Grackle & Sun

Archive for the tag “gratitude”

Thanks and More Thanks

Synchronicitous (it has precedent) with Thanksgiving, Knitty Nerdy and Natural nominated me for the One Lovely Blog award. Very kind, and I am very grateful. Thank you!

So, here is how the game is played:

  1. Thank and link back to the person who nominated you.
  2. List the rules and display the award.
  3. Include seven delightful facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 15 other bloggers and let them know about the award.
  5. Follow the blogger who nominated you.

Numbers 1, 2, and 5 are complete. Now for number 3…

Seven Completely Random Facts About Me:

  1. I am the seventh of eight children.
  2. I am a very good swimmer.  I am terrible at jumping, though. Really. I’m talking a couple inches off the ground, max. I’m convinced that maybe I have extra gravity or something.
  3. After reading a lot of serious non-fiction, I like to take a brain-break by binging on romance novels.
  4. In addition to reading everything I can get my hands on about herbal medicines and making tinctures and tonics and such, am researching how to make my own digestive bitters.  More on that later.
  5. Lately I’ve been dreaming about South Africa. Literally dreaming about South Africa. Why?
  6. I hate getting wet in the rain.  Actually, to be more specific, I hate being in wet clothes. For any reason.
  7. My 3 favorite food textures are chewy, creamy, and gritty. I can handle slimy, like okra or oysters, but am completely undone by soggy.  Soggy is terrible.

And finally, for the best part, number 4–nominating other blogs that I find wonderful and lovely. I do hope that you will go check them out. They are each unique and interesting for many reasons and very deserving of a visit or a follow.

  1. The Procrastinator Dyer’s Diary  Elena does marvelous work with natural dyeing and eco-printing. I always learn something new when I read her posts.
  2. Amaryllis Log Cathe is a brilliant photographer and crafter and has a keen eye for detail and design.  Her posts are always thoughtful and a delight for the eye.
  3. Astitchmatism is a riot wrapped in knitting, dyeing, sewing, and home renovation. Just go read about veggie weenies. And the weird shit found behind radiators. :D
  4. The Course of Our Seasons Kathleen is a fellow Missouri Ozark dweller, and while her photos show familiar landscapes, her poetry reminds me to slow down and look at the world around me with an open heart.
  5. Hotel Vast Horizon Aidan is awesome. I love the artistry and skill of his metalwork and very much love reading his thoughts on dirt, sorcery, and being.
  6. Plantfolk Apothecary Kate Clearlight has her toes planted firmly in the ground and her heart open to the magic of plants. Inspiring infusions, elixirs, and tonics abound here.
  7. Shamana Flora Darcey Blue is a plant poet. I love her heartfelt honesty and desert plant wisdom. Her Pinyon Pine Resin Salve is on my plant medicine wishlist.
  8. Textileshed Swantje makes beautiful patchwork pieces, has mad knitting skillz (check out her Celtica!) and makes screenprinting look like a total blast.
  9. Shroomworks Ann creates dyepot magic with things like hydnellum aurantiacum and sarcodon fuscoindicus. In other words, fungi. Unbelievable colours. This is something I would love to learn, and this blog is inspiring.
  10. Threadborne Wendy is an accomplished fiber artist and teacher, and I greatly admire her work. I am fascinated by her eco-printed books. And her kale garden.
  11. Woollenflower Julia takes absolutely gorgeous photos of all good things–plants, crafts, dyework, and journeys in interesting places. Truly beautiful posts.
  12. Old Ways Herbal Juliette writes about making and using plant medicines. Her posts are very grounded and fantastically informative, and they instill enthusiasm and confidence in walking the herbalist path.
  13. Trembling Inside the Cocoon Julie is badass. She weaves, knits, sews, spins & dyes with tremendous skill. I am always in awe of her projects.
  14. Woolwinding Kate of the Welsh hills has the one and only blog where, depending on the day, you can read about coloured sheep, archeology, nanny tea (don’t ask), 80’s knit fashions, or the evils of toecovers. Enjoy.
  15. Big House, Little Prairie My friend, Laura, has an uncanny knack for uncovering the heart of things.  She writes with great thoughtfulness and eloquence about homesteading, crafting, family, and life.

Big thanks to all of my blog-friends and followers.  I  love the wonderful conversations that take place in our little corner of this digital world. And though we are spread out all around the world (which is pretty cool, I think), I appreciate the community that is created when we get together and share our stories. Thank you.

 

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A Healthy Dose of Gratitude

I was recently asked by Dr. Mario Trucillo of the American Recall Center  to participate in their Who Keeps You Healthy? campaign. The American Recall Center is a new website dedicated to providing information on medical device and pharmaceutical recalls and general health information.  I really like their values: Educate, Trust, Empower, Advocate, and I appreciate their vision not only to inform, but also to be informed by the community that shares their stories on the site.  Thank you, Dr. Trucillo, for considering Grackle & Sun for this campaign.  I am happy to support health advocacy in any way I can.

Who keeps me healthy?  My first thought was I do!  I am my own health hero (hear me roar)! Tru fax to be sure.  However, although I am proud of my hard work and effort, it is only a small fraction of the whole in my wholistic health journey. With closer reflection, I realized that I was experiencing a knee-jerk reaction—a defensive response after years of learning the hard way that I had to be a hardass, lookout-for-number-one advocate for my health in a system that frequently leaves patients confused, frustrated, and unhealed when they should be informed, confident, and above all, cared for.  It was this last bit that got me thinking.

Care is the heart of it all.  Healthcare. In my struggle to find solutions to illness, I often wished that health and healing could be more straightforward, more systematic: do A, B, and C and voila! Healthy! But it doesn’t work like that.  We are human, and we are more complicated than any amount of kale can fix.  We are human, and we do not need maintenance.  We need care.  It is not only our own caring that starts the healing process, it is the care that we receive from others that truly heals.  It is this caring that supports us, nurtures us, and shows us that our good health matters.

I’ve been very fortunate to have incredibly supportive family and friends—people who have not only cheered me on and even joined me as I changed my diet and started working out, but also many who, through their own actions, research, and advocacy, showed me a better way.  I am thankful for all of them.  Most of all, I am thankful to the one person who has held my hand through good times and bad, sickness and health—my husband, David.  He has been a spring of encouragement, compassion, and support.  So, in honour of the Who Keeps You Healthy campaign, I am writing a thank you letter from my heart to my heart. With gratitude and love.

Dear David,

Thank you for encouraging me to always strive to be better and healthier, and thank you for always loving me as I am no matter what. 

Thank you for being supportive of my countless hours of research and not ever rolling your eyes when I tried something new in my quest to not be sick.

Thank you for trusting me, even when the doctors didn’t, that Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism really was jacking me up that bad and that the connection between diet and auto-immune disease is for realz. 

Thank you for all the steamrolling (massages) when my migraines made me want to curl up and die.  Or hurl.  Usually all three.  

Thank you for cooking amazing food for our family, and for never, ever complaining about my crazy food intolerances.  Not even when I did the raw thing.

Thank you for getting on my ass about exercising and being patient with me even when I whined and complained and maybe even stomped my foot, not that I’d admit it.

Thank you for telling me how proud you are of me doing the whole awesome workout thing.  And for not mentioning it when I slack off.  And for happily commiserating with the pain of working out again at our age.

Thank you for doing the whole Paleo thing with me.  It has helped more than you can know.  

Thank you for being compassionate through my struggles with anxiety and depression, which have been many and terrible.  And thank you for always being there at the other end of the tunnel, smiling.

Thank you for always reading the labels to make sure our food is safe for me to eat.

Thank you for never thinking I was crazy even when I started to wonder if I was crazy trying to figure out all this crazy migraine/thyroid/allergy/IC business.  

Thank you for knowing when I need greens.  And when I need chocolate. And when I think I need chocolate but really need greens.

Thank you for being in full command of mad cooking skillz. 

Thank you for being awesome.

Thank you for being with me.

Thank you for listening.

Thank you for caring.

Love, 

Wife

 

 

Elevensies is Here!

Happy Solstice, everyone!  And happy first day of Elevensies!  

Wishing you all the merriest of merries.

So. Many. Things.

Hello, friends!  Just a quick word about life, the universe, and everything.  This last year has been generous in offering up life lessons in So. Many. Things.  First of which is not getting attached to one’s plans.  I often imagine that other people my age probably really have their act together.  But me?  I’m a pretend-to-fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of person.  Not because I think it’s fun or romantical, but because I suck at a lot of grown-up stuff like understanding insurance benefits, online banking, and filing things where I have a chance of finding them later.  Or, you know, filing things.  And as much as I’d like to say otherwise, I’m not so great at doing that whole life planning thing.  So, if you’re in any way like me, you’ll understand this bit:  you know those times when something Important comes up and you get all disciplined and you decide to make A Plan?  It’s a big deal, right? You think you’re being smart and feel all responsible and mature because you even wrote out a pros and cons list and used a calculator an shit.  You make a for realz bonafide Plan.  You are ready for action! But then just when you feel solid about the path you’re about to step on, the Universe slams the door in your face and says, “Ha!  Let’s see what you do now!”

So, what do you do?  Do you fight or do you go with the flow?  Do stick to plans stubbornly or do you change them easily?  My course this year has been to contemplate the impermanence of all things–including my seemingly awesome plans–and to go hunting for another door.  Or window. Or air vent.  I’m not picky.  Lol.  Anything is better than being stuck.  I’m finding that not infrequently, it’s better to make your plans on an Etch-a-Sketch instead of with a sharpie–it’s easier to accept the changes and begin again when things get shaken up.  And often, if you’re open to it, even better things come along.  I’m not even going to pretend that it’s been such a gracious process, because it hasn’t.  It has been filled with stress and anxiety and doubt and more stress.  But I would like to think that I have at least been gracious in seeing that I have much to learn.  And, I don’t know, maybe that I’m getting a little better at all of this.

Here’s the digs:  We are in the process of moving from St. Louis to the farm in the Ozarks where I grew up.  So many things converged cosmically to make this happen, that I can’t even begin to explain it all now.  So. Many. Things.  It has been a hard year.  Really, ridiculously hard.  But the light at the end of the tunnel is bright and beautiful.  The end result will hopefully be a wonderful win-win for us, and for my parents who still live on the farm.  We will get to be in the country and be some kind of farmers (which we’ve been wanting to do forever) and my parents will get loads of help so that they can relax and travel and do things that people do when they’re retired and not trying to manage cows and sheep and chickens and horses—you get the picture.

However, unlike we originally thought in one of the first variations of this plan, we will not be able to move to the farm at the end of spring as we’d hoped.  This change has to do with unforeseen local school district policy issues and getting our kids into the school where they want to go.  So, we’ll be moving into town not far from the farm.  It so happens that my sister has an awesome house for rent there, and will be in need of a tenant at that time.  How crazy is that win-win? It was not what we’d planned, but it is now looking like it will make for a better transition for everyone.  Kids get a good school, we are close to jobs and the university (more upcoming plans…), and we’re still close enough to the farm to help out regularly.  And then when the kiddos graduate, we can talk about moving out there full-time.  See?  This never would have occurred to me.  Thanks, crappy school district rules!

Oh, but there’s more!  Another situation involving someone’s recently herniated disc opened a door for me to consider moving to the farm right away so that I can try to be of help while someone ignores common sense and continues to work like a man half his age.  My dad is made of awesome win, and I can only hope to be as fit at 75 as he is.  Even so, there is much work to do, and I am happy to lend a hand.  So I gave my notice at work and last week moved to the farm.  I would like to make a brief aside here to say that my coworkers and boss were amazingly kind, understanding and wonderful.  I am very thankful for having had the opportunity to work with them all.  More lessons learned this year.  To be honest, this move has given me a much needed chance to catch my breath, to put energy toward things that are earthy and good, and for the first time in a long time to be tired at the end of the day because I worked hard, not because I worried hard.  It is a gift.

Here are some gratuitous farm pictures:

This is the view from the front patio overlooking the lake and the ridge of trees that encircles most of the property.  It makes a bowl of sky that I have a hard time looking away from.

Here is an artsy photograph of a wheelbarrow full of dried perilla and grass that I pulled out of the raised bed garden where my mom wants to plant an abundant crop of cilantro next year for making fresh salsa and sofrito.  Mmmmm…sofrito.

Ronin is learning how to be a farm dog.  Ronin loves being a farm dog.  Ronin loves to chase sheep.  Dre does not like searching for sheep that got lost because they freaked out and ran away from a big black dog.  Dre especially does not like looking for those sheep in the middle of the night.  For hours and hours.  In the rain.  Dre is working to teach Ronin not to chase sheep. :P

So, that’s what’s going on in my corner of the universe.  I miss my kids and my husband, but am happy for a good internet connection and that we’re close enough to drive back and forth on weekends.  I am getting into the swing of doing chores again and learning the ways of livestock.  My muscles are sore.   I do not tire of soaking up the beauty that is all around me here.   I am thankful for our wonderful family and friends, their generosity, kindness and support, without whom this move would not be possible.  And I am thankful for open doors.  I won’t have any dyeing posts for a while–my dyeing tools are boxed up for now, but I anticipate getting them unpacked in the spring.  Until then, I’ll try to entertain you all with stories of my mad greenhorn farming skillz.  Lol.

Live happy, go graciously.

Illumination and Gratitude

The lovely and intrepid traveler Snigdha of GETSETANDGO has nominated Grackle & Sun for the Illuminating Blogger Award.  Thank you very much, Snigdha, for thinking of G & S and including my blog for this award.  I appreciate the love.  :D

The rules for the Illuminating Blogger Award are as follows:

  • Visit the blogger who nominated you and thank them (did that).
  • Acknowledge that blogger on your own blog and link back to them (did that, too).
  • Share a random thing about yourself:  I like birdwatching.  A lot.  This morning, I saw that a few little birds were pecking at the ice that had frozen in the birdbath outside, so I got bundled up and went out to fill it with fresh water.  Apparently, it was the coolest thing I’ve ever done ever, because every single bird in our neighborhood (and possibly from surrounding states) came to drink and bathe in the birdbath.  My birdbath is really just a large bottom tray to a planter (you know the part that catches the water?).  It’s big enough that I put a couple bricks in it so the birds would have something to hop up on in the middle.   We had all sorts of sparrows, nuthatches, titmice (titmouses?), cardinals, blue jays, starlings, robins, flickers, woodpeckers, and what I think was a mockingbird.  So many birds, in fact, that at one point, I had to go change out the water.   But watching them all was so much fun.  So, that was my morning.
  • Nominate 5 (or more) blogs for the award, link to their blog, and notify them on their blog.  I nominate the following:
  1. Ch’i Journey~Steph inspires me with both her chi running and 1/2 marathon training plan.  I love her insight into becoming a runner, its challenges and joys. She is awesome.
  2. Local & Bespoke~Mary is a genius at dyeing, particularly with eucalypts.  I also love her posts about tree identification and stewardship.  And the stealthy cycle-by dyestuff collection runs.
  3. Daisey Jayne~Jayne is the craftiest, and I love all the fun projects and beautiful pictures on her blog.  I really love all the reclamation posts.
  4. deborahsuejackson~Sue is a very gifted and thoughtful writer and a wonderful photographer.  I’m hoping this award will get her to post more…(hint, hint).
  5. A Polish Granddaughter & Escape to Evermore~Michelle (Shelly) is a woman of many talents.  Of course I love her posts on dyeing and knitting, but I also love her posts on family and life.
  6. Mountains & Waves~Kate posts about what she loves:  mountains and waves.  I love the photography and how every post makes me want to go outside and stay there.
  7. To Watch Me Unfold~Elizabeth has the soul of a poet and the eye of an artist.  I love how thoughtful and beautiful each post is.
  8. Agujas~Knitting, quilting, traveling…Veronica’s blog is full of every good thing!  I love her gift for observing and writing about details.  I also love that she asks questions of her readers.

I started my blog as a way of keeping track of processes that I love.  It makes me really happy to know that others enjoy reading it, too.  I’ve met a lot of really wonderful and talented people through this experience, and I am very thankful for that.

Much heartfelt gratitude for everyone who takes the time to stop by Grackle & Sun.

Thank you!

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