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My Green Velvet Life

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Scratching on Green Velvet

You will turn over many a futile new leaf till you learn we must all write on scratched-out pages.  – Mignon McLaughlin (1913-1983), American writer

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Well here I am.  I apologize for my lack of attention for nearly 4 months.  In addition to the lame excuse that I’ve been busy, I have another reason for avoiding you.  I have been trying to make decisions on what I want to write about, and rather than bravely blogging my thoughts and ideas, I have chosen to simply clam up.  Actually, maybe it’s a good thing I’ve saved you from my ramblings.  If I’m going to drive you away I guess I’d rather it be due to my silence than because of what I write.

I won’t attempt to bore you by cramming 4 months of self-indulged scrap-blogging just to make myself feel better.  I will attempt to give you a brief view of where my heart and mind are these days.

New blog?  I have been tempted to start one.  I’ve been saving a list of clever names and tag lines, just in case I go through with it.  In the meantime, I’ve decided to “write on scratched-out pages” here on My Green Velvet Life.

Twitter.  You may have noticed I hang out there a lot.  It is a great place to become skilled in The Poetry of Concision and quickly share endless articles and helpful resources.  But I must admit it leaves me feeling impatient with traditional writing.  Did I mention it is fun and addicting?

Pinterest.  Pinners, I know you understand.  Non-Pinners, just imagine having the entire world as your wish book.  As you giddily pin your life away you realize your one true wish is to simply have time to pin all of your wishes . . .

State of the world.  If you know me or if you read my tweets, you know that I am a Christian, pro-life conservative who is deeply worried about the United States and the entire world.  We are not protecting life and freedom.  Why are we allowing leaders to trash the U.S. Constitution? This perfect human rights document should be an example for the entire world.  Not because Americans are better than anybody else.  Because free people are the only people capable of making our world a better place.  Weren’t we all made to live free?  Whether or not you believe in God, can you deny your innate free will?  Would you deny it in others?  Have you ever read James Otteson’s Moral Case for Capitalism?

The story of God & us.  Have you been watching The Bible on The History Channel?  An interesting comment I’ve been hearing is how people don’t like the violence in the stories. There seems to be a growing need for more understanding of God and the stories in the bible, yet a shrinking ability to find time for church, discussion, or even debate with people who don’t believe in God.  Going forward, I will try to share more of my deeper thoughts.

For now, I’ll leave you with a few tidbits:

Deeply Messy Topics (doesn’t mean they can’t still be fun)

God:  The picture that makes me smile.

Bible for the Clueless:  Stupid = not to. Practical = how to.  Miracles = do too! Jesus = listen to.

Free Will & Evolution: Why God made them perfectly messy.

Religion:  Trying to put God’s love into a box.

Free Speech & Humility:  Why social media is a spiritual tool.

Sin:  It’s anything that _____.  (My pre-school Sunday Schoolers could get this.)

Technology:  Discover what it really is.

Revelations:  It’s about seeing not waiting.

Perfectly Fun Topics

Recycling:  More cards and art projects of course.  Plus, Granny’s Never Ending Art Project . . . if I can find time to actually start it.

Brilliant Advice:  You’ll be an all-star if you take this handy item to your next spectator sport.

Recipes:  I’ll probably never top my fabulous Ode to Jergens Lotion Bagel Spread. But I’ll try!

Thank you for visiting,

jt first SMALL

Ouch.

 
Our polar white dust mop
perfectly polished up
leftovers of the days.
Flour falling and cookies calling.
Our mindless messiness
his beloved souvenirs.
Now just crumbs
so sharp they make my heart bleed.
 
Good-bye Bear . . . I know you’re giving lots of Bear Hugs in heaven . . . See you there some day . . .
 

Tiny Tales

Health. It begins with life.

 

Life. Babies love it.

Babies. Life’s newest fashions.

Where Will Words Take Us?

While it appears I’ve spent the last few weeks goofing off until all hours of the night, I’ve really been studying the miracle of our collective knowledge via the gigantic melting pot of Twitter.  We are quickly entering a stage of unpleasant growing pains.  We’ve put ourselves out here.  We can chitchat only so much before topics get serious and we must unveil our deeper selves to millions around us.  I pray that we learn to brave the power of our own words.  They can take us anywhere.

About Facing (It’s a poem.)

Friending!  Dolls tucked inside cropped boxes pose on shiny shelves where smiles are Shopped and tears are Liked.  We poke through crispy windows to pull-string happy words.  Children can’t be trusted long with unopened toys.  Ties untwist. Tiny pieces roll under the bed.  Hairs rat.  Pull-strings snap. Stop Looking at Me!  Bored, some of us go outside to play Do You See What I See? until cry babies say we have to play Who Can Be Quiet the Longest.  Tired adults agree. They make everybody sit on the couch while bullies trash our dolls and laugh from the other room.

Your Best is When?

My best cup of coffee is when I have 2 minutes to drink it.

I find the best treasures at Goodwill when I don’t have time to shop.

The best conversation with a dear friend is when I’m on my lunch hour and have 5 minutes to get back to work.

What’s your best? When? Isn’t it funny how it pops in when you’re not ready for it?

 

Dear Everything: I love you but let’s cool it.

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If you have had the patience to keep up with My Green Velvet Life, you have no doubt figured out I am completely unreliable. I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed and inadequate these past few weeks. We recently got our carpet replaced and wood floors refinished. Since this required us to move everything touching the floors, I couldn’t resist getting some major painting and cleaning done as well.  Still a lot to do, but overall it feels nice to have a somewhat spiffy house again.

But the next time so much work is involved, it will be a downsize to an easier to maintain home. As I start strolling through my 50’s I am seeing the wisdom in living with less space and stuff.  (Dear God, please help me be brave when the time comes.)

Lately I have tried to be content with the simple pleasures of people and home.  A person can’t always be everything, have everything, or share everything. Trust me. I’ve tried. (And I’ll keep trying. Just not right now.)

But a person can buy a fabulous new oilcloth for her beat-up kitchen table which makes her feel like a legendary-English-novel character.  She doesn’t have to worry about the wrinkles. They can be part of her story.

Spot of tea anyone?

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How Big is Your Easter Basket?

As we celebrate hope and love this Easter, I’ve been thinking about some of the words of Jesus:

Be like children.  Faith and love. These are natural states of our being, from the moment we enter life. Babies bask in love. You might wonder how a newborn baby can have faith. I believe the very act of being on earth is a commitment of faith. How beautiful and strong you are, just to be born into God’s creation!  Religion is very lovely, yet with many rules we must learn as we grow up. Many people need the structure of certain kinds of religion to help learn and share God’s love–we’re all at different levels of understanding–but let’s remember that religion is structure only–not the contents–of God’s love.  Think of it as a jar or a box we use to help us hold God’s love. If there is no structure, the contents simply spill into everything–not exactly a bad thing, considering the content, although it can be a bit messy for us humans who tend to like structure.

Love your neighbor as yourself.  This gets complicated only because we each have different ideas about how to share love. We get hurt when we expect others to love us in the same way we give our love to them. This is why babies are so easy to love. They haven’t learned to think of love in different ways yet. For them, love is easily defined: sleep, eat, clean clothes, warm cuddling . . .

When much has been given a person, much will be asked of that person.  I don’t think Jesus had socialism in mind. I think he was talking about personal responsibility. God gave each of us our own free will. What shall we do with this amazing gift? Use it! We help write The Story God Made. He is with us as we make choices that affect every page-turning scenario, but he wants us to do the page turning.  Every time we make a life-affirming choice, no matter how small, we help push our story into a higher level of light and love, to the place God has promised to us.

I am The Way.  But what of people who have never heard of Jesus or the bible? Who’ve never been baptized? No problem, because God works big. Just think of what Jesus embodies: Simple, beautiful love. Love is The Way. It is so big you can’t fit it completely into any jar or box.  It is, however, pure delight to try and fit into an Easter basket.

Happy Easter! Wishing you light and love!

2012: Kicking Around the Bucket List

Still to Do, Still to Do:

Paint our woodwork a creamy, dreamy white.  Not all of it, just the nondescript pieces. (My hubby just doesn’t understand.)  I’ll take some of these lovely white book shelves too.

Pinned Imagefrom houzz.com

Take entire family to see Tran-Siberian Orchestra next Christmas.

Pinned Image

Write the story of my life in poetic form.  Hmmmm, I better get crackin’ on this.

Start sewing again.

Visit England / Ireland / Scotland.  3 months!  But yikes how to leave my family that long???

Pinned Imagefrom worldatlas.com

Should probably add Win the Lottery (see above).

Scan in all family pictures.  I’ve been working this for years.  Many more to go.

Silver-streaked hair.  See gorgeous example: http://pinterest.com/pin/69031806757990809/  I’m getting there.  One more cut and all color should be just about gone.  It has been a bit scary.  The hardest part was the first few weeks.

Start planting a vegetable garden again.

Tonight:  Cozy up at home for dinner and a movie (chicken breasts, roasted Brussels sprouts and baked potatoes; and movie John Adams).

So, What are you doing New Year’s Eve?

And the rest of you life?

May it be blessed!

How Pinteresting!

My newest fascination:  Pinterest, the most amazing, satisfying and useful tool I’ve seen since Facebook.  It is basically a site where you share visual bookmarks of everything you love–a giant wish book you can organize to your heart’s delight by pinning onto “boards”.

