October 29, 2013

Almost All Hallows

Thrifted folk art witch.
Thrifted Kitchen Witch
Greetings to all and sundry. This is just a quick update on our progress toward the post-Halloween Barn Bash we are hosting on November 2nd (Saturday). We are in the midst of a flurry of decorating, sewing and other projects around here. I am almost finished with my steam-punk-goth costume which started out as a black evening gown from Goodwill. Hopefully, it will look alright. I did not think to take pictures before I started, but I will do some of the finished product. My daughter is busily making a saved box she found in the garage into "Luggage". She and her brother decided to do Terry Pratchett characters this Halloween and are coming as Two Flower and Wizard Rincewind from his Discworld series. My daughter and I also made the candelabra pictured below as a joint project. We saw it on Pinterest, and though my Pin did not include instructions, we figured it out as we went. We are quite pleased with the results.

Black Halloween Candelabra

I thought I would put up some pictures and give everyone a peak into these preparations. Hopefully, I will post again after the party with more pictures and information. I will start the brief tour of our party plans and ambitions with the cover of the Invitation. We recently revisited the Rocky Horror Picture Show, so it was in my mind when I designed the invite. The quote and text on the front are from that movie :)

Halloween Party Invitation
Halloween Party Invitation 2013
Before Barn collage

The Barn was dirty and cluttered—and it still is, just less so. It is a barn. We had already put in quite a few hours before I decided I wanted to take pictures, but we still had a good ways to go. That first day was strictly cleaning, rearranging, hauling off garbage. By the end of the day, I heaved a sigh of relief that at least there was a chance that I could pull it all together the way I wanted to.

Main area of barn

It was worlds cleaner. We consolidated all of the odds and ