Jumping into Life

Letter JAs the year begins to wind down the realization strikes that I am not even half-way through the “Living with Intention Alphabetically” series. Time to get busy and get serious to finish of the alphabet by the end of the year.

We are up to the letter J, which is for jump. Often when we think about jumping into the fray, or challenge, the vision of a huge jump comes to mind. At least for me, for a long time, the idea of jumping into anything, meant taking a big leap. It meant something big and significant, something noteworthy and noticeable. Like maybe jumping out of an airplane, which by the way I want to do as soon as my doctor gives me the all clear.

Pictured below is my niece a couple of years ago when she took the plunge and went skydiving. Jumping our of a perfectly good airplane on purpose.
Cropped-A jumCing out of a plane

Sometimes though, little jumps will take us a long way. Remember playing hopscotch? We only jumped from one little box to another. Yet in no time we had completed the outline and were waiting our next turn.

Maybe your jump into life appears small to others, or even feels like a tiny step to you, but it will have a big effect.

Remember what Neil Armstrong said as he stepped  onto the moon:

“One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

No one knew what the future held, or where we would go from there. But, in that moment, he was taking a small step, but we people as a whole were taking a huge step from traveling by foot or horse, to soaring the skies and visiting far away planets.

Whatever jump taken today, whether large or small, will lead to more steps and more progress and an outcome unimaginable at the moment.

Whatever the jump, whether it’s big or small, whatever field it’s in, we never know how big an impact it will have on our future.

A jump can  be as simple as learning a dance in the privacy of our home, or joining a dance group and dancing in public. It can even be taking the opportunity to do some impromptu dancing on the dance floor at an festival. It can be as private as writing in a journal, or as public as writing, and publishing a book.

The size of the jump doesn’t matter. What’s important is that we take the opportunity to ump into life and into the activity that scares us a little.

Whether your jump is to write a book or a blog post, to bake cookies for  your neighbor or a meal for your family, to do a paint by number, or paint an original picture, Maybe you want to dance, have you seen Dancing with the Stars? People jumping out of their comfort zone and trying something new, the what doesn’t matter, only the doing.

What is hard for you to “jump” into or do?

Have you tried jumping into a new project or activity in the last few weeks?

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Four Days of Cozy Fall Home Decorating

This is day 6 of the #CozyFallHome Challenge.  In reality, it’s not. But that’s where I am in the challenge so that’s where we are. Day 6 is on my sofa.

My sofa is actually a love seat and it looks more like it belongs in a cabin on the lake. It works for me, not only is the size right, but it’s also a hide-a-bed for those rare occasions someone spends the night.

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During the summer months I had it covered with a light colored throw. For fall and winter thought about letting it go natural. Instead I covered it with an orangish cover, more in keeping with the fall color.

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I topped it with a cozy green blanket, a housewarming gift when I moved into this house after the death of my husband.And just because I forgot to include it in the chair earlier, my spider pillow, with stripes.

Fall couch with green throw

 

Because I’m so far behind here are days 7, 8, and 9. I’ll continue with three or four cozy days on each post until I get caught up.

Day 7 is a vignette.

I started with well-loved and used toys. These trucks, and pieces of farm equipment toys were purchased second hand. The boys played with them, the grandsons played with them. Who knows, a great-grandson may some day play with them.

For today, grandma is playing with them and remembering. The toys conjure up memories of my husband talking about them, or playing with the grandson with them. They bring back memories of my sons playing with them. What better way to ground the decoration?

Next I added a couple of mini-hay bales I purchased at a tractor show. My son and grandson both show tractors. Which, of course, I often attend. In addition miniture pumpkins and squash were piled in the backs of the trucks. Forgot to take pictures as it went together. Here’s the final result:

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While nothing is in proportion, the whole set-up makes me smile. That’s the whole point of decorating isn’t it, to please ourselves?

Day 8 is, My View. Since I live in Oklahoma my view isn’t particularly fall colored. First, Mother Nature can’t decide if it’s still summer, or time for winter. Second, my trees also go from one extreme to another. Either they lose all their leaves and are bare and brown, or they are in the pine family and remain green year around.

Sunrises and sunset though are another story. We have some beautiful colors at the beginning and ending of the day.

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Finally, for day nine we move to the bedroom, on my bed.

Sad to say, my bedroom doesn’t look very fall-like. While the bed is topped with a quilt,  it’s made with spring colors, so I’m not sure what to call it.

It’s made with double-knit fabric, remember that fabric? It’s super warm, which makes it a nice fall/winter cover. But, those colors. Maybe it was meant for winter and the spring colors was an attempt to make the days feel less dreary? I didn’t make it, so I have no idea of the story behind it.

A brown plaid blanket graces the foot of the bed, in case of the need for a nap happens.

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Yes, the brown plaid clashes with the spring colors of the churn dash quilt block and I’m okay with that. My house is cozy for me, not a decorator, or a designer. What works for one doesn’t always work for another.

There you have it, another installment (or four) of the Cozy Fall Home Challenge.

Do you decorate throughout your house for the season?

Does Mother Nature add to the fall décor where you live?

What is your favorite item to include in fall decorations?

 

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Follow the Leader, Finding New Blogs to Follow

 

Today is day five of the Fall Cozy Challenge and the prompt is “Favorite Follow.” So why not play Follow the Leader? I’ll start and share some of the bloggers and Facebook people I enjoy following. You can share some of your favorites in the comments. Maybe we’ll all “meet” someone new.  Since my interests are varied, so is my list.

 

 

WRITERS

Since I belong to three writing groups I know plenty of writers, and sometimes I follow their blogs. However, it’s easier to post to a couple of writing groups. The Prosateurs Writers, a group of writers who meet monthly in person, and online to prompt and encourage each other. Each writer’s blog is listed on the blog. Their tagline is; Writers Write. We  write. We are writers.

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I also belong to Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc. (OWFI). This is a multi-state writers organization made up of individual authors, and writing groups. The have a newsletter and an annual conference.

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Their website says, “. . . Oklahoma Writers’ Federation, Inc. (OWFI) is a non‑profit federation of writers’ groups dedicated to promoting higher standards for the written word. We believe that the literary profession has come of age and merits a fair share of the critical acclaim so generously lavished on other worthwhile arts. OWFI shall seek to coordinate and encourage professional writing within and without its organization and promote the recognition of outstanding contributions to the written language.”

McAlester McSherry Writers doesn’t have a blog, but do have a Facebook page. They are a critique writing group and meet the first and third Saturday of the month.

SEWING/QUILTING

I follow sewists and quilters sporadically. A couple of my favorite are: Becky at Patchwork Posse. She has an online store, as well as a brick and mortar store here in Oklahoma. She offers tutorials, tips, patterns and encouragement.

Also, Prairie Notions, run by a mother/daughter duo, Pam Price and Paula Nelson. I call it “my” store since it is only fifteen miles from my house. They have a Facebook page, and a brick and mortar store. They sponsor our monthly quilt group meeting, and often include a technique for us.

There are several others , but that’s a good start. Next up, cooking and food. I don’t especially enjoy cooking but I’m working on it. In the meantime, these bloggers are fun to read.

COOKING/FOOD

The Blond Cook, she has these scrumptious looking apple pie bites (this is a picture from her blog.) I’m going to have to try them at the next gathering.

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The names of the other food bloggers I follow are evading me at the moment. Not to mention, many times I just click on a link on Facebook, Pinterest, or someone else’s blog and presto, interesting food blog.

MARKETING/BUSINESS

As an Indie author, and beginning coach marketing is an important aspect.  Here are a couple of my favorites.

Joan Stewart also known as the Publicity Hound. Joans tag line is, “Tips, Tools, and Tricks for Free Publicity.”  helps writers find their readers with her marketing ideas and plans. Even before indie publishing (authors publishing their own work) writers had to find ways to promote themselves and their books. Joan has been around and helping writers find their readers. Her newsletters have great information and ideas and always a cute something about a dog.

Publicity Hound

Marisa Murgatroyd (yes, that’s her real name) of Live Your Message 

is small but mighty. She helps others find and use their entrepreneurial super power. She also has a Facebook page.

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That’s a smattering of some of the bloggers I follow sporadically. Hope you found someone new in the bunch.

