I put on my cozy winter pajamas after taking a shower, and then I started thinking that I should go write my Nurturing Thursday post because it was getting late in the evening. But instead I sat down by the fireplace, on the carpet next to the bricks, enjoying the warmth and feeling grateful to have a comfortable home.

After a while I started composing this post in my head, so I wasn’t entirely idle; but mainly, I was just sitting there and letting myself have a few pleasant minutes without feeling obligated to start doing something. It’s good to write blogs, along with all the other ways we can so easily connect with people in modern times; but we also need to take enough time to connect with and care for ourselves.

Word-art that says "You owe yourself the love that you so freely give to other people."

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

January 31, 2019 · 6 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

I had a really weird dream last night. I was some kind of ancient prophet, and God spoke through me in my dreams while a group of disciples carefully wrote down the words. Every morning I would wake up to see a new parchment scroll beautifully illustrated and full of divine wisdom.

Ancient parchment prayer scroll with illustrations.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)

When I woke up this morning (for real), I decided that my subconscious mind most likely was telling me to pay more attention to the wisdom in my dreams. Even if they’re not divinely inspired, my dreams may have useful insights and be worth taking the time to write them down.

So, I put this one into my blog, which seemed as good a place as any. Maybe it’s too weird to inspire anyone, but it might at least have some entertainment value on this cold winter day.

This year I am keeping a journal of people’s kind acts, as described in my New Year’s post. The original idea was that by writing about kindness, I would give it more weight subconsciously, which in turn would shift my perspective toward seeing the world as a kinder place.

So far I’ve noticed something else, which is that I am not only giving more weight to kind acts—I am seeing more of them in the first place. When I take the time to consider (as journaling requires) what acts of kindness I’ve seen on a particular day, I find myself reflecting on events that seemed ordinary at first glance and then realizing, “Oh, this was done with kind intentions, and that was kind too.”

Even the most commonplace things can seem very different, depending on how we look at them.

Word-art with a dandelion that says "Some see a weed, I see a wish."

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

I sometimes do a meditation where I imagine myself turning slowly in a clockwise circle and looking to each of the four directions. Then I consider what messages from my subconscious mind there might be in the various images that pop into my thoughts.

Usually it’s like a silent film or a dream without conversation, but yesterday—without having planned it—I found myself imagining that the four directions were speaking to me and offering blessings.

Weathervane showing the four directions.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)

I started in the East, as I always do—the direction of the dawn and new growth. I pictured tiny green leaves sprouting up from the cool, damp spring earth, confidently owning their surroundings. “You are safe here,” the leaves told me repeatedly as they kept on multiplying, with more and more voices joining in their chorus. “You are safe.”

I gave them my thanks and went on to the South, representing fire and summer. Warm pebbles on the dry ground reflected the early afternoon sun. I pictured myself sitting down to look at them more closely, like a child searching for the prettiest ones. Huge tree roots stretched before me, and I felt drawn to touch them. “You are becoming,” the roots announced, when I put my hands on them.

Thanking the roots, I turned to the West, where leaves were falling from tall white birches, swirling in a graceful motion through the crisp air. The autumn winds surrounded me comfortably, like old friends walking with me. “You are part of this world,” they said.

I thanked the winds before moving on to the North, the land of quiet darkness, cold rain and snow, winter’s rest and replenishment. Drops of water fell gently all around me. “You are healing,” they assured me.

Once again I gave thanks, and then I returned to my imaginary starting point and let the circle dissolve into the air around me. I pictured its energy flowing into the world, full of blessings for all.

I didn’t really go for a walk in the woods today because it was very cold and icy here. I can tell when I’m getting cabin fever this time of year, though, because I spend more time browsing through outdoor photos. Over the weekend I downloaded some Creative Commons landscape photos from Flickr and put them into the library for my digital art display. This is the one I chose yesterday, after a snowstorm.

Snowy path between tall conifers.

Seeing a snowy path through my imaginary “window” makes me feel as if I could get bundled up in warm clothes and go play in the snow, like when I was a kid. I haven’t actually gone exploring in a winter wood in a very long time, and I must confess that I don’t even own a pair of sturdy winter boots anymore. The snowblower is my husband’s domain. When we have a winter storm I’m usually sitting at the computer, or maybe reading a book on the couch.

Still, it puts me in a cheerful mood to see something that looks like a window onto a vast wild forest where I could spend many hours happily wandering around, even if it’s only an illusion.

This evening I got distracted and, instead of writing my usual Nurturing Thursday post, I put on my pajamas and chatted with my husband for a while. Then I got in bed and was still awake, looking at the brightness behind the window shades where light was reflecting from snow, and had a vague sense that there was something left undone.

The internal to-do list never fully came back after its mysterious disappearance over the holidays, it seems. I did eventually remember that it was Thursday and I hadn’t written a blog post, so I got back out of bed and sat down at the computer. Oh well, nobody’s perfect, and anyway, Nurturing Thursday is about gradual self-improvement rather than getting it right every time.

Word-art that says "Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection." -Mark Twain

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

January 16, 2019 · 2 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags: ,

After taking down all the holiday decorations in my house, which included some evergreen cuttings that I put in a kitchen corner (as shown here), I felt like things were awfully plain and bare! So, when I was at the supermarket, I bought a new houseplant to brighten up that corner.

Kalanchoe plant with red blooms in a small pot with red tissue paper.

The plant is a kalanchoe, which is in the category of succulents and thus doesn’t need much water. It is commonly sold as a winter houseplant because it needs even less water than usual in the winter, and it actually flourishes in the dry indoor air.

I would say it’s a good reminder of how changes in our environment affect us. That little splash of red in the kitchen cheers me up when I get my breakfast on dark winter mornings; and because I’m not as well adapted to winter dryness as the plant is, seeing it also reminds me to turn on the aromatherapy diffuser on my desk, which improves dry sinuses by adding both humidity and helpful essential oils.

And, looking at it from a broader perspective, the plant has me subconsciously feeling more in control of my environment because I put it there, which in turn should improve my perception of how capable I am of making other positive changes. It’s all good!

One advantage of getting older is that every passing year comes with more perspective. The list of entries grows longer in what I call the Portfolio of Past Problems. Just like we keep track of our job accomplishments by writing resumes to show employers how proficient we are in our jobs, solving problems in our personal lives also gives us valuable experience and makes us more capable. Rather than feeling gloomy because not everything came out perfect on the first try, we should give ourselves credit for work well done!

No matter how troubling a particular situation may be, the chances are good that when looking back on it many years later, it’s probably just going to be another one of the many things that worked out all right.

Word-art that says "Problems are like washing machines. They twist us, spin us and knock us around. But in the end we come out cleaner, brighter and better than before."

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

My daughter and her husband came to visit for a friend’s gender reveal party. The friend has two daughters and was kind of hoping for a boy. As the designated revealer, my daughter picked up the ultrasound photo from the doctor’s office and was the only one to know until the party a few hours later (which was at a pizza restaurant yesterday).

Although I’d heard of such parties, I had no idea how they went, so it was fun to watch. My daughter decorated a clipboard with cute drawings, and everyone voted on it with tally marks for “girl” or “boy.” Then the reveal was done by putting a little toy duck into a bowl of water; it had a chemical that made the water change color. The ducks are sold online in packs of two, with a “boy” duck that turns the water blue and a “girl” duck that turns it pink. The revealer brings the appropriate one to the party after taking off the identifying sticker.

The water turned pink, so there will be a third girl, much to the delight of her sisters. My mother-in-law came to the party too; she adores the little girls. We had a good time, except for getting sideswiped by a careless driver on the way to the restaurant, which left my husband with the unwanted chore of buffing the scraped fender and applying touch-up paint. Could have been worse, though.

This morning my daughter, her husband, and their dogs packed up and left, and the house seemed very quiet again. After an unseasonably warm day, it had gotten much colder overnight, with snow flurries and howling winds. I put this image of a lonely canyon on my digital art display.

Dry, lonely canyon under an orange sunset.

Even though it’s not a real window, changing the landscape to match the feeling of a particular day seems to improve my mood by making clear how quickly everything changes. Just like the image on the display, a lonely house and the winter blues won’t stay too long.

I did some after-Christmas shopping and got a new electric skillet yesterday, with nonstick ceramic coating. It replaced a worn-out skillet that wasn’t keeping food from sticking anymore. Last night I cooked hamburgers to try out the new skillet, and it worked very well and was easy to clean up afterward.

Electric skillet on kitchen counter with refrigerator in background.

I had been meaning to replace the old one for months, but did not get around to doing it earlier because I was busy. Of course, putting off the errand didn’t save me any time, and in fact caused me to waste time scrubbing the old skillet. Even though we may think we’re too busy for simple things that make life more comfortable, there is really no good reason to neglect ourselves like that. It’s just a bad habit.

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.