“Hope you are well …”

February 2, 2009 at 7:59 pm | Posted in blogging, country life, country living, faith, family, gifts, health, Holidays, knitting, Life, love, marriage, photography, relationships, romance, snow, Valentine's Day | 21 Comments
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leafThe title of this post comes from the tag end of a comment left by coffeespaz on the last blog I posted. I just read her comment, just before I set about writing today’s post and decided to open with her close … “Hope you are well, and Happy New Year!”

Today I am well: better yet, I know I am well. Now I want you to know that I am well. I have received quite a few emails over the past couple of months inquiring as to my health because I have not posted many times lately. It is very appreciated, the concern and the friendship.

So, here is the truth and after I tell the truth I will explain an important reason for telling the truth in this public manner.

newyear09_pumpFor the past few months there have been certain phoenomena going on with my body, and I have been two see a few different doctors to see if someone could get a handle on what it was. Of course, the details are not important, details are far too personal. Three weeks ago my primary doctor decided to have a few tests done to rule out a type of cancer: oh yikes, that word. It is a problem, isn’t it.

It is an uncomfortable word to say outloud if it seems it might be any where near you or someone you love. When my doctor first mentioned the possibility he didn’t use the word outright, he used some other word that allowed me to pretend I didn’t entirely understand what he was saying he wanted to have tested and ruled out.

When I told the people closest to me about the tests, I also used the substitute word as if by not saying the real word outloud I could somehow keep it a safe distance away from me and from all of us.

The following day I went for a CAT-scan, and then I waited 24 hours or so to call my doctor’s office and find out that yes indeed, he wanted me to go on to a specialist for another kind of test.

To be very honest, I was very upset by the subject being entered into. My oldest brother died just a few years ago at my age from a type of cancer. He was my age at that time, and it was this time of year when he got the news. A two or three months later he was gone. Those facts were very difficult to keep out of my mind, no matter how positive I was or how strong my faith is. Life is life, and sometimes life sucks and I realized that it could be possible that after all of this recent happiness perhaps my life was going to suck after all. I apologize for being crude, but I that is how I felt about it all.

newyear09_barnWhen I sat down to write my blog and I was stumped. I didn’t know what to say, because my blog is all about positive inspiration, reinforcing dreams, encouraging people to find magic in their lives, and so on. What did I have to say along those lines, what could I do to inspire others when I wasn’t feeling quite right about my own life.

It occurred to me that I could write an honest blog about what was going on with me, but I was torn as to whether or not it was the right thing to do. In the end, I realized I had a responsibility to write about this experience because that is what I do in my blog. I open up about my experiences in life and how I deal with them.

I feel a responsibility to do so at this point because I have received many comments and emails from people who have been touched and inspired by my communication over the past couple of years. I know I have a positive way of dealing with problems and situations that come up in life. By sharing my experiences and how I face them — good or bad — I might touch the life of one person on one particular day when they needed courage and encouragement the most. If each one of my posts touches just one person in that way, somewhere along the line, then I know I am making a difference in a troubled world.

So, I write.

newyear09_wreakageI sat down that day and wrote what I felt was an honest, somewhat raw, high quality post about what I was facing and how I intended to deal with it. Mostly I wanted to deal with it by saying it outloud to someone, removing and releasing fear in the doing.

As I wrote that blog my mind shifted from being worried and somewhat afraid to being strong and actually looking forward to the possibility of an opportunity to face something difficult and finding a way to beat it.

What I wrote about in that blog was what I would do if I was told I had cancer, of how I would create my life and my life’s works bigger, brighter, more colorful, bolder, with more energy. If I was told I had somekind of cancer I would work even hard on creating my life and making it as joyous as I could.

By the time I finished that blog I felt much better and knew that no matter what the doctor’s came up with that was going on inside of my body that I would ultimately be a point of “cause” in my own life in determining my own attitude about whatever news, details, or events would come. I would not allow any kind of illness or medical situation determine my level of happiness, the strength of my sense of faith, or the vigor with which I dream of the future I am interested in experiencing.

I clicked “Save Draft” in my wordpress.com blog dashboard, and waited while the draft was saved. Then I went back to the draft to read through it, and it was gone. Completely and utterly erased as if I had never written a word of it. Gone, kaput, vanished.

Soon my husband came home and I told him about my well crafted blog post I had just written that vanished out of thin air. I told him that perhaps it disappeared because, perhaps I wasn’t supposed to tell that story afterall. Then he said something so simple and so clear, “Maybe it was important for you to write it.”

I knew he was right. I told him I wanted us to say the “C” word outloud to each other, that I wanted us to confront the fact together that I was being examined to see if a cancer was in my body. I feel strongly that if there is something I fear, I need to walk toward it and confront it rather than shirking away. For me, if I can face something scary I have a shot at being bigger and badder than whatever that thing is. If I was going to have cancer, I wanted cancer to think of me as if I was Shaft.