But more.  You instantly connect with kindred spirits and discover new people, places, information/ideas you might not otherwise ever notice.  Sure you love your Facebook friends, but that doesn’t mean you want to be constantly inundated with their top 25 favorite sites of the day.  Pinterest is pure sharing and discovery, without strings attached.

But even more.  All of this instant connecting creates a very raw and powerful tool for marketing, communications and the human experience.

http://techcrunch.com/2011/11/06/rise-pinterest-shift-search-discovery/

Why do Facebook and Pinterest thrive?  Because people need to give of themselves.  This is especially evident at Christmas time.  We wipe ourselves out looking for perfect gifts, but really it is so easy.  It’s that little part of yourself you need (and can afford) to share.  My grandmother liked to give Avon and socks.  I like to give books.  My daughter likes to give experience (tickets to a play, movie, etc.).  As a receiver of gifts, we should be especially thankful for those truly given in the spirit of sharing one’s self.  I have a bittersweet story on how I learned this.  My birthday is in early January, a notoriously sucky time for everybody.  One year when I was a young adult, my mother gave me a nice calendar for Christmas (one of her favorite items to give).  A week later, for my birthday, she gave me exactly the same thing.  I was so hurt, but I never said anything.  When she died a couple of years later I realized she wasn’t doing so well when she gave it to me.  But it wasn’t until a few years ago that I finally got the real lesson.  She really, really wanted me to have that dang calendar!  It wasn’t about what I wanted but what she needed to give me.  If I had saved her gift I’d have it hanging where I could literally see her love for me every day.

Oh yes I’m still on the subject of Pinterest . . . It is a powerful way to simply share ourselves . . .

Don’t ask what the world needs.  Ask what makes you come alive and go do it.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.  — Howard Thurman (1900-1981), American theologian, clergyman & activist

To get started, you must sign up using your Facebook or Twitter account.  (I realize this is a turn-off for some people.)  Then you simply start pinning away everything you love or just catches your eye.  You can pin directly from your own Internet adventures, from your own files, or re-pin what others have pinned.  Plus, you can easily follow other pinners which is a great way to expand your discoveries.

At this time I don’t believe there is a way to keep your pins private.  Too bad because it would make a useful shopping/planning tool; however, a really fun way to use Pinterest is to make “gift boards” for others.  It’s purely a game, just like when I was a girl sharing the Sears catalog with my big sister.  We’d each pick a side and then we “got” everything on our sides–unless trade agreements were made of course.  On Pinterest, I gave a dreamy swimming pool to my entire family, a number of cute kitties to my daughter, and some very nostalgic memories to my sisters.  Pure fun in the name of love.

Sure, my hubby thinks I’m just playing pretend for 3 hours, but really I am organizing, planning, dreaming and connecting in a way that is quickly reshaping our world.  For example, in a matter of seconds, I discovered and pinned:

A beautiful picture of Saint Cecilia, my grandmother’s namesake.

This amazing creature.  I call him Little Angel.

All the uses for WD-40–I still have the email-that’s-been-around-the-earth-a-trillion-times, but so much more handy to have a quick pin.

Some lushy vintage curtains . . . thinking of painting my bedroom a soft silver . . .

Oops I forgot to mention one thing.  You can even create a Things Not to Do! board:

In the waves of social media, Pinterest is a whopper.  Ride it!

Unpack Your Bags. Do Not Go There.

Pack your bags, we’re going on a guilt trip!  — Jimmy Buffett (b. 1946), American musician

Sorry Jimmy.  NOT!

If you have a gazillion important things you should be doing you certainly don’t need to go there, down that spirally journey of guilt.  I mean, it’s just one more thing to do and who needs that?

Now doesn’t it feel wonderful to be given permission to stop worrying and beating yourself up?

Yep, I know what you’re thinking.  Sure, wonderful for a minute.  I’ve unpacked my bags.  Now I have to do the laundry.  And download my pictures.  And pay the bills.  And clean out the car.  And water the plants.  And get groceries.  And pluck my eyebrows.  And mow the grass.  And check email and Facebook.  And . . .

Well, maybe a guilt trip isn’t such a bad little getaway afterall . . . as long as you pack a margarita and your favorite Jimmy Buffett songs.

By-the-Ways: Quick Pull Overs

I have a big green blog. I need a big green car.

I haven’t forgotten you.  Just trying to keep up with life in the granny lane.  What lane are you in?  I don’t think any of them are slow any more.  So pull over and take a little stretch: 

  1. 7 Keys to Your Creative Genius – Keys??? Heck, I’d like to know where the CAR is. 😉
  2. What would Don Draper do? – I’m really mad for Mad Men.
  3. Fingerprint Trees – You don’t have to be a kid enjoy this.
  4. They Might Be Awesome – Or this.
  5. Sexist Retro Ads We’d Like to Forget – But love to remember!
  6. Mates for Supper + Naked Ladies – Hmm . . . in case the first five didn’t get your attention.

Now back to the super highway of life.  Drive safely!

Our Idiot-Tested Universe

 

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.  — Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), Italian artist, architect &  engineer whose genius epitomized the Renaissance humanist ideal

I finally bought a new camera.  Nothing fancy, just an unsexy Samsung PL120.  It takes great pictures, is reasonably priced, has fun features (see picture above!) and is nicely intuitive to use.

Normally, my savvy husband does all the research for our electronics shopping adventures.  This time, however,  I had decided, since I’m the techie idiot, who better to do the idiot testing?  My method was simple.  I went to Target and played with the cameras in the $150 range.  My idea of playing with electronics is disqualifying anything I can’t reasonably navigate within a minute.  Zero.  Patience.

Once I disqualified all but the Samsung, I did a quick research from my phone to see what others had to say.  I smiled.  I’m not the only idiot out here who appreciates simplicity.

I also appreciate the countless generations who came before me, those who made my camera buying experience possible.

It’s partly sentimental, because my dear dad was a techie in the Associated Press back in the 60’s and 70’s.  His huge, company-issued station wagons were only big enough to hold ONE computer.  He died at 38 and we often think of the immense joy he would have found at being on this earth in these days of amazing technology.

But there’s something else.  I have come to believe simplicity and technology are about much more than electronics and other cool stuff.  It’s about Project Humanity’s collective and progressive discovery of God, who built the universe upon the foundation of  witty mathematics.  Think of snapping your pictures and putting them on Facebook.  How could you possibly explain this to someone living in biblical times?  Or maybe you could show them?  Might they insist it was the work of God who put those glowing images in strange boxes all over the world?  Well . . . they’d be right.  Doesn’t the discovery of cameras, computers, the Internet–even our brains that figured out the cameras, computers, the Internet–hinge on thousands of years of collective mathematical discovery?  God is love but he talks in numbers.

I love that God says he is light.  In the story of Noah’s Ark, he gives us a rainbow to show his promise of love.  I’m guessing back in those days, people had no idea a rainbow was literally the revelation of light.   I think God was giving us more than a promise.  He was giving us a clue.

Maybe you’re not into techie stuff?  Maybe you just want to bask in the simplicity of nature?  Okay.  Sit under the trees.  Gaze at the stars.  Have zero patience for anything other than their beauty.  But don’t be fooled.  It’s thanks to God Technology that they are nicely intuitive to use.

Does the book of life have you feeling squished?

Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.  — C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), British scholar & writer
 

Life is so full stories and characters. Each one of us is infinitely amazing and complicated, yet still we crave more adventure than just ourselves. We need each others’ stories. What a miracle that by sharing our vast complexities we find stunningly simple peace and beauty. Aren’t we all bookmarkers? Unforgettable characters sticking between the pages of this gigantic book of life, just waiting for others to find us and smile? It’s no wonder we feel we carry the weight of the world . . . We do!

You guessed it. Bookmarks have been on my mind. I made some to donate as bingo prizes for a local elderly care center, and since then, I’ve gotten a bit obsessed.

I love that a bookmark can tell more story than the book itself:

Before you go, you might like to check out this fun site: Mirage Book Mark

Steven Spielberg said “Why pay a dollar for a bookmark? Why not use the dollar for a bookmark?” I say, “Why not use something priceless, such as yourself?”

Here’s the Secret

My 7 year-old  grandson Monkey asked me the other day why I’m always on the computer.  I guess he doesn’t understand that I’m out here on amazing and diverse Internet adventures.  He just sees that I’m sitting here (another lesson there for another time) . . .

So back to the secret.

I told him I have a lot to do.

Geez, he says.  Why don’t you just get it ALL done . . . in . . . one . . . day?

And he meant business.

The next day, he came up to my desk and fussed at me for not getting it all done the day before.

So now you know.

No excuses.

The kid ought to teach seminars.

A Hole in the Box: One Shot Wednesday Poem

Thought I’d crawl out from my cold-gray-days induced hibernation and share my One Shot Wednesday poem.  Cuz when you’re feelin’ blue, no other color will do . . .

 
 
A Hole in the Box
 You let me wax.
Carnation Pink.  Blue Violet.
Gold and Sepia too.
 
You on the other page.
Outlined firmly.
Colored softly.
And Sipped Coffee (a color in my book).
 
Somehow growing up.
I colored my life.
Spring Green.  Magenta.
Midnight Blue.
 
Somehow growing old.
Still scribbling.
Granny Apple Green.
Now outlining.
Silver and Bittersweet.
 
Always looking.
Forever missing.
That perfect hue.
That Mary Evelyn Blue.

 

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