Sunday, December 14, 2014
I took this photo from our room in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in DC. My DH is having his annual company shindig and we are staying the lap of luxury. We are having a blast and the food is wonderful; they have a gluten free menu and I've really enjoyed trying some new things.
I usually find all these things that I want to change when coming to wonderful hotel like this. In truth it was the Mandarin three years ago that helped us to solidify what kind of shower setup we wanted. Last year I fell in love with the bed we had because it was soft and I fell into it like a cloud, which in turn helped us to look outside of the box for a new bed.
But this year we have the new bathroom and I really appreciate the ADA height in our toilet...especially in the middle of the night. Our bed is a thing of absolute relaxation built to our specific needs. The thing is while this hotel is amazing and we have this beautiful suite and you could live in our bathroom...but I love my house more. I appreciate the way we built it together and every time I look at our counter top I remember that my son picked it out. I love the way my house feels like a home again and how very thankful and blessed I truly am.
Life is really what you decide it is. Each day you make a choice how you are going to see the moments that string together.
Tonight I will dress like a princess but in truth I can feel like that in jeans and a warm sweater. I feel special every day because of the people that I am blessed to have in my life, the talents I am blessed with and all the amazingness that life has to offer.
My son said to me the other day that he didn't know what to ask for when people asked him what he wanted for Yule because he is really blessed. He has everything he wants. He then gave me a big hug and talked about getting gifts for poor kids that don't have a way to afford gifts for the holidays.
There was a story they told in church about the pastor wanting the community to collect money for a needy family for the holidays. This one family sat down and even though they lived pay check to pay check, they worked out how each of them could make a little money by doing chores for others. The family agreed that the father and mother could work a little overtime and the kids would help around the house. I don't remember all the particulars but all the family even the little ones collected money by doing various things. In their heart was the idea of helping someone else and how beautiful it would be for a family in need to be able to have a good holiday season this year.
The family was so proud that they were able to do this wonderful thing for another. They all had to work a little harder then usual but they proudly offered the money to the pastor and he looked at them quizzically. "We were collecting for you," he said softly, "We know that you wear the same outfit on Sunday and are just making ends meet."
The family was confused. "Money is a necessary thing, yes," the father explained to the pastor, "But we have good jobs and our children go to school. Right now they may not have a lot but we have each other and in that we are richer then most."
The pastor got tears in his eyes at the generous and beautiful heart of this family. He saw that they were living the words of God in every moment of their lives. What he had seen was lack had been through his understanding of the word; but in reality this family was blessed and prosperous beyond measure.
From our family to yours, may the blessings of the season bring you joy, prosperity, love and light,
Sunday, December 07, 2014
Santa was posing in ESO the other day so I had to get a pic. My dark elf is pretty shy, so she is the one behind Santa with the red hair. :)
This week I have nothing really to show you - although I did make a beautiful cowl for my Secret Snowflake and she seemed to really like it.
I've been working on me and how I see the world but that really isn't something that is easy to explain without believing in the Laws of Attraction and Equivalent Exchange.
I've been writing character sketches each day and it feels good to write again. It is something I have always enjoyed. So, I'm not sure how you write a character but mine talk to me and I write them the way they present themselves. I've had these characters in my head for what seems like a life time now and I never knew that they had partial color blindness. Maybe it isn't something they share a lot or maybe it is such a part of them that they forget that others are different.
I was trying to understand that part of them this week from a writing perspective. I was trying to find a way to duplicate what they see so that I could understand them a little better. Here is how my main character might see. The first shot is without any filters. The second shot is with a red-weak filter and the third is with a red-blind filter.
As you can see, how this character sees would change the world he lives in. What challenges does he face on a daily basis that I take for granted and he had to learn to overcome? How would he decorate his room? Would it be garish to me because he used colors he could see...that were pleasing to him? How does it help or hinder his job?
It is all perspective. Life is shaped by how you see it. That view can be changed by others if you choose to believe their truths over your own; which then becomes your true life view. Or you can take your truth and change it to whatever you want it to be. Is that easy? Not always...sometimes...no...yes.
All I know is that is what I've been working on. POV. How I see the world...or should I say how I choose to see the world. And in this season of the light being reborn in different ways all over the world; I choose to let in and embrace that warm and fuzzy glow of goodness and hope that is the calling card of this season and share it with as many people as I can.
Sunday, November 30, 2014
"Everything in life can be nourishing. Everything can bless us, but we've got to be there for the blessing to occur. Being present with quality is a decision we are invited to make each day."
-- MacRina Wiederkehr
Thanksgiving was perfect. It wasn't stressful like other years; there was a subtle shift that made it a moment to treasure instead of a hurried crazy mess of hungry people waiting for a turkey.
It started with a snow storm. It actually was quite beautiful and the roads stayed mostly clean while the trees and grass were covered. I was able to get my yummy smoked turkey with no trouble at all and my sister got here before I even got home from work on Wednesday.
After doing some chores, we began the cooking. It usually takes us about 2 hours to get the casseroles prepared for baking the next day. This year we were able to do all of the flavors we consider traditional while staying gluten and dairy free. It was amazing to me how good everything was!
I should have taken a picture of all of it. We had a yummy smoked turkey, sausage stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, spinach savoy, drunken sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin bread. Everyone loved everything. The flavors were like when Mom made them and everything stayed happy in my tummy.
We chilled after doing the dishes and watched a movie. Then there was more clean up and lots of Minecraft. Sis and I built this little island for getting leather. All the design is Sis. Her architectural skills kicked in and she was having a ball just creating some beautiful coordinating pens, a house and an enchanting room.
We started this little endeavor because when we upgraded to 1.8 we lost all of our achievements. We both needed to get the enchanting achievements and last time we traded for the bookcases from the village for days before we got enough to build a really nice enchanting nook.
My Sis had wanted to travel somewhere new, so after many days walking on water I found the above scene. I knew that I wanted to explore the caves in that mountain and look at all the coal...but what I love is the flowing waterfalls...so serene.
One of my big things in this game is every house I have has to have windows. In most survival scenarios I have windows before I have a door. :) One of the things I love about Minecraft is the beauty of the world. My family knows this...each of us have that thing that is important to us and we all try to honor each other's little nuances that make the game special. Mine is windows.
Windows allow us to see the world; sometimes we see things from a different perspective that help us to appreciate them more. Windows also open up and let the light in. Both are ideal to appreciating the beauty that is around us.
I think what made Thanksgiving different this year was that I opened myself up and let the light in. I tried to look at everything from a different point of view and not judge what I saw with my perceptions or preconceived notions. I really tried not to stress about how everything would come out and focused on enjoying the cooking and creating a beautiful tapestry of a meal, that as a whole became something even more beautiful. Instead of focusing on what I couldn't eat anymore, I opened up a door of possibilities of things I could use to substitute with. But most of all I had a little mantra that I said until I believed it, "I intend for Thanksgiving to be wonderful." ...and it was. :)
Blessings to you and yours, this day and every day,
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Here is another shot in my diamond world Shiny. I couldn't decide on the title for this post: Fire and Ice or Temperance. Having diamonds in abundance makes so many things easier, like weapons or armor are no big deal. I could build a house of the things and probably will at some point...just because I can.
But Lapis, for example, is so rare, I have only found 23 of them so far. So if I want to enchant all that beautiful diamond stuff, then I need to find some more. Redstone is really hard to find as well. I've traded my diamonds for everything else.
This was just an experiment to play with the sliders and stuff but in reality I have offset the whole natural order of Minecraft. Changing things up can be fun but there is always a price to the delicate balance that runs through the Universe.
I've been trying to change things up in my life as well. My symbolic "diamonds" have taken over a bit and I'm trying once again to balance work, career, knitting, being a wife, being a good friend, housework, bills, being a good mother, taking care of myself and my gaming.
This cold snap has sapped my energy. And when I say cold...I mean there was ice on the ground the other day. Fall was here and then, it suddenly was not. The shift was abrupt and none of us were ready for our Winter to begin...now.
Winter is the time when I take and clean out my stores and look within. That is why there is this big holiday in the middle of it...so people remember to find the light in themselves and others. For many the loss of actual light causes depression and despondency. I'm someone who gets up with the light so I really dislike getting up in the dark and going to work. My body rebells instead of greeting the day...I just kind of stumble into it...and I just hate being cold.
So sometimes I find it really hard to greet the day with joy in my heart at this time of year. But the Goddess is on top of things and for the twinge in my back, I now have heated seats. For my morning blur, my DH makes me a hot breakfast with coffee to boot...I love that man more each day.
(insert heart here). When I feel the darkness downers, my son is there to give me a hug and that my friends is the greatest blessing of all. When you have a loving family and wonderful friends imagining joy is not a struggle at all. I just think of my happy thought and soon I am soaring through my day.
So as the days get shorter and colder I am reminded that I indeed have a wonderful life and am so blessed.
This year we are attempting a full gluten free, dairy free and citrus free Thanksgiving. The BBQ joint in town is smoking our turkey for us...my mouth is watering just thinking about it. We are making all our traditional dishes with a twist and I'm even attempting pumpkin pie. I'm hoping it all tastes close to what we remembered.
We made the gluten free stuffing and gravy last year and you couldn't tell that it was GF. Everything was really good and everyone liked it. So I am hoping to add the other dishes back to our holiday that are harder without dairy to make. I'll let you know how it works out.
But it's not the food that is the big thing...it is the family around the table. And even though some are missing, and some are in heaven...they are all here and a part of our lives. They are all special gifts that we are blessed to have in our lives.
So, from our family to yours...have a safe and beautiful Thanksgiving with those that are precious to you,
Sunday, November 16, 2014
So I was fooling around yesterday in creative and built a little house out of the different forms of Prismarine and Quartz. Sis wants to build a little seaside villa type deal in our family world and I was playing around with the way that the blocks can go together.
Please forgive my field of lava and the pig spawners in the background. Everyone was coming up to my door and I made the lava field to discourage any solicitors. This is my working world where I can try out anything.
If you could see in the other direction you would see a roller coaster of sorts, a beacon, a zillion pigs from trying to figure out how to make a spawner, a working skeleton spawner, the start of a tree and tons of other things that I was trying out here before wasting blocks in survival.
This is one of the things I really love about Minecraft. You can make a creative world and try out anything. All the blocks are there for you to use and the monsters don't hurt you. Of course you can change over to a creative world at anytime in your play but this is a flat world that was made just to create.
So here is my bedroom in my little house. I really like it. I had fun building my little seaside house that is surrounded by lava.
I know it is a bit hard to see, but here is my new avatar in Minecraft. I spent a good 2 hours working on her.
I made my first avatar at dinner with my son and I didn't really understand what I was doing. This time I took my time and created something that had some meaning to me, and I'm pretty happy with her.
Shift to knitting...
On my day off I went through every pattern that I had started designing in one way or another and made a kind of triage plan for them. The ones that already have been branded are first, then the ones that I made a pattern for, then the ones with pictures and finally the ones that might only be an idea jotted down somewhere.
I started off with Holda. This is a half-linen stitch infinity scarf, with a bind off in pattern. The winter tones fit in perfectly with the snow and ice storm we got this week.
The goal of this lengthy project is to get my patterns from their various states of being to Ravelry.
I have also decided to create a sister to Holda; it will be the same exact pattern except using linen stitch.
|Not yet named linen stitch|
The two stitches, while close in nature are both very distinctively different. They both look woven but half-linen stitch is more rustic while the pure linen stitch is smooth to the touch and more like a fabric. Both stitches show off a variegated yarn and bring out it's inner beauty and they both add texture to the fabric that is intriguing. It is hard to not see how each stitch can bring something new and exciting to one's knitting; which is why I made two patterns, both named for Goddesses of weaving.
Back to Minecraft for a sec. (yes, this is how I talk, it's the Aries in me, I can never focus on one thing) :)
This week on my day off, I not only made a new avatar and created a triage sheet for my knitting, I also created a diamond world. I tweaked the settings to spawn diamonds like dirt on the levels where they could be found. This was an experiment in playing with the settings; I had no idea what would really happen.
I treated this world like an other survival world and I found myself in a biome I have never started in before; the savanna. My savanna starting place was right next to a chasm which it took me all week to get into since I needed to build a house first and plant and harvest food and all that normal stuff.
But it is glorious. I'm like a little kid when I find a hole in the earth. Maybe it reminds me of me and Dad going to places where they were building to show me the beautiful stones that were hiding under the soil. I remember him showing me quartz for the first time and how it sparkled in the sun. I remember being obsessed with stones after that. They don't even have to be gems or anything; anything can be beautiful.
Later when I took metaphysical classes I found out how important simple quartz can be to so many aspects of healing, cleansing, charging, protection...really you name it and it is the stone that will guide you through it.
I still love stones; my altar is proof of that. I love the windows and rainbows that you can find in them. I love the colors and shapes. I love the way their energy feels as it mingles with mine.
So maybe I take a little of that into Minecraft with me. And every time I find a vein of iron or spy some red stone it is like being that child again and seeing quartz for the first time with my Dad. Regardless of the reason, I really like caving in Minecraft and turning a sock heel...no story behind that one except I really like it and I have no focus today.
Sunday, November 02, 2014
As you can see I have settled into the first Captive Minecraft and established a homey base of operations. The animals are downstairs since they trample everything and tend to kill themselves by suffocating in the border.
The problem with CM1 is that all the portals are wonky and you suffocate on entering them; so I did a bit in Creative but it was the only way to get the achievements...and this game is all about the achievements.
The Captive Mincraft games are also about working with a border. You know in Vanilla Minecraft you can deplete a mine and then move on to the next one, but in this world you only have so much that you can work with. Coal becomes scarce and iron is almost non-existent.
Since I am going to do every achievement, I find myself now mining every scrap of the world out for resources. I even started mining around the bedrock in the Basement. I'm not going to tell you where, but there are goodies in the Basement at bedrock level and you will know that you found them because they are marked with Obsidian.
So even if your Nether portal suffocates you, there is hope because there is a blaze rod in one of those troves. The game gives you a lot of these little helpful items, for instance the one lone piece of sugarcane in the stone growing in a little bit of water can be a life saver. Cane makes sugar; thus cake and cane makes paper; thus books. You can make a bookcase with books and an enchantment table. That is three achievements that can be grown from one little piece of sugarcane that is nurtured and cared for and cultivated.
I've found some strange items in these special chests that are scattered all over the world. I found some mycelium so I made a giant mushroom because I like them. I found some horse armor that is so beautiful but I never been given a horse.
I have four achievements left and the fifth cannot be done: so say the creators. So I'm off to find some skulls to make a Wither because that is what is next on my to-do list. I was thinking of letting him loose in The End so if I can't kill him then he can terrorize the Endermen, but I'm not sure yet. I've only ever made a Wither in Creative and he is still running around there I believe. Scary things Withers. But killing him will give me 2 more achievements and then I will have two to go: make a beacon and kill a skeleton from 50 blocks away...that one is hard. You have to set it up just right. 50 blocks is like a Robin Hood shot...I will need a super bow...good thing my enchanting room is coming along nicely.
A Wither Skeleton with a pumpkin on his head celebrates All Hallows Eve. :)
I wish you all a Happy New Year for those that celebrate and for everyone else I wish you unexpected blessings and beautiful moments of joy,
Sunday, October 26, 2014
I have a fear of heights. It is a rational fear; being high means one could fall...very...very...far. In the beginning of playing Minecraft I used to get a pit in the middle of my stomach when I was up high. It was a normal fear response to being up high but in a game fear can be managed; much like it can in real life for some situations.
This is a picture of my house from up high in Captive Minecraft. I pillared up and then used vines to create a ladder up to Sky Island #1. As you can see I have worked through my fear a bit to be able to use this method. Many a time I have fallen off my pillar and fell in the air a bit until I flail and find it again or fall to my death. "Act don't react." Xena said that in an episode where she was teaching someone how to deal with enemies attacking. I find those words to be sage advice as I am falling. If I do something I might survive, if I freak out...I probably won't.
Here is my home again from a second pillar up to the Burning Island. As you can see I'm in the clouds now and really...really...really...high. That is my house way down there; I was thankful the zombie pigman didn't push me off while I was getting this shot. :)
Captive Minecraft has been a challenge and I really have been enjoying it this week. But much like ESO I made some bad calls. Instead of planting the sugar cane (the one piece I found) I used it to make sugar. I forgot you needed two pieces of sugar to make cake and that has really screwed me up.
In Captive Minecraft you start with one block and a world border all around you. This border moves every time you successfully complete an achievement a half of a square. As you can see messing up one of the achievements can really cost you. So I'm in limbo right now. I'm mining out every piece of block that I can and my goal is to be able to see the world border in every area of my world.
I was worried when my cow suffocated herself in the border, but thankfully, another one was given to me and I was able to corral and breed them.
This is a challenging but fun map. At some point I settled down and made a house and a farm and did all the things that usually do when I play. I figure the achievements will come as they will and I'm not in a rush. In the meantime, I am having a good time.
I just received a villager. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with him yet. :)
Have some knitting in the works but nothing to show yet.
I hope you have a graet week as we go out of Mercury's grip of crazy,