Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Back in the Saddle

I'm back in town from a week of study leave. Last week I was in St. Louis at the national Presbyterian Older Adult Ministries Network (POAMN) conference. I presented on workshop and co-presented a second. As a whole I think that went well. Since I'm new to this presenting and workshop presenter game it is always a learning experience and since I'm my own worst critic I'm never as good as I want to be. But as a whole I thought the conference was a good one and it's an organization I am glad to be associated. I hope to post some pictures later this week. Sunday's sermon (May 4th) is mostly written as I had to write up the worship service to be published in the Older Adult Resource Guide for this year and will be using that service outline and lectionary texts to talk about Leaving a Living Legacy (the conference theme) to kick off Older Adult Week.

I got up this morning and made muffins. Banana Nut Muffins.

I used the recipe in the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook (the blue and red and white checkerboard covered). The Basic Muffin Recipe and then I modified it as I like to do. I had enough bananas to make a double batch so I used half whole wheat and half unbleached white flour. I used brown sugar and sugar in the raw instead of white sugar. They turned out real earthy and not too sweet. My batch made 18 sizable muffins and we will be eating on them all week.

Gotta go for now. More later as I catch up with life.

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Bugs bunny and Daffy Duck the happy miser

One of my friends in the knitting group I'm in shared this video about a discussion they have been having.

I have to post this here because this short clip, illustrates how we hang onto stuff because we think it is the stuff that makes us wealthy or rich.

The stuff is only a tool and the actual wealth comes from how the stuff is utilized by us or others.

It also shows how stuff can destroy us and change us.

I'd rather be like Bugs...enjoying what I do have and not letting my stuff control me.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Ultimate Feng Shui Clean Out

Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese practice of creating space and capitalizing on the Qi or energy flow in space. Feng Shui is believed to impact all aspects of a person’s life, health, employment, relationships, etc.

Over the past ten years we have absorbed significant parts of five estates. I am embarrassed to say that when dear husband and I bought our house we shopped for our house to accommodate the furniture we had inherited. What we have come to know is that we live in more house than we need and are now taking some time to get rid of the things in our lives that hinder our doing what we believe we need to be doing. We have also come to know that it is not our responsibility to hang onto other people’s stuff because someone else didn’t want it. In other words, if we don’t love, use it, or if it doesn’t bring joy to our life pass it on to someone else.

I’ve done a bit of this in the past by selling stuff on Ebay and giving things away of Feecycle, but recently we decided to do the ultimate Feng Shui clean out and took a truck load of stuff to an auction house. Stuff that was gathering dust and taking up space and stuff we were not ever going to use and stuff we didn’t like but were keeping because well the family said, ‘we don’t want this anymore, let’s give it to …’ Part of this Ultimate Feng Shui clean out is realizing that we aren’t responsible for other people’s baggage just because they want us to be.

Now of course someone could turn the scripture passage of the reply that Cain gives to God about Able’s disappearance (murder) in Genesis 4:9 as including responsibility for ‘my brother’s’ stuff. We are responsible for caring for other people, but cast off lamps, china, and other items that have not seen the light of day for decades! Stuff and people are different. We ARE responsible for caring for and keeping people, but in our materialistic society we often place things over people. Look at the number of laws on the books that protect property (beginning with our Constitution) and the number of laws that protect people. It is a digression from this argument but interesting to note that Bill of Rights was an addendum to the original constitution…so this fascination with property, things, stuff is an ingrained cultural value.

Organizer Peter Walsh of Clean Sweep fame, points out that how much we value our things is reflected in how we care for our things.

What we have come to learn is that if we don’t value the thing it is time for the thing to move on to a place where it will be valued, but our time and energy should be focused on people not things. The primary responsibility of life is to care for or keep people and things do not equal people and just because a long gone relative valued an object doesn’t mean that I have to value the same object in the same way.

For example, I know that my ancestors are probably not going to value my squeeze ball collection or my taste in literature, after all who is going to want to read Waste and Want the Social History of Trash! It is actually a very good read! I recommend that along with the Story of Stuff, which can be found on the internet.

One could argue that ‘recycling’ things through Ebay, Freecycle, or an auction is better stewardship in that those items are given new life and a loving home. Since the objects were cast off from the family and no longer loved, even by us, does this not reflect how they are valued or not valued? Sooooooo we sent them off to be loved by someone who would love them in our Ultimate Feng Shui clean out.

One of my friends said to me, after I told her about this clean out: “I can’t wait to hear about all the new things that come into your life.”

All I know is I have space to park in my garage, I have space to work in the craft room, and we are not tripping over boxes of books. Being a worrier, I do wonder what the family will say if they find out we sold the…., dear husband has reminded me, ‘we made this stuff work for us and it was our stuff because they didn’t want it.’

I’ll probably be writing more on this topic or related topics of stuff as this seems to be a big theme emerging in my life these days.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Finished my first socks

I cast these on in February at the last Presbytery meeting and finished them tonight while watching American Idol. I would love to see "Blue Springs Boy" David Cook, take the competition, but then I also like Rock and Roll and he's a genuine rocker.

Well I set these aside for a while and there is something wonky with the pattern (it is sized funny), but they are done and will make great house socks.

Presbytery can be frustrating and keeping my hands busy knitting I have found keeps my blood pressure down and allows me to believe I am using my time wisely. There is a lot of sitting and I am a person that sits but despite my size, I do like to move around a bit.

I Can Crochet!!

I learned to crochet when was in elementary school (3rd or 4th grade) from my neighbor across the street Hazel Vadnais. Hazel is also responsible for teaching me how to knit. Well I preferred knitting to crochet so never got past the granny square phase but got the basics of chain, single, double, and treble crochet. The thing that threw me for a loop when I was first learning back in the dark ages of the 70's was turning, so I gave up on crochet and focused on knitting.

In my knitting group there are a couple of people who are also proficient at crochet and from watching them week after week and then asking a couple of questions it clicked. I can crochet and so I thought I'd try my hand at making this cute muffin.

How appropriate for a blog called the Corner Muffin Stop.