Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! October 31 is the holiday of Samhain, traditionally the Celtic new year, after the harvest season. 

I like to celebrate the start of a new year whenever I can. Why wait until January 1? I celebrate new years on Rosh Hashanah (Jewish new year), and in late February (Asian new years), not to mention Samhain and, yes, January 1. Birthdays are a great time for a new year, too. In fact, ANY day is the start of a new year--it's exactly 1 year later than it was this time last year.

All this talk of new years makes me think of resolutions. Resolutions should be made for self-improvement... and we should not have to wait until Jan 1 to improve ourselves. No more procrastination! Declare it a new year and get ON with your life!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Creative Impulse

Lately, I've been working full-tilt on a number of quilts. I have a lot of friends expecting babies soon, so I have four baby quilt tops made, and a fifth to be done as well. I've also been working piecemeal on a few other full-size quilts. 

I've noticed something interesting when I'm quilting. I can be tired, cranky, and even have a headache... and when I start being creative, all of that goes away. I am actually energized by doing it! I get in a sort of Zen state, especially when I'm hand-quilting. It opens up my mind to new possibilities, and I get a deep satisfaction from having created something beautiful.

I'm not much of an artist. I played violin for 10 years, but no longer play (though I do miss playing in a group, it's an amazing experience). I took fine-art photographs for a while (and would like to get back into it). When I decided to try quilting, I found something I could do well and thoroughly enjoyed--an outlet for my creative voice. 

Many people feel a deep-seated urge to create. How do you express this? How do you feel when you are creating? What do you like to create?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Buying local

One of my interests in living life is how I make an impact with my choices. One way I try to do that is through buying local products and supporting local businesses. They say that this country is built on the backs of small businesses, yet most of what we hear about in the news (especially lately, with major companies flailing and failing) is about Big Business. 

Lately I've been thinking about just how big an impact buying local can have. For one thing, you support some of the small businesses that abound everywhere. I've been a small business myself, for many years, so I enjoy supporting other such ventures. Buying local cuts down considerably on transportation costs (one of the reasons food costs have risen so steeply--gas costs rose, and it costs money to haul this stuff around the country!), which not only saves money but is helpful for environmental issues. By purchasing produce at local farmers markets, you're probably also getting healthier options (fewer preservatives, more options for organic food, greater varieties available).

How can you buy local? Well, I just mentioned farmers markets, which are terrific in NC. Many grocery stores now indicate when product has come from NC, making it easier to buy. I try to shop more regional chains (Harris Teeter, for instance), instead of national chains, or shop those larger chains that are heavily involved in the community (such as Target giving to local schools). I also look for locally owned restaurants for dining. As a quilter, I support ALL the local fabric shops, which are individually owned.

How do you support local business? How do you make an impact with your purchasing decisions? I'd love to hear more ways to keep more of my money in the community!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A powerful question

One of my favorite all-time thought-provoking questions, designed to help you dream big, is the following.

What would you do if you KNEW you could not fail? 

Ask yourself this question when you're floundering for a vision. If you've forgotten your dreams, or need to reach for something new. It will open new vistas, and broaden your horizons. You can drill it down, too: What would you do in your career? In your relationships? In your spiritual life? With your money?

I'm eager to hear thoughts and even responses to this question!

As for my thoughts, if I knew I could not fail, I would climb Mt. Rainier (hence the photo of it in this posting), among other things.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Deep thoughts

"When you cannot make up your mind between two evenly balanced courses of action, choose the bolder."  --W.J. Slim

I firmly believe in what this quote proposes. It goes along with my other favorite truism: Fortune favors the bold. This reminds me of a time in my life that turned out to be a crucial turning point: when I applied to go the NC School of Science and Mathematics for my last 2 years of high school. I was not a big risk taker at that time--in fact, I was a bit of a coward. I was faced with two options: comfort, routine, and the near-guarantee that I would graduate top of my class at home versus a chance to really be among my peers and have closer friends but be in a completely foreign environment and be middle of the pack. I chose the bolder: Going to NCSSM. And it made ALL the difference in who I am today.

When you have faced such a decision? Did you choose the bolder path? Would you choose a bolder path in your future?