Sunday, February 27, 2011

Jack of All Crafts and Master of None Tries Weaving: Part 2

Isn't this pretty?

 i love the light shining through the lovely warping i did on my loom. And it didn't even take too many bad words to get it here! The loopy bits of string are the heddles. Two bars have these strings so that one bar at a time can be lifted

 into these holders at each side of the loom. Each of the two bars holds every other thread on the warp (the vertical threads) so they can be lifted to pass the weft (the horizontal threads) through. This makes your basic over-under weave.

Here you can see the two bars with their tediously done heddles. What you don't see is the blood, sweat and tears it took to get it this far. There were also Magic Eye sightings of a unicorn and a possible emu.

Once my psyche had healed adequately from the warping experience, i started my Tapestry weaving dvd by Nancy Harvey. And the fun thing is, you get to see 1980s Nancy AND 1990s Nancy! Other than the funky 80s glasses she was wearing she didn't look very different. Future Nancy shows up to add some information to Current Nancy's lesson.

80s Nancy has us start this way: a little weaving of plastic bag strips to start spreading the warp out evenly, then a hem (that's the dark brown in my weaving below.) i can't help but think of it as a footer. The "cartoon" is pinned behind the area to be woven--that's the enlarged picture outline you see. Calling it a cartoon is just the whimsy i need. See that cool tool? It's to beat down the weft as you weave it.

Notice the loopy bits above the weaving? This is called "bubbling," also a very whimsical term. Apparently bad bubbling can cause problems, bringing to mind one of my favorite life sayings: "Any bubbling worth doing is worth doing well."

If this was a yoga pose it would be called something like "downward facing camel."

And from those humble beginnings, i am this far. Nearly done with project 1!

Skimmer's Recap: Glad to be done with the warping, and now there's not much "weft" to do. (Weaving humor. Deal with it.)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

On Life: Embracing It.

I'm feeling, closing in on 6 years after my fibromyalgia diagnosis, 10 years after my mother's death sent me to therapy, and 57 years into life, like I actually want to embrace life. My head's in a better place than it's been, my body is getting better at dealing with the fibro pain, and surely all that is worth shouting "hallelujah!" about.

I've dealt with depression most of my life--coming from crazy can do that. Honestly, in all my years I have never thought "whoopee! I hope I live to 100!" To a depressed brain, that sounds like a sentence, not a gift. But mentally off-kilter mothers and such be thanked, since at least that relationship sent me to make new friends of Mental Health Professionals, and they've helped my brain become better balanced.

At these realizations I find myself (tentatively) hopeful. It's difficult to be a negative positive person, since one should cancel out the other. But at my core, given God's grace in my life, I am positive, I have hope. But life has at times taught me to be negative, to be fearful. Yet I desire to Embrace-- hope, life, the fact that I'm constantly surprised to find myself in my late 50s.

Thinking about embracing life got me thinking about other times of learning to embrace. When my oldest daughter was dating her first husband, he startled me by hugging me. I wasn't used to that, but it made me rethink my physical and emotional distance from people.  My in-laws were not physically affectionate people, but when they retired and moved a 7 hour drive away, my husband and I decided we would start hugging them. It was awkward at first, but--well, but nothing, it was always awkward. When my close friend was diagnosed with ovarian cancer of stage Too Late, she refused to talk about the possibility of dying. Her friends didn't know what to do with that--how could we prepare for the loss? Say goodbye? I learned to embrace the simplicity of saying "I love you" whenever we parted. Now I'm a serious hugger, holding all my friends close to me while they're in my life.

It's important to demonstrate how we feel toward each other. In the same way I've learned to embrace my friends and others I love, I'm hopeful to learn to cherish my future, and not fear it.

Skimmer's Recap: julie thinks about life, gets all mushy-wushy about it, but publishes the post anyway.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

About a Book: "Lord, I Feel So Small" by Jon Drury

"Lord I Feel So Small: Using God's Yardstick to Conquer Self-Doubt"

Jon Drury is a man who speaks from a brutally honest heart. But I mean that in a good way.

The author's struggle with the feeling of never measuring up, of never being quite as useful/smart/talented as the other guy, strikes a familiar chord in me. How any of us ends up in that rut doesn't matter--the point is, we can climb up out of the mud. And Jon's the man to show us how, because he's been-there-done-that, and he's on a mission to show us the way out.

Visually the book is a pleasant read, broken up into achievable chunks within each chapter. Call it my short attention span, or my inability to remain awake when faced with solid lines of prose, but this is important to me.  But even more importantly, the text is conversational and approachable, like you're just sitting down and having a really good chat with the guy.

One way he makes the truth of what he says more accessable is by using stories from his own life and from others. I love when authors include stories of other people, because let's be real, folks, some of those stories make me happy to be me. But more to the point, Jon sees his own life story with clarity and honesty, then uses it to illustrate how to pull ourselves out of the muddy mess of our own flawed thinking.

If the many years I've spent with members of the Mental Health profession have taught me nothing else they have taught me this: our human thinking can be very, very flawed. How can we learn to challenge our thoughts? One way is by reading books like this one. Take a look at the sections and chapters to get an idea of the steps he leads you through in this re-look, re-think journey out of the muddy rut of self-doubt.

 Section 1-- Crafting the Foundation
Chapter 1: "Lord I Feel So Small!"
Chapter 2: Foundations for Significance
Chapter 3: Yardsticks of True Worth

 Section 2-- Feelings That Immobilize Us
Chapter 4: Transforming Despair Into Hope
Chapter 5: Morphing Fear into Courage
Chapter 6: Birthing Healing Out of Grief
Chapter 7: Discerning the Voice of Our Enemy

or Section 5-- Experiences That Hamper Us (this section especially hit home for me)
Chapter 16: Converting Failure to True Success
Chapter 17: Turning Humiliation into Heroism
Chapter 18: Moving From Isolation to Friendship
Chapter 19: Conquering Worry with Trust

And this is only a sampling of the 20 chapters.

I was pleasantly surprised by the "Think It Through" questions at the end of each chapter. "Jesus!" is not the answer--at least to each of these questions. No, folks, sorry to say, if you make use of these you will actually have to Think It Through. I found them much more useful than the easy answer type questions you often find in study books, and more likely to actually provoke thought. And thinking is our friend.

The more you give this book in time and thought, the more you will gain. But even if you can only give it a quick read, there's much to be gleaned. I, however, was unable to give it a quick read, wanting to learn enough to put my hip-waders away for good and step into summer sandles. I'm a flip-flops kind of girl, and flip-flops don't fair well down in the rut.