I asked my husband to share in that attitude with me and that together we would face whatever the truth was, maintain strong faith, and win any battles we needed to win together as a team.

He is a very fine and good man and husband. Of course, he was on board with me.

It was liberating to turn the “C” word (with a capital “C”) into the “c” word … lower case.

So, today I went to the hospital and a specialist performed a procedure and then he told me, with my husband there with me, that indeed everything was actually fine. There was a simple, benign explanation for the odd phenomon that ultimately led me down this path. He pronounced me well.

We smiled and here I am.

valentinebunnyBut I will tell you this, even if the news had been different I assure you I would have followed through on my big bold plans and the Shaft attitude. And you know about Shaft, he’s a bad mother … I guess I better shut my mouth … but you can dig it.

By the way, while this has all been going on I have been taking it a bit easy. That has allowed me some time to play around with needle felting, and also to continue on with knitting baby items. You can see my most recent needle felted critters and knitting projects at The Knitting Blog.

Meanwhile, I hope you are well and that you are starting off a great week with a fine day.

Best wishes,

Something to talk about

February 21, 2008 at 6:54 pm | Posted in art, blogging, country living, dating, faith, family, flowers, food, free knitting patterns, Holidays, knitting, love, marriage, photography, relationships, romance, socks, Valentine's Day, yarn | 17 Comments

Flowers from fireflys husbandAt times I have wondered what (if anything) I may share with my readers about what happened last year on Valentine’s Day.

For those of you who have followed my blog, you would know last Valentine’s Day was the first for my husband and I. We weren’t even “dating” the Valentine’s Day before that, and yet found ourselves married by the first time we had a Valentine’s Day to share. We first met online at the end of January in 2006; we were just getting to know each other other via emails and had shared one phone call by February 14th that year. At that time, we both agreed that Valentine’s Day was the “being alone suckiest” day of all, a time when it is most rubbed in your face that you are alone, if indeed you are.

I remember when I was a child in grade school some very distinct big, pleasant feelings about Valentine’s Day. I loved making the little doily Valentines in class and turning heart festooned paper plates into little “mail boxes”. The day before Valentine’s Day we would all line up our handmade mail boxes along the chalk holder up at the blackboard so that we could bestow upon another sweet little “Be Mine” cards bought at the local five and dime.

I loved the anticipation of how many little cards I would get, who they would be from, what cute little characters would illustrate them, what would the various sentiments be … how many friends would I have? How would my friends feel about the Valentine’s I gave them?

Flowers from fireflys husbandThere is one memory of childhood Valentine’s that isn’t quite so fun to recall. By about third or fourth grade I noticed that some little girls actually got a box of candy placed on their desks by unknown person. I had no idea what made those little treasures arrive at first, but then I starting noticing it was only the very pretty, sort of “perfect”, little girls who seemed to receive them. In fifth and sixth grade, when Valentine’s Day came, I walked into class hoping against hope that maybe I would get a special treat on my desk. I would walk slowly, not looking at my desk at first because once I looked I would know and if there was nothing there, it would be over. As long as I didn’t look I could keep feeling that maybe, just maybe …

No. Didn’t happen. It didn’t take away from any of the feeling of joy about the tokens of friendship waiting in my little make-shift mailbox, but it did leave an impression on my mind–right or wrong.

I don’t know what I expected, exactly, our first Valentine’s Day. I had a general feeling of expectation without any clear concept of what I wanted or what he might do. For many years I had shared Valentine’s Day only with my children, my parents, my nieces and nephews, my brothers, sister, their spouses, and my friends. I knew how to do family Valentine’s Day, and I knew how to friendship Valentine’s Day but honestly, I had no clue how to do couple, married, actually having my own true sweetheart Valentine’s Day. I had pretty much no experience with that. Nor did he.

With my vague feeling of anticipation of I knew not what, I made some mention of some surprises I was cooking up for him a day or so before the big “V” day. He made some casual remark about his not doing anything other than a card. Ha ha ha … I chuckled, for surely he must be kidding. I mean, this was US, the big US … he is, after all, the “I Live on a Farm” husband, certainly he must have something really, really big and romantic planned … certainly.

I saw from the look on his face that he wasn’t kidding, and he saw from the look on my face that I was something that didn’t look quite right. At first I couldn’t say anything to him. I felt as if I had been hit by a big vase full of cold water. We were on our way to the church to meet up with a friend and get some things ready for a chicken and biscuit dinner that would take place the following Saturday, so I couldn’t really speak with him about how I was feeling because I knew I would start crying and I didn’t want to show up at the church with tears all over my face.

