Sunday, January 23, 2011

the can of worms i didn't really mean to open.

 wow. writing a post about religion and spirituality, and what they mean to me, was a lot more time consuming and harder than i thought.  religion is such a hot button topic, and you have to choose your words carefully.  i really hope i don't offend anyone, as that was certainly not my intention behind this post.  i didn't mean to get involved in the topic of religion at all, but thought it might be helpful for me to explain my thoughts on it, since some people might be wondering, "how can you be more spiritual if you aren't religious?"

become more spiratual

Sunday morning.  The perfect time for a "become more spiritual" post.  Spell check just told me I had been spelling spiritual wrong.  Maybe I should write a post before I do my projects.  Anyway.....

I'm not a religious person at all.  And I don't want to be.  Being spiritual is different than being religious.  If I were religious I would have a clear and defined path based on one particular religion, which would guide me in every aspect of how I lived my life on this planet.  Becoming more spiritual, as I would like to do, will include meditating, and setting aside the time to reflect on how I wish to improve my life by staying true to a strong set of morals.  I want to strive to become a more positive person, and focus more on everything I am grateful for.  Organized religion is flawed in my opinion. Too many believers are hypocritical.  I don't think the religion or idea is at fault, it's the followers that taint the good image I might otherwise have of a particular religion.

Religion, to me, is like a comforting story.  Something we tell our children to calm their fears of the unknown so they can fall asleep.  The truth is, we don't know.  We won't know what happens after we die until we die.  A friend of mine once told me (about choosing a religion) that it's like choosing our favorite lie.  Jesus Christ is no more real to me than Santa Claus.  Probably once real men, great men.  People started talking about these great men, re-telling these tales from generation to generation.  As we all know from the game of telephone, these stories can get twisted and mis-interpreted, shaped by the experiences of the storyteller over time.  The stories take on the current societal trends of the time, with vivid magic and folklore, as well as strong political undertones and fears.  Don't get me wrong, I believe that religion as a whole has good intentions behind it.  You can learn some great lessons from living a religious life, like selflessness, respect, obedience, patience, hope, charity, and general "goodwill towards men".

Technically I am agnostic.  This means that I am open to the idea of religion being true, but without scientific proof or seeing it with my own eyeballs, I can't be certain.  I have gone to church, and prayed to God, and even got baptized.  But I can honestly say, I never received any answers from Him.  Not a sign.  Not even the image of the virgin Mary on a potato chip!  I can't say that I believe with 100% certainty that I believe in ghosts and aliens, but there are too many stories by reputable people to dismiss the thought (and just think about how vast our universe is!).  I get a lot of comfort from reading books about Buddhism.  The words bring so much prospective on life, teaching you how to "live in the now", and engage fully in whatever you may be currently doing.

Saying you are agnostic is often tricky.  Most people don't really know what agnostic means, and automatically assume that  you are an atheist.  An atheist is a person who doesn't believe an any sort of God or any higher power at all.  They believe that this life is it, and that when we die we die.  End of story.  Atheists are very logical and scientific.  This is not what I believe at all.  I want there to be something!  The idea of Heaven sounds much more appealing than rotting underground & being eaten by maggots.  Even the things I don't want to believe, I still sort of do.  How can you argue when you hear someone say, "the Devil is among us."?!  Then again, atheists have a point.  I can't rule that idea out either.  If this life is all we have, we might as well make the best of it, savoring all the little morsels of happiness that we can. 

Who am I to say that one religion is better than another?!

I just plan on lighting a candle each day, and taking a few moments to meditate, and write down a few things that I am grateful for in a journal.  I plan on writing down my morals, and discussing them with my family as often as possible.  And every day I plan to practice being a happy person, that I can be proud of when I am old.  You have to strive for something.  Something beyond the day to day.  I will be looking forward to having that little bit of calm and peace in each and every day.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

go on more dates.

go on more dates i am madly in love with my boyfriend, and we spend so much time together, but we rarely go on proper dates.  we've been together for almost 3 years, and while i still enjoy his company, we have settled into a comfort zone that does not include dressing up or going out.  i love and cherish our cozy "stay home" time, with it's jammies, movies, and pizza, but it would be really nice for us to hold onto that intoxicating feeling that comes from trying to impress one another & connecting on a deeper level.  it doesn't really matter what we do, as long as we are having fun, looking as attractive as possible, flirting, and connecting without distractions.  these are some dates i want to try in 2011........
shooting range
putting together a puzzle
a little road trip
park picnic
long nature walks
painting together
cooking together
going to new local restaurants
going to a thrift store and spending $5 on each other
playing a fun video game together
do a d.i.y. project together
go to the library and research about a different country (vacation ideas!)
learn a foreign language
visit a planetarium
go horseback riding
visit a little nearby town
go to a museum 
sit at a coffee shop
go hiking
go on a bike ride
teach each other things we know (like knitting/learning how to drive a stick shift)

I'm excited to try new cute little dates like this.  Got any more ideas??

