Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Happy August!

  I think this is going to be one of those "snapshot" posts.  I always like those on the blogs I follow - just a quick glimpse at some of the things going on.  Which for me right now is plenty! One of my goals  is to each day create something, learn something, and enjoy something beautiful.  And then to share those things.


I found a box of embroidery thread, needles, and an embroidery hoop at the local thrift store a few months ago, and remembered how much I enjoy embroidery!  I made these towels for my sister-in-law's wedding shower.  I'm working on another embroidery project now, but since it is a gift, I think I'd better keep those pictures to myself for now.

   There are a few reasons why I try to work on creating something every day.  The first is because it helps me to unwind.  Second, because I think it is important to give something of ourselves to improve the world, no matter how small that improvement is.  When we create something, we give something of ourselves.  Right now those creations can beautify our homes or the homes of our friends.  Eventually, hopefully, they will be sweet memories when we are gone.  Is it often easier or cheaper to just go buy something? Sure.  But which would you rather have?  Something someone bought for you, or made for you?  "But I'm not creative!!" you say.  Sure you are, you just haven't found your talent yet.  Maybe it's needlework or knitting.  Maybe it's cooking.  Maybe it's music.  Maybe what you are best at is creating a good atmosphere or a story or a friendship.  


   It's so easy to stop learning, isn't it?  Especially I think for those of us not "in the workforce."  We get into our routines (hopefully!) of dishes and cleaning and cooking, and there just doesn't seem to be the time or energy to study.  Now if you have kids, I'm sure you are doing LOTS of studying to keep up with them, but what about what you want to learn?  Isn't that what we really want to instill in our children, that desire to keep learning?  But we need to make the habit for ourselves!
    My studying today?   Now, I am a long way from making sense of all of this financial stuff.  I'm good at math, but I just haven't had the resources to learn the finer details of things like budgeting, finances, etc.  Until, I think, now.  A friend of mine introduced me to You Need a Budget a couple of months ago, right when I was looking for how to budget (I had actually just checked books out from the library!)  The software is easy to use, and they offer a free trial, so you can see if it works for you before you commit.  Now, so far it hasn't saved us money, what with hospital bills and the like.  But it has definitely saved me stress.  And, as a bonus, they have tons of free videos and articles on budgeting (of course,) investing, and other very useful money related information.  They also have live online workshops, so you can ask questions and get answers real time.
   One more note.  Sometimes what I learn is practical, like budgeting.  Often it is creative, like a new stitch or technique in one of my hobbies.  And sometimes it is more intellectual, like the life of a saint, something historical, or even classic literature.  The important thing is to keep learning, right?


   It was actually this goal, of enjoying something beautiful every day, that inspired me to this whole idea of daily creativity, knowledge, and beauty.  Last summer my father-in-law gave a talk to a group of volunteers (more on our lovely volunteers in another post) on how our ability to appreciate and enjoy beauty really has to be cultivated, and how it really brings us closer to appreciating and recognizing goodness and, ultimately, God.  And as much as people say "beauty is in the eye of the beholder," it doesn't mean that beauty has no standards.  In fact, if you look at one considers beautiful, doesn't it really show something of the state of their soul?  Beauty, true beauty, needs order and form.  It needs truth.  It needs that something that makes it more than ordinary.

   I think classical music is really a good example of that need to cultivate an appreciation.  I grew up with country music mainly, along with some old favorites like Bing Crosby and Dean Martin.  Oh, and lots of Irish. And I still love that music.  A lot of it is beautiful, especially the more traditional irish tunes.  But it is simple music.  It is easily accessible, because your brain can tune into the story in the lyrics.  A few years ago, we were introduced to the Piano Guys.  I love the Piano Guys, because they are really a terrific introduction to classical music, music that doesn't rely on words.  Now a lot of their arrangements are of contemporary pieces, but they do both.  Now I'm gradually listening to more and more classical music, and recognizing the true beauty in so much of it.  10 or 15 years ago not only would I have not turned on that type of music - I wouldn't have really been able to appreciate it.  It was beyond me.  One other thing that I think makes a huge difference in the appreciation of classical music is whether or not you are watching it.  Especially when starting out, watching the performance I think really helps to keep you focused and enjoying it.  Which is why I love the YouTube videos of the orchestra Flash Mobs.  This is one of my favorites:

   Thank you for reading!  Please comment below with your own creativity, knowledge, or beauty!  And let me know what you think.  Do you have similar daily goals?

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