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Archive for the ‘Creating’ Category

Crossing the Line

Lately, a dear friend and I have been chatting about balance. What does it look like in our respective lives filled to the brim, overflowing even, with home and family, workplace or the absence thereof, the raising of children or gardens or dreams?

Today, we talked about crossing the line between idea and carrying out, between thought and action, between dream and fulfillment. Sometimes bringing an idea out from the safe nest of the mind into action, into our own messy hands, is the most difficult step. But like birthing a child into the world, it is only by crossing that line that we allow our dreams to breathe and grow.

Tonight I cleared my desk and office of clutter and brought out my notebooks. I’m going to write again.

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For 2009

Books

– May there be space in my life for books and poetry and art.

– May there be abundant health for the ones I love.

– May my heart expand fully to embrace our little one.

– May I become more aware of the earth, of humanity, of the spiritual.

– May my soul be at ease just enough to be able to write.

– May the richness of love and family pervade our home.

– May I be a good friend.

– May I always choose softness of heart.

– May I encounter beauty, peace, goodness, and hope in the world.

– May I be thankful each and every day.

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Winter garden,
the moon thinned to a thread,
insects singing

– Matsuo Basho

Outside:
Roses in apricot

And inside, winter fruit and poetry:
Mandarin oranges & poetry

Festive decorations:
Christmas 2008

Making more caps for babies in Haiti:
Caps for Mama-to-Mama Charity

Caps for Mama-toMama Charity

It’s that season when my heart turns inward a bit and longs for quietude and cozy evenings. I haven’t been posting regularly for that reason and because our days have simply been busy preparing for the holidays and for our baby boy’s arrival in ten weeks. I hope you’ll keep visiting despite my sporadic posts. May you have a peaceful, blissful holiday season!

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Newborn Cap for Mama-to-Mama Charity

I’m not a great seamstress, but I’m very excited about the new charity project Soule Mama has started: Mama to Mama.

This effort provides an opportunity for crafters to create with love and intention in order to make a small, positive change in another person’s life. Mama to Mama‘s first project is to send handmade newborn caps to Haiti to be distributed in Safe Birthing Kits. Here are some stats about Haiti from the Mama to Mama site:

In northern Haiti:

  • Just 1 in 5 women receives skilled medical care during childbirth.
  • Haiti has the highest maternal mortality ratio in the Western Hemisphere.
  • 1 in 40 women will die as a result of pregnancy complications, unsafe abortion, or obstetrical emergency.
  • Twelve percent of children die before the age of 5.

capbutton_3You are invited to dust off your sewing machine, dig up a few gently-used T-shirts, and join this beautiful effort to share with women and newborns in Haiti. A simple pattern, instructions, and a mailing address for your finished caps are available at Mama to Mama‘s web site. The deadline for the initial care package send-off is December 10, 2008.

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DSCF2408

Wendell Berry:

You need to realize something else: that you can lead a perfectly good and satisfactory life even if you’re not a writer. When I figured out that I could be perfectly happy and not be a writer, I became a better writer.

I don’t think you ought to let your happiness depend on writing. There are a lot of worthwhile things you can do. The unhappiest people in the world may be the ones who think their happiness depends on artistic success of some kind.

I’m working on my book again, and this quote echoes where I’m at in my thinking. I want to live my life, really live it, and out of that richness will come a river of words. That’s what I believe.

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Welcome

I’m back from a quiet, introspective summer interlude. I didn’t exactly mean to take a vacation from blogging, but books, a much-needed rest, and time shared with family and friends have filled our days.

I’ve been reading, for example, Wendell Berry’s collection, Given:

The exquisite poem “How to Be a Poet (to remind myself)” is included in this book. In it Berry says:

There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.
I think the poet speaks wisdom.

Cut fruit

Certain concepts, no doubt influenced by my reading, are on my mind this summer: respect for life, natural rhythms, found beauty, ritual…. I want to live with intention, but also freedom; with words, but also people; with simplicity, but also richness. I want my home, my life, my interaction with others, this blog, to be a sacred space.

What are you thinking of this summer?

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It was one year ago that I started writing this blog. We had just moved into our new home and planted flowers in the garden. Here’s what some of them look like now:

Hydrangea:
hydrangea

A patio pot of pink flowers:
pink

Lily of the Nile:
lily of the nile

Much has happened in this one year of blogging–life events like our ten-year anniversary, the 8th grade graduation of a niece I’ve known and loved from the beginning, the adventure of new friendships and the deepening of old ones, losses, and journeys both internal and external. A full set of seasons passed by, documented sporadically and inadequately on this blog. What has made this experience extra rewarding is the connection with you, Blissful reader–whether I’ve known you for years, or whether we’ve only met through our blogs.

A good friend said so very generously that this is the “most beautiful blog on the net.” I know he’s totally exaggerating, but it pleases me nevertheless because this blog is about taking note of blessings and seeking to live life fully. For me, that entails recognizing and cherishing beauty.

In this season–the same one in which I started this blog a year ago–I often find myself looking out through the windows into the light and color in our garden. Outside, a few fruits are ripening on the dwarf lemon tree. The Japanese maples are flourishing. The hydrangea, alyssum, and lobelia are in full bloom. As the garden matures outdoors, so I hope that Blissful Begonia’s roots will grow deeper and that it will bloom as I continue to blog.

Thank you for a Blissful year of blogging! Let’s hope for many more. 🙂

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Japanese maple

In The Man Who Planted Trees, a solitary shepherd brings life and hope to a desolate region by planting a hundred acorns a day for thirty years. This beautiful, inspiring short film is available online, and I invite you to take half an hour to watch it.

It may inspire you to plant a tree yourself in some corner of the world:

– In the Atlantic Forest of South America, through the Nature Conservancy’s Plant a Billion Trees campaign

– Or in Kenya and throughout Africa, through Nobel Prize laureate Wangari Maathai’s organization, The Green Belt Movement

The Greenbelt Movement

– Or in urban Los Angeles, CA, through the TreePeople‘s effort to plant a million trees.

TreePeople

Or you may want to reduce your paper usage by opting out of unwanted catalogs. I recommend Catalog Choice’s free service, which allows you to choose specific catalogs you want to decline. You know the ones you didn’t even sign up for but somehow receive? The ones you never look at anyway? It only takes a minute or two to decline them and save printing, shipping, and disposal costs.

Catalog Choice

Check out what others are doing, and consider sharing your own Earth Day story on Google’s Earth Day map.

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Pairs: Cut + Paste

Cut + Paste
Cut.

collage journaling
Paste.

Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.
– George Bernard Shaw

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Pairs: Orange + Green

For the next few days, I’ll be posting a series of photographs linked by color combination, theme, or subject matter. I hope you’ll enjoy. Here’s the first pair: Orange + Green

salad
Carrots, cucumbers, and mini bell peppers on a bed of lettuce. Lemon juice + olive oil dressing, of course.

furoshiki
Furoshiki: a traditional Japanese wrapping cloth. Inside, a lunch box packed with cucumber rolls.

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