silvery strands of thought

Wordless Wednesday: Jordan Valley Park Irises

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She’s Back!

I don’t really feel like blogging tonight, but Sarah does! She just re-opened shop on her A Fool of Myself blog. Go check it out–it’s chock full of yummy recipes!

Tuesdays with Linden’s Favorite Links | 23-Aug-2011

I’m beginning a new leg on my fitness journey, so today I’m going to share several pages and resources which help or inspire me, starting with Pamela’s post on Thrive Personal Fitness which explains this new direction I’m taking.

  • The Great Fitness Blogging Experiment: Pamela’s introduction to our partnership (mine is coming soon!)
  • Why You Should Keep a Food Diary: One of the first tasks Pamela gave me was to write down everything I ate. No calorie counting, just an honest record of what goes into my body. Here are some reasons why.
  • HalHigdon.com: This is where I get my training programs, even though sometimes I use it for inspiration to craft a training plan that takes into consideration my current time availability and current running level
  • Ozark Greenways: Are you running in Springfield? This website shows you all of the great places to run in Springfield, with marked paths, good parking, and even some restrooms.

Healthy Obsessions: Coffee, Crafties, & Besties

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It just sort of happened. Sarah, her best friend since 3rd grade Jenny, and I met a couple Monday nights in a row at a local coffee shop, each bringing our current craft projects. Before we realized it even, we had a standing date.

Now, some Monday nights have prior commitments, like SgfBlogs.com on the second Monday each month, but anytime we don’t have something like that, it’s Coffee, Crafties, & Besties Night.

Sarah has been working on a small-block scrapghan, and finished the blocks tonight.

Jenny does embroidery–tea towels or baby onsies–and this evening she had formed a little tea pot in her embroidery ring.

I’ve been working on a gift scarf and, my piece de resistance, a large, cozy afghan all for me.

In a couple hours a week, we leave work and family and stress and enter a place that is relaxed and stimulating, engaging our creative selves, indulging in a craft that we don’t get to splurge on at any other time during our week.

In a couple hours a week, I have found a mini-vacation that leaves me refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the week.

Our conversation follows no pattern, no rules. We natter, we discuss, we explain, we tell stories, all while our hands and minds are relishing in a favorite craft. It’s almost divine.

What do you do to disconnect from your stresses and replenish your soul each week? Or… what do you dream about having the time to do? If you’re in the second category, don’t ignore yourself any more; make time for YOU this week, perhaps with dear friend. Tell us about it in the comments.

3 Jazz Albums You’ve Got To Listen To

I love jazz.

I played piano in the jazz ensemble in high school, and I liked jazz then, but I love it now. I’d love to be able to tell you exactly when it went from tunes to soul music, but I can’t. Sorry. :)

I can tell you some songs or albums that vibrate on the same frequency as my heart strings.

Miles Davis Kind of Blue
Heavy on piano, soft and insistent, this album picks me up when I’m down and can drop me gently to sleep. It’s short, only 5 songs, but it’s deep.

Colin Stetson New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges
I found this album through NPR and I immediately went home and bought it. Stetson plays the bass saxophone and the album was recorded in one take with more than 20 microphones placed around the room, including contact mics on Stetson’s throat and the instrument.

It blows my own mind. Mostly because it’s amazing and experimental and creative, but also because it evokes a sort of abstract nightmare I’ve had off and on since I was 11.

Maynard Ferguson’s Chameleon
Oh man! If you need energy, this is the album. “Gospel John,” “Chameleon,” and “Superbone Meets the Bad Man” rock my face off. This album swings hard, and it features some famous jazz musicians, like Herbert Hancock and Chick Corea, as well as other artists like Paul McCartney and Ira Gershwin.

Bonus: Check out Maynard Ferguson’s version of “Birdland.” We played this song in jazz band, so it epitomizes great jazz to me, in a way.

Soulcaring: No More Working Lunches

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An omelet with sautéed onions, a handful of real bacon bits, and cheese. My favorite coffee in my cute owly mug. A NOOK book in front of me, but no cell phone. Birds twittering or cicadas chirping. Wind gently swaying the trees. And, oh, the fresh air!

One of the most soulcaring activities of mine is enjoying a book on the deck with a meal–breakfast, lunch, or dinner–and I’ve been making it a priority lately.

Working from home is ideal for many reasons, but it presents its own set of challenges too. In the past, I’d grab my meal and head back to my office, a working lunch, if you will. I’d “work” all the time, but suffer from lack of focus and burn out, all while accomplishing less than I believed I should have in the amount of time I put in.

But the combined influences of FlyLady and Simple Abundance have made me respond to the impulse to slow down and eat outside. Even if it’s only for 15 minutes, this ritual refreshes me almost as much as the food energizes me. I tend to choose food that makes me feel good about eating too. Why indulge my authentic self while trashing my body? That doesn’t make any sense.

Sometimes, I do allow myself to take some reading-intensive work outside for these stress-relieving meals, and you know what? I focus better and have higher productivity from the change of scenery and digital disconnectedness–no more phone chiming incessantly or email/Facebook notifications breaking my concentration.

How can you build peace into your life? How are you already loving yourself enough to pamper yourself daily?

Healthy Obsessions: FlyLady

Sarah introduced me to FlyLady back in June, and I took a while to warm up to the (admittedly awful) webpage, but when I did, all I found was solid content.

I’ve learned in some marketing workshops that features don’t sell but benefits do, so I am going to give you some FlyLady benefits.

You can declutter your house in 15-minute chunks. Are you like me and, for whatever reason, never learned to keep house? FlyLady will teach you, and she’ll do it lovingly, practically, and fun-spirited.
Busy busy busy? Aren’t we all. You can find 15 minutes to declutter each day. Your spirit and your family’s spirit need you to.

Feel overwhelmed about the clutter? FlyLady turns that feeling into hope.
You will find out just how much you can really accomplish in 15 minutes and slay the engorging excuses that challenge you and create the ironing pile that’s seen three seasons or the rooms you haven’t really looked in in years. Me, I found out that what I was sure would take me all night–the ironing I’ve been neglecting since Christmas–really only takes about 20 minutes total. Easy peasy.

And the best benefit by far??

A shiny sink; clear, clutter-free surfaces; and the huge weight of clutter and chaos lifted off your soul. Well, what are you waiting for?! FlyLady.net

A Running Equation

running on a treadmill <<< running outside alone < running with your awesome running partner

I count my blessings every day that grad school brought me together with my best friend and running partner, Sarah. When you find a good one, it’s magic.

5 Reasons To Get A Vizsla

Back in February, we decided it was time: we were ready to make the leap from cat owners to dog owners, and Sarah O., a dear friend from way back in elementary school helped us choose the breed. We found new homes for Naveed and Stella, found a breeder, and paid our deposit. We became the proud alphas to one adorable Vizsla puppy in early April, and I’ve (mostly) never looked back. Here’s why.

  • No undercoat. Don’t like shedding or that “doggie smell”? Then you’re on the right track.
  • “Demonstrably affectionate” is in the Vizsla AKC description. If you want a dog that keeps her distance, this is not the breed for you. Rowdy, our pup, loves to be with us all the time. She’s cuddly and gives lots of what I call puppylovins, but what is technically face and ear and hair and chin and whatever-she-can-lick licks.
  • Independent and intelligent. Rowdy was sitting on command after three days. She “gets” obedience behaviors (aka tricks) quickly. Without consciously training her, she has learned “go inside,” “go outside,” and “drink some water.”
  • Generally healthy. Vizzies can get hip dysplasia, but it’s rare and something you reasonably plan to avoid by choosing a breeder who can show you the OFA records for the pup’s pedigree. That’s about it. Long life and a great chance for fewer vet bills? Yes, please!
  • Athletic. Fight the fat by going on the Vizsla training plan. As we were told before we even adopted Rowdy, a happy Vizsla is a tired Vizsla. She generally requires two long walks a day to keep and even keel, but even then, she’s energetic. We liked the breed because we wanted a running dog, and even though our vet has advised us to wait to run with her until she’s full grown to prevent joint problems, we are much more active than our pre-dog days.
  • These are just a few of the factors that made us choose the Hungarian Vizsla, a hunter, pointer, retriever, and lethal licker. What made you choose YOUR dogs breed?

Specific Needs in Joplin — May 28, 2011

Short background: I grew up in Neosho, which is about 15 minutes south of Joplin, Missouri. Neosho is a small town, so we teenagers spent a lot of time in Joplin. Now, 11 years after graduation, many of my friends live in Jopin, and my mom does too. I can’t tell you how greatful I am that everyone I know is safe and well, but that doesn’t stop me from trying to help however I can.

Today, I helped a high school friend, Mac, find some work for him and some other ex-Army buddies who are traveling to Joplin from Tennessee. Jacque connected me to Joplin Family Worship Center, who is sending out teams to work through the rubble. While on the phone with Cindy, we talked about need the JFWC has, and I want to help get some of those items from the Springfield area to Joplin.

The especially need items that you don’t want to wear used:

  • bras
  • socks
  • underwear
  • boxers

They also need work items:

  • men’s work boots
  • work gloves
  • duct tape
  • tarps
  • chainsaw bar oil

For their meal ministry—they’re serving food from 9 AM until 8 PM—they need these items:

  • peanut butter and jelly
  • macaroni and cheese
  • cereal

Find the entire list—updated daily—at JFWC.org

So if your office or church wants to help, collect the following items, contact me by commenting, sending me a Facebook message, or calling/texting me at 417.597.3045. I will deliver the items to JFWC next week, either Thursday or Friday—or sooner—depending on how quickly we fill up my car. (Yes, that’s a challenge!)