FITNESS

Almost forgot. I’m not big on exercise, this is my feeling on exercise:

EXERCISE MEME

While I love this definition of exercise,  it is not original with me. I don’t know who came up with it. Still, it defines the word perfectly. I have found an exercise that is doable, inexpensive, and I almost enjoy it, Walking. Most of the time I walk on the road in front of my house, a walking track in town, or the pasture. However there are days when walking outside isn’t on my radar. That’s when I turn to Leslie Sansone on YouTube.

 

Who is your favorite blogger to follow?

Have you been following any one person for more than a year?

Who is the newest blogger you’ve found?

 

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When You Don’t Have What You Need, Use What You Have – Day 4 UBC

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It’s day four for the Ultimate Blog Challenge and the #CozyFallHome Challenge. So far, posts four consecutive days in a row, on a roll here.

The Cozy Fall Home Challenge prompt is stripes for today. I had several ideas, unfortunately all of them required a trip to town. A trip to town is a two hour event, minimum. Instead, I revamped my thinking.

I started with my rocking chair with a stripped cushion. The problem is, the cushion is more summer than fall. Which makes sense, it’s actually meant to be a cushion on an outdoor chair.

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Covering the chair with an orange fabric, no sewing needed, gave it the fall look. Still missing some stripes though.

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I toyed with a couple of ideas for adding stripes to the chair. In the end, I went with the log cabin patterned pillow borrowed from the bedroom. A log cabin pattern is stripes, in a way.

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Finally a plaid (more stripes) flannel throw, in browns and golds was added to the mix. The color picture did do it justice, or look as much like stripes as I’d like, so the picture in black and white shows more of the stripes.

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There you have it, using items available the wooden rocker went from a summer chair to a fall sitting area.

Sometimes we have to find a different way to accomplish our goal. My first idea was a great one, except none of the essentials were available. There was no way to get the look I wanted with what was available.

Next idea, what else could be done to work with the challenge?

The summery colors of the cushion made me smile and it’s like I have a little bit of summer hidden under the fall blankets and throws. The little sitting area turned out nice, and fall like with a secret.

Do you use stripes when you decorate?

What is your favorite way of using what you have when you don’t have what you need?

What is  your favorite fall color?

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Creativity, Good for the Soul, No Need to be Neat and Tidy Too

Creative people don't have a mess they have ideas

It is day 3 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge (UBC). Also, the third day for the cozy fall decorating challenge. On the UBC the suggestion is to blog about what we do during this season that’s different.

Since I encourage women to follow their heart and do the activities that bring them joy, I take my own advice and sew and/or attend quilt shows. While I did check out the quilts at both the county fair and state fair, there were no pictures taken. Also, have not attended a Quilt Show yet this season.

Since I haven’t been to a show, I have been sewing, which is why my dinning room table is a collection of sewing ideas.

Dining-Sewing Table Collage

When I run out of room of the table for my projects, or projects to be, the living room furniture makes a perfect stand-in. Currently the rocking chair holds a quilt project and most of the fabrics that will be added to it.

rocking chair fabric holder

In an attempt to “decorate” and fully participate in the Cozy Fall Challenge, I decided to work on the table in the corner. Technically it’s a sewing table, it used to house a Singer Treadle sewing machine. Now, it’s more decoration than anything. I topped it with a quilt of mostly fall fabrics, a candle holder, my fall flowers, and the bear. The grandboys called my husband Bear, and I have several bears scattered throughout the house in his memory.

sewing table decorated

Later the toppings will change, but for now, for this challenge, this is it. Oh, by the way, the railing behind the table isn’t really a rail of any kind. It’s part of my quilting frame, which may get put up later this month. After all, fall and winter are perfect quilting seasons.

Do you decorate for fall or a fall event?

What is your favorite thing about fall?

What hobby do you enjoy as the weather turns cold?

 

 

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Visiting the Tulsa State Fair and Fall Décor Collections

Tonight I had the opportunity to do something I’d never done before, attend the swine sale at the Tulsa State Fair. I believe our children showed at Tulsa, but someone had to care for the animals still at home, that was mom’s job. Yesterday though, due to some miscalculations on my part, I missed seeing our first grandson show his gilt (female pig.)

