Monday, August 3, 2015

Yesterday and beyond...

Monday morning, already.
Well that was a quick weekend! Doug and I have a lot of things coming up in the next couple of months, so we decided to take advantage of our last free Sunday and take a drive up through Northern Arizona yesterday. Ah! What a beautiful day for a drive...

These photos were taken near Williams, and Ash Fork, Arizona - about a three hour drive from where we live. The temperature was about 20° cooler than being at home, and that sky and those fluffy white clouds?!?! Arizona perfection.
Doug has a small tear in his right knee and he's scheduled for surgery on Wednesday of this week. Send some happy thoughts and a few prayers his way, if you are so inclined, for a successful surgery and speedy recovery.

Wednesday evening is the first night of the new four-week session for the yoga class I teach through my city's parks and recreation department. I love teaching that Wednesday night class! And it's fun because every four weeks there's an opportunity to introduce new students to yoga. I'm settling in and not feeling as nervous before I teach a yoga class. It feels wonderful to relax in that role a little.

Our house is beginning to feel a bit disheveled with our upcoming move. I've had a couple of boxes packed and sitting on our living room floor for the past week, along with a roll of packaging tape and a pile of newspapers for wrapping stuff. It's going to get worse before it gets better, so it's a good time for me to remind myself that this is temporary. It's all temporary... 

Those clouds though! Plus black-eyed Susan's along the way and a picnic lunch... Awesome!

We are scheduled to close on our new house two weeks from today. The list of things to do is growing, and we will work out the timing of everything as we go. Plans are for Doug to work on some remodeling in the new house before we actually move in (mid-September). Praying for patience and tenacity and realistic expectations for both of us. And for Doug to not over-do it on his newly repaired knee!

Yes, a day trip was just what we needed yesterday! Being out in nature is what fuels us, and now it's game on...

But first I'm off to tackle Monday. I've got my sights set on 5:30 p.m. when my work day will be done and I'll be meeting for Mandala Monday with B & C. Well, B for sure; maybe C...

I'll catch you on the flip side, my friends.
Have a great week!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Just a Quote for Friday

"Today I will live in the moment, unless it is
unpleasant in which case I will eat a cookie!"
~ Cookie Monster

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

It was just a boat ~ a yoga story

The first time I heard this story was during my yoga teacher training. When our teacher shared it, I loved it so much that I vowed to retell it to my own students someday. The original story is not mine, but the version I share here today is. An internet search to give credit was unfruitful, though I did find that it may have originated as a lesson told by a great Zen Master, Lin Chi. It goes like this:

Lin Chi was a monk who lived by a beautiful lake. The lake was surrounded by a thick forest of trees, and there were snowcapped mountains in the distance.
Every morning Lin Chi would go down to the dock, untie his boat, and row to the middle of the lake. There he would sit in quiet meditation as the sun rose, in the still serenity of the beautiful lake.
One morning as he was meditating, something startling happened. There, in his solitude, Lin Chi felt something bump into his boat. Lin Chi felt anger and irritation instantly rise within him. What kind of person would be so inconsiderate as to interrupt his bliss? Who would do such a thing?! He turned quickly; ready to confront the person who had disturbed his peace. What he saw surprised him.
There, in the lake next to him, was an empty boat. The boat had come untied from the dock and drifted out to the middle of the lake and – just by chance – bumped into Lin Chi’s boat.
Lin Chi laughed at the sight. There was no one to blame; no one to scorn. It was just an empty boat. He turned back to resume his meditation. One slow deep inhale, a long full exhale, and he was back in his blissful state of meditation.
And so it is with each of us as we go through our days. May we be mindful of those times when something happens to rock our boat. During those times, when there’s really no one to blame, no one to scorn, may we return to our breath and allow the empty boat to drift on by.

Monday, July 27, 2015

A weekend of cupcakes, family, and packing.

Hello, my friends.
When my alarm went off this morning I was right in the middle of a dream where I was preparing to deliver a Sunday sermon to a large church congregation. I had just minutes to prepare what I was going to say and could feel the panic rising in my body. "Gratitude!" I thought. "When in doubt, I'll speak of gratitude."

A great reminder for me on this Monday morning when my mind is full of all kinds of things - sorting out details of our upcoming move and dealing with some work issues that are super annoying right now but when kept in perspective, aren't that big of a deal in the big scheme of things. Still, I'd really rather not go to work today. ~sigh~

Anyway! This isn't supposed to be a post about my Monday morning disposition, it's about the awesome weekend that I'm grateful for. Let's shift gears, shall we?

After yoga class on Saturday morning, I came home and made the most delicious lemon cupcakes to take to a party at Doug's brother's house that afternoon. I wanted to try a new recipe so I went to my Pinterest cupcake board and homed in on this one. Wow - SO yummy!!!

The gathering with my in-laws on Saturday was a celebration of many things: a nephew returning home from a long stay in China, a niece moving away to California, a brother-in-law's retirement, and a new baby in the family...

We sisters-in-law passed this little peach around all night - SO much fun to have a new baby in the family and she is just the sweetest - never really fussed at all and went between smiling and snoozing the entire evening. Her big sister swam and played and ate cupcakes until the end of the evening. Here she is: "Grandma, you've been holding Ellie all night. I want you to hold me now."

Saturday night's get together was so much fun. We stayed late talking and laughing and having just one more glass of wine...  Sunday morning was a slow start. ;o)
Then yesterday I started packing boxes for our upcoming house move. We get the keys for our new house on August 17th but aren't actually moving until mid-September. This gives me plenty of time to pack, and I'm taking advantage of these next several weeks to go through our belongings and purge a few things. Whiskers is happy and oblivious to his future - loves having random boxes to explore but is not a fan of change. He's the pet I'm most concerned about for our upcoming move.

I am so grateful for this home we've lived in for the past four years. My gosh, a lot has changed in that time! Today I will practice an attitude of gratitude, as suggested by my own Monday morning dream state. I'm setting my sights on tonight's session of mandala drawing with my friend B and my girl C. Time to hit the yoga mat and face the day...
Here's wishing each of you a week full of blessings,
and the ability to recognize those blessings with gratitude.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Another round of photography scavenger hunt photos

Today is the day I show you my latest finds for Rinda's 2015 Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt. Come on in...

1 - a bouquet of flowers
I have always made a habit of having fresh flowers on our kitchen table. I usually don't buy roses, but our local grocery store had these on sale a few weeks ago and I just couldn't resist. Wow - they were beautiful! Started out as tight little rose buds, opened wide, and lasted a full week! I read recently that having fresh flowers in your house can help fight depression. So there. :o)

2 - an ornate door knocker
This is one of those items that I wondered if I'd be able to find. When we arrived at my father-in-law's house last week for dinner there it was, for my photographing pleasure. {Three cheers for our US Marine Corps! Hip-hip-OOorah! Hip-hip-OOorah! Hip-hip-OOorah!}

5 - architectural columns
Downtown Chandler, Arizona - the old part of town that's all renovated and trendy and fun now - and a bit barren at this time of day. Summer heat, you know.

7 - a turtle
Casper the turtle to be exact. We've had such a great habitat for our two box turtles in this house! We'll really miss being able to see them on a regular basis because our new house doesn't have an atrium. Our new digs will require some clever thinking to figure out where we will keep them once we move. You know I'll keep you posted...

15 - a flag pole with at least three flags on it
(flags are US, Arizona, City of Chandler)

Text from Carrie a few weeks ago: "Wanna know some really good news?"
Me: "Of course!"
Carrie: "I found a flagpole with three flags on it."
Me: "OMG that's fantastic!!! Where?!?!"

I love that Rinda's photo hunt gets the whole family involved. This flag pole was in downtown Chandler in front of the Center for Performing Arts.

16 - a panoramic view, taken from someplace high in the air
We attended a Diamondback's baseball game on July 4th and arrived at the ballpark super early. I loved being able to get a table at Friday's, high above left field before crowds filled the place! We were able to watch batting practice before the game, have a leisurely dinner, and take a photo for Rinda's photo hunt. :o) Diamondbacks on the field, Carrie and Andrew on the right.

18 - an overloaded truck, car, bicycle or other vehicle
I snapped this photo on our way home from California at the beginning of June. Overloaded vehicle times two.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Thirteen down, eight to go!

Monday, July 20, 2015

This weekend's mandala workshop for kids

Good day, blog friends.
This weekend I had the pleasure of leading a mandala workshop for big and little people with my yoga friend, Jessica. I have some photos of the event to share with you today. :o)
I met Jessica at a teacher training workshop for kids yoga certification back in March. On the first morning of the training she rolled her mat out next to mine and we became instant friends.

So when Jessica suggested that we lead a yoga/mandala workshop for parents and kids at the studio where she teaches, I jumped at the chance.

A favorite part of the mandala workshops I lead is creating a mandala with yarn on the floor. A piece of masking tape is placed just under the front edge of our mats, and we roll a ball of yarn in a pattern as each person answers a question before securing the yarn at their point. Really deep questions like, "What's your favorite animal?" "...color?" "...flavor of ice cream?" It's a great way for mandala newbies to visualize how a mandala is formed.

Jessica lead the yoga practice in a circle format where we created a moving mandala with our poses. I lead a brief instruction on how to draw a mandala and then everyone moved away from the main circle to draw and color for a while. I loved seeing the parent/child groups together, engrossed in their own mandalas and enjoying some creative time together.

When Carrie was little we crafted together often. Seeing these moms and young daughters together really brought back some sweet memories for me.

The above photo is of my yoga friend, Cindy and her sweet little girl. Cindy and I completed our 200-hour yoga teacher training together. As I snuck in a few photos of them I overheard this little angel tell her mommy, "You're my best friend." Ah! I loved bearing witness to their sweet connection, and knowing that the process of being with their mandalas created that space for them.

I had copies of mandala coloring book pages for kids to color, and the parents (and some of the older kids) drew their own. One of the coolest things for me is to say farewell at the end of the workshop to people clutching their mandala kits with a look in their eyes that tells me they can't wait to go home and draw some more. Spreading mandala love is so awesome.

And I brought along a little friend of my own. :o) The next photo is of my 9-year old friend, "A," who had never practiced yoga before but is a budding artist and I knew she would dig it. On our way home from the workshop I asked, "So what did you think of your first yoga class?" and she replied, "I really loved it."

The turtle mandala pages are some that I drew and copied for coloring pages. I will be sharing those here on my blog in the future. :o)

So that's what I did on Saturday afternoon. The rest of the weekend was filled with the normal fanfare of grocery shopping, laundry, a little art of my own yesterday afternoon, and dinner made by Carrie last night. Awesome, awesome weekend. Super, super fast two days.

And now, it's off to work I go...
Setting my sights on my next mandala workshop coming up in October.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Just a Quote for Friday

"All boundaries that are currently valid, and that define us at the moment, must be repeatedly questioned, sacrificed and traversed."
~ Verena Kast
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