When we got back home, I went upstairs to have a good cry alone, in our room, in the dark. It was very sad. Very, very sad.

He came up shortly to try to comfort me. And we sat there, me crying, him with his arm around me wishing he knew what he had done wrong. Very sad, the whole picture.

Fortunately for us both, we excel at communicating with each other–the kind of communication that involves wanting to truly understand the other person and their viewpoint, and placing more value on your regard for that person than on your own viewpoint or “rightness”. This was our first emotional crisis: so, we talked.

Flowers from fireflys husbandWhat I realized, and shared with him, was that we are both pretty much inexperienced dorks when it comes to this kind of thing. He agreed. I didn’t feel it was just him or just me, I came to see it was both of us and that we lacked experience, not love. Our love is great, but our experience in being one of two in a couple was itty-bitty at that time. Neither of us had a clue what we needed and wanted from one another on the big famous “love” holiday and we had neglected to talk about it in advance. Big mistake.

I actually believe that is the state of mankind about love in many cases, even when we think we are so cool or so fine or so whatever … we are, many of us, inexperienced dorks. We are marketed to by Hallmark and FTD and jewelers and chocolate makers with great big giant canons aimed right at our hearts and souls. Much of what we have come to expect or think we expect on Valentine’s Day has a lot more to do with those images and feelings conjured by people who want to sell us something rather than anything we have actually figured out on our own.

There I was sitting in the dark crying feeling awkward and bad about love, when what I had right next to me was the dearest man I have ever known with his arm around me anguishing over the pain he seemed to have caused me. And I wasn’t alone … together we would embrace our inner dorks and figure it out.

As it turned out, I did too much for him last year (two batches of cookies, shortbread, candy, a pirate rubber duckie, and a bunch of little dime store Valentines) and he did too little (although, to his credit, the card he gave me was so perfect I ending up not caring so much that he had no flowers or chocolates for me).

Flowers from fireflys husbandMy suggestion to the two of us for future reference was that we should openly communicate about our expectations and not take things for granted. I shouldn’t expect him to magically “know” what I wanted on Valentine’s Day and let him get himself in trouble if he didn’t get it right (especially considering my own admission that I didn’t really know what I wanted).

Realizing that Valentine’s Day is more of a “chick” holiday than something for dudes, I suggested we create a special holiday for him where he could decide what was special and we would keep that holiday each year. As for Valentine’s Day, realistically he should always get me flowers and my favorite chocolate candy, but no other gifts are required. For my part, I will only make him one batch of cookies and give him one card.

As for his special “dude” holiday … he chose Ground Hog day. We created our first Ground Hog Day celebration on February 2 and made a big deal of it. It consisted of a summer barbeque with hamburgers, potato salad, baked beans and lemonade with peach cobbler for dessert (he said nothing is more opposite of winter than peaches). I decided the official Ground Hog’s Day wife-to-husband gift should be a flashlight and so he got the latest cool new shine. The day was perfection.

On Valentine’s Day he gave me two bags of my favorite chocolates and a large vase with a perfect mixture of flowers of every kind I love.

For the I Live on a Farm husband and wife, the most important aspect of Valentine’s Day was center stage each of the Valentine’s Days we have shared so far … communication. Let none of us think you can truly share love with another human being without being able and willing to communicate with one another and figure things out, together as a team.

Pears for MichaelAnd what else have I been up to? I have been working very hard to complete paintings for the restaurant in the village and to get all of my patterns ready for print and download. I am happy to report that two days before Valentine’s Day we hung two more paintings at Zambistro Restaurant, and then we had a scrumptious dinner there on V-day.

Also to report: I have successfully gotten most of my patterns ready for print and have started selling them wholesale to independent yarn stores as well as selling them directly to readers on my website. There is still quite a bit of work to do, but the process is off to a great start and I am most happy and grateful to have the opportunity. If you think your LYS would be interested in carrying my patterns, please let me know or give them my website address so they can contact me if interested.

Binder of Fireflys knitting patterns for retail shopsOh, and one more thing. I completed the first sock of a pair of my own design. Nothing fancy, but oh, so warm and cozy. They are made from chunky baby alpaca yarn … well, so far it is made of that yarn, since I have only finished one sock so far. I will share photos and the pattern after I get the pair completed.

That should keep you busy reading for a few days, so I will end off now. Have a beautiful weekend, and don’t forget to accept and love your own inner dork. If you don’t, who will?

Eat a chocolate

February 14, 2008 at 7:41 pm | Posted in art, country life, country living, dating, family, flowers, food, Holidays, knitting, love, marriage, photography, relationships, romance, Valentine's Day | 17 Comments

Happy Valentines Day from firefly

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