Saturday, January 15, 2011

be more social.

be more social
i'm a serious recluse.  i'm really good at it.  i guess it comes naturally when you have kids, a boyfriend, and 3 animals, but still.  i like being alone.  i truly enjoy my own company....and crave it actually.  but after a while of isolating yourself from the outside world, you start to wonder what your two other friends are doing.  and when a girl stops dressing up, she stops feeling pretty (well i do anyway).  i'm really excited to go out tonight.  kc and i are going out to a burlesque show, followed by a concert.  i can't wait to put on fake eyelashes & high heels and smile with my friends!  i also plan on being more prompt in my letter writing to my lovely pen-pals.  i miss that.  so plan on hearing from me more often, in all forms of communication.  i'm almost old, so i gotta go out and see the world while i still can!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

how to make a doggie bed.

     I wanted to share with you all a little diy I came up with the other day, inspired by project restyle (click on the link in my sidebar for details). doggie bed before after
  Our doggie was getting a wee bit too big for his puppy bed, so he needed a new one, see.... 
somebody is getting too big for his bed.I'm broke and I can't sew, so naturally I thought of the very green living approach, shopping in my own house for supplies...

We had a micro-suede comforter that was really soft and cushy (but nobody ever wanted to use because the un-natural fibers were uncomfortable to sleep in), and had some cute doggie print fleece on hand.  One of my Christmas gifts to the girls was making no-sew fleece blankets together.  The girls tried, bless their hearts, ...but little fingers cut wobbly lines when working with fleece....

 My instructions are pretty simple....
1. Grab an old comforter, and about a yard of patterned fleece, and a yard of contrasting solid colored fleece.
2.  Fold up your comforter to a good size for your dog.
3.  Lay your fleece out on top of the folded comforter.
4.  Cut excess fabric all around the edges of the comforter, leaving about a 5 inch boarder all around.
5.  Start cutting fringe all around the edges of your bed, in one inch strips, also cutting a square out at each corner.
6.  Starting at one corner, tie top and bottom pieces of fleece together at the fringe, double knotting.  Continue around the bed, leaving one side open at this point.
7.  Stuff bed with folded comforter.
8.  Finish tying off the last side.
9.  Trim fringe all around the bed so it is all relatively the same length.
10.  To wash, just untie one side again and wash cover and comforter separately.
Your doggie might settle right into his new bed as you are working on it....this is a good sign.  All my animals seem to like sleeping on fleece.  Hope you find this useful!

Monday, January 10, 2011

2011 resolutions.

new years resolutions
...oh resolutions.  Do you guys make resolutions?  Most people don't make resolutions anymore.  There's a really funny and insightful blog post about making/keeping resolutions (and lack there of) here.  Me, I always make resolutions.  I can't help it.  I do these things.  It's for the same reason I eat cake on my birthday, and wear green on St. Patrick's day.  You just should.  It's a good idea really, and even if they aren't stuck to completely, they are made with good intentions.  Anything meant to encourage you to grow as a person has to be a good thing to get involved in.
     I made a mini journal of my resolutions, because if they're tangible & cute I gotta stick to them right?  But I have like, 20 resolutions, so I won't overwhelm you with a crazy image heavy post.  I plan on featuring each one separately, spacing them out over the next month or so, so you don't get sick of hearing me blab on an on about them.  :)

     Also, there is a great series of resolution posts called catching confetti, over at the Here's lookin at me kid blog.  You should go check them out......they are fun, and most of them are going on my resolution list as well!
     Whatever your resolutions are this year, I hope you can stick to your guns and follow through.  Don't aim so high that you're guaranteed to fail.  Resolutions should be reasonable, fun, and something you actually want to do.  If you don't really want to lose weight or stop smoking, don't.  You're never going to be able to change until you're truly ready.  And don't feel guilty for choosing fun resolutions instead.  If you feel a huge flood of guilt for doing so, than maybe you should focus on being kind to yourself instead.
     I have a ton of things I am really excited to work on this year (being kinder to myself is one of them), and I can't wait to share them with you!  What are your resolutions this year?  I would love it if you left a comment linking to your resolution posts also.  Good luck!!!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

How to keep warm in a cold house.

When you live in an old rickety house with poor insulation, it can be really really hard to get warm.  Hopefully these tips can help you out.....

