specifically in need, and I also pray while I make my prayer shawls. But there hasn't been enough inner listening, and that's what I need - a place to be still and listen for inner guidance. Maybe G-d's been talking to me and I haven't had my spiritual receiver on - I dunno.

Anyway, I'm going to make a place again. I'm going to make time. Maybe only 10 minutes per day. But 10 dedicated minutes. It's worth getting up a few minutes early to get centered in spirit. It will be my first appointment of the day.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Last Weekend was St. Louis

We needed to get away. So we spent last weekend in St. Louis - with a 1/2 day stop in Columbia. Emily enjoyed the vintage shops and picked up a few cute items to add to her wardrobe.

Finished the Roll Neck shawl while we were car tripping. I liked it except I first knitted the eyelet edging and it rolled terribly. Ripped it out and replaced it with a garter stitch edge - not as pretty, but much more functional and this is, after all, a functional shawl. The Seta Lana yarn used in it is silk and wool blend for only $5.80 a skein - found it a few weeks ago at True Blue Fiber Friends in Columbia.

Went to my favorite lunch place - Teller's in Columbia and had a delicious salad with tuna steak on top - delicious. St. Louis was wonderful. Saw the new stadium. Didn't go to the game, but we drove by and it looks impressive. A co-worker went to the game and loved it. Maybe I'll have to go to a game there in the future. Arch is still there - stunning as always.

I found a brand new knit shop in St. Louis - Kirkwood Knittery. Never knew it was there. Wonderful place with knowledgable, friendly sales staff and LOTS of yarns that are hard to find. I'm talking Malabrigo here - yes they had it - in a variety of colors. And it's damned hard to find unless you go online. I wanted an instant Malabrigo fix to start a new shawl - called Ulmus. This is a fanciful, beautiful shawl in two colors. I started it using Malabrigo Chocolate Armago and Lettuce - too stark a contrast. Started over and am using Chocolate in Malabrigo with Happy Feet #2 - which are orange variegated orangey/autumnal colors the border will be in solid brown.

Saturday afternoon was spent on the Del Mar Loop. We walked all over that place. Emily loves the vintage shops there.

The weather was absolutely beautiful. Cool. No rain. Lovely. Relaxing. Couldn't have been better.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

One Thing . . . That's All

There are times when my knitter's ADD even drives ME crazy. Yes. Right now is one of those times. When this happens, what I do is get rid of the excess crap that is getting me down - and just focusing on one thing. The simplest form of prioritizing is focusing on one thing.

Because I've been enjoying reading on my new Kindle2 almost to the exclusion of any other free-time activity, including knitting (amazing isn't it?) I am feeling overwhelmed with all the knitting projects I've started in past months and let fall by the wayside. I may be ripping out and repurposing yarn if I am no longer loving these projects.

In other words, I crave projects that are really easy, instant gratification type of things. I want to comfort myself in a non-food kind of way - knitting seems perfect for that, but only if I don't overwhelm myself with choices. One project at a time. I can't handle more right now.

So that's what I'm doing - the Roll Neck Wrap in a lovely coral color is the perfect project for this mindset. It is pretty and soft. It's all I need this lovely easy-going Sunday afternoon.

As far as the diet and exercise are going, I'm doing somewhat better. But I'm still not where I want to be. I'm staying on the program better. Exercising on most days.

Today is a pajama day. Perfect. One simple salad for lunch. One iced tea. One beautiful coral shawl in progress while watching one great movie called Monsoon Wedding.

What else does one person need? One thing - that's all. One thing at a time.

Sunday, July 05, 2009


Bob and I have both been feeling so harried and frazzled lately. We desperately needed to get away for an overnight trip, so on an impulse, we decided to go to Columbia, Missouri. It's a great college town that is about 90 minutes away - just a stone's throw, but far enough to seem like a mini-vacation.

We stayed at the Drury Inn, which is one of our favorite hotels. We always stay at Drury in whatever town we're traveling to. This one had an indoor pool which was very nice. And they serve a free breakfast. We made Belgium waffles.

We bummed around on Friday, visiting our favorite vintage shops on the strip there in downtown Columbia. The weather was wonderful - cooler and cloudy but not rainy.

We went to a wonderful microbrewery called Flatbush Microbrewery that we've visited before on other trips into town. We're not drinkers at all, and especially not beer drinkers, but when we go to Flatbrush, we get a microbrewery sampler and try a taste of six different beers. Our favorite this time was the Green Chile. Very unusual but good. They have absolutely wonderful food there - this time I tried the Chicken Mediterranian Pasta - not on my diet but it was to die for.

I also couldn't resist visting a yarn store. Since I usually go to Hillcreek there in Columbia, this time I decided to try the other shop in town, a smaller one called TRUE BLUE FIBER FRIENDS. Pictured are the owners. Bex (pictured holding the baby) was there on Friday and helped me deciper my gauge for a Elizabeth Zimmermann Ribwarmer that I've been trying to get right. I'm having a gauge issue, so she gave me some ideas and spent some time showing me how I could recalculate the pattern with the current gauge I'm getting. She was very nice and helpful.

Unfortunately she informed me that I JUST MISSED (last weekend)an Ozark Handspun fiber workshop that they'd had there at the shop last weekend featuring Dave of Ozark Handspun. Bummer. They had a cute (to me) but maybe FUNKY to other people, sweater on display that she said will be a free pattern up on the Ozark Handspun website in a few days. It's called the Crazy Blocks sweater and it's a free pattern, like many of the patterns on the Ozark Handspun website, though it can be tricky to navigate their website to find them.

There were some nice shoppers who came in wanting to buy some Mirasol Tupa yarn for some shawls they were making. I asked them about it and Bex pulled an attractive but very utilitarian shawl called "Roll-Neck Wrap" off her display to show me - it was a lovely green color, a simple three-sided shawl that she said she loves to wear as well as make because it stays put on your shoulders. The pattern is so easy it can be made in a matter of days. So if you need to make a quick gift or prayer shawl, this project is an excellent pick for that purpose.

The pattern was designed by a local customer and Bex sells it at her shop (see photo. The shawl has sold so well in her store that Bex has temporarily sold out of Mirabella. (She's getting in a new shipment on Monday after the holidays). But it's that a really great shawl? It's really easy. I cast on mine last night, and it's growing pretty rapidly. This is JUST the kind of mindless project I need to work on right now. If you'd like to buy the pattern, Bex sells them for $5 but there may be a small shipping charge.

So it was a pleasant Fourth. On Saturday, we spent the day with Emily and her friends and watched the fireworks at a nearby lake. It was a rare cool evening and though they seemed to have a shorter fireworks display this year due to the tight economy, we appreciated it even more. My favorite was near the end of the show, they had beautiful waterfalls on two sides of the sky. It was gorgeous. I've never seen that display before, and unfortunately I didn't bring my camera or get a photo so you'll just have to imagine it. This year, our chilly weather made it the coolest Independence Day I ever recall. And I delight in cool weather. What fun to sit in a boat and watch fireworks with a jacket on.

How was yours?