Spencer showing Tulsa 2018

Like most show kids, he grabbed some rest when he could. Glad someone had a phone and took this picture of him taking a break.

Spencer taking a break Tulsa 2018Although the sale was streamed live, something new from back in the day when our kids showed, I chose not to watch the sale on my computer, but in person.

Spencer's pig on the big screen Tulsa 2018

Okay, in truth, I didn’t know they’d be streaming the sale. However, it wouldn’t have mattered. Our boy made the sale, I wanted to be there to support him.  I was a little sad his grandpa wasn’t there. Although, my beautiful daughter-in-law reminded me grandpa was there in spirit, and in the sale ring with our boy.

Spencer in the sale ring 2 Tulsa 2018

All in all it was a great traveling day. Next time though, I’ll go earlier to spend some time at the fair. There will be a next time. He still has a whole show season before he graduates and we have two more grands showing.

Traveling to stock shows is still travel, and supporting my grands is a fabulous way to spend a day, or weekend.

Cozy Fall

The prompt for the Cozy Fall photo Challenge today is collection. I have two. Does two make a collection? The first is this stack of burlap sacks. I bought them a couple of years ago with a project in mind.

burlap sacks

The project bit the dust, and the collection of burlap bags remains. Maybe I’ll find something to do with them during this challenge.

The second “collection” are these fall flowers that are bundled together in a vase. Yes, I did use some of the burlap to make the vase more fallish.

 

 

UBC Challenge Prompt

As part of the UBC challenge, they offer us prompts or ideas for blog posts. That way, if we can’t think of anything we can simply blog about their suggestion. As  you can see, I don’t have trouble coming up with things to talk (write) about. However, sometimes using their suggestion is nice.

Today the suggestion was to tell why we blog about what we blog about. I blog about a little of everything because my interests are so scattered. At the heart of everything though, are widows. I share ideas for widows, offer suggestions for issues, encourage widows to live intentional. I write for and about widows because I am one. Simple as that.

 

Do you enjoy traveling?

Do you consider attending a function for the grandchildren travel?

Do you have a fall collection?

 

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Challenges, Challenges, Challenges, Why Take a Challenge?

It’s time again for the Ultimate Blog Post Challenge. I have participated in this challenge upteen times (I don’t know really) and have finished it maybe three times. I keep getting off track.

Sometimes life gets in my way, a friend or family member is ill and needs help. I get sick and don’t feel like posting, or some other event happens.

Sometimes technology gets in my way, the computer crashes, electricity goes out (usually that’s a winter thing) or my internet stops. Yes, I can write with a pen and paper, and actually enjoy that sometimes. However, it’s hard to post a blog written on paper. By the time the technology is working with me again, I’ve lost interest in that particular blog post, and then just never get back on track.

However, the biggest obstacle to daily blogging is me. I over think the posts, or want to over edit them. By the time I think they might, possibly, maybe, be ready to post, they are not longer relevant.

Which means, let’s try something new. As this new challenge begins, I have two other challenges to include, which will make the posts easier to write.

The first is an Instagram challenge #MyCozyFallHome  hosted by The Nester.  Of course, she’s, and the others, are actually using Instagram. Me? Nah, I’m going to post here and on my Facebook page (maybe). Since I’ve never been much of a decorator, and I figure why not stretch a little and decorate my home for fall. I can share the meager attempts with you and maybe encourage you to welcome fall with a little décor.

The first part of the challenge is to post the image below. Got it. One down, thirty to go. Have no clue what picture I’ll post tomorrow for a collection. But, hey, I have a few hours.

 

Image.

The second challenge being incorporated in this blog challenge, is the experiment started way back in April. That is when the Blogging Alphabetically Challenge is held, The A to Z Challenge.  My goal was to blog about living intentionally alphabetically. So far, I’ve gotten up to I for Inspired, Inspiring, or Inspiration. Next up will be J. Stay tuned, with any luck by combining my personal alphabet challenge with this ultimate blog challenge I’ll get at least to M and maybe finish the alphabet.

This is the best thing about the Ultimate Blog Challenge. It encourages me, and hopefully other bloggers, to keep going, keep trying, never give up.

Life is about living, not quitting.

 

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