Tips for Getting Toasty...

1. Use space heaters!!!  These little guys pack a lot of punch.  They seriously work really really well. You have to make sure to close your room off to keep the heat in.  Camp out in the warmest room!  And these things suck up a ton of electricity, so.....don't use one in each room in the same area of your home or you might trip the switch and find yourself out in the cold with a flashlight searching for the right switches in the circuit breaker.  Not fun.  This has happened to us a few times.  It also happens if you have one heater on, plus TV, dvd, phone & laptop plugged in, and the lights on.  Just sayin.
2. Light candles.  It really works.  Sure it's a small amount, but it's still fire.  You'd really be amazed at the amount of heat that candles can generate.  The great smell and glow they create is so warm!
3. Cuddle up to your favorite furry friend.  Dogs & cats are the coziest!!!
4. Layer.  Don't be ashamed to wear long johns, fuzzy socks under slippers, sweats, scarves & hats....gloves?
5. Bake.  Turn that oven on.  It will heat up your kitchen.  Make some warm comfort food.  Mmmmm.
6. Consume hot beverages.  Tea, coffee, and hot chocolate are so amazing when it comes to warming up!  Just holding a warm steamy mug makes you feel taken care of.  Hot soup and bread are also really great in a freezing house.
7. Dry your hair!  I always think I'm going to heat up in the shower (since I like mine scorching hot), but it never ever works.  Because even in the steamiest shower, you are still naked (and wet!) in an ice cold bathroom.  Plugging in a space heater helps a lot (be extra careful with your appliances around water!).  Just make sure every inch of you is bone dry before you step out of the bathroom.  You have to get into the habit also of closing yourself in and creating little pods of warmth when you're in a cold house, so remember to keep your bathroom door shut when showering or it will ruin the whole thing.  If you have someone in your house that loves you a lot, you might be able to convince them to throw your towel into the dryer, and bring you a hot towel (and maybe even hot clothes too!).  If using lotion, consider switching to that kind you can use in the shower, or an oil (they don't feel cold), or at least warm up your lotion a little in your hands before slapping it on, because lotion can make you cold all over again.  Layer up, and lock in that heat by getting under a blanket stat.
8. Watch a movie.  Turning on the tele will generate a lot of heat.  So will a laptop sitting on your lap.What a nice excuse to cuddle up with a hot drink and watch a movie in bed?!  It's survival.
9.  This sounds ridiculous, but go outside for a while.  Take your dog on a walk, or shovel snow.  When you come back in, your house won't seem that cold after all. It will actually feel quite cozy!
10.  Tack up blankets to your windows.  It looks ugly, but hey, it works.  Check your insulation.  Sometimes old houses are really poorly insulated.  If you have the money, spend a little time repairing the cracks, and replacing old windows & doors.
11.  Call the repair guy.  It might be an easy fix.  Honestly, you might just need to change your furnace filter.
12.  Close off rooms you aren't using regularly.  The guest bedroom doesn't need to be heated.  Shut off the vent and close the door.  Remember, every time you open it you will lose the precious heat you've been working so hard at keeping.
13.  Get an electric blanket.  Or at least make your bed as comfy as possible.  Flannel sheets, a down comforter, and a heavy quilt will work wonders.
14.  Stop watching movies about snow!  They say if you look at something warm, you will actually start to feel warm.  It sounds dumb, but sometimes we can trick our minds into thinking differently.  Watch a desert or a surf  movie.  Look at summer vacation photos on your laptop, thankful you aren't sweating buckets in a swampy jungle!!!

...I hope these tips can help.  Tell me, what are your tricks for staying warm??

Monday, January 3, 2011

new year

It's a new year.  Time for new & fresh ideas, new resolutions, new goals.  I wanted to give my blog a fresh new look to go along with the new year.  Lighter, more peaceful.  I've been allowing my resolutions and goals to bounce around in my brain for these first few days of 2011.  I'm a little overwhelmed with the planning process that's going on in my head right now.  I think if I could sum up my goals into one sort of phrase or idea, it would be, "follow through".  So many times I come up with all these fantastic ideas only to find myself scared of actually doing them, and coming up with plenty of excuses to not actually do what I intended.  It's easier not to.  It's safer staying in my own little bubble.  The thing is though, ...I'm not comfortable with that anymore.  The time has come for me to really push forward and motivate myself to chase after my dreams, however big or small.  Over the next few days, I plan on sharing with you my 2011 resolution list, my "29 before 30" list, and my blogging plans for this year.  There are lots of brave and exciting changes on the horizon, and I am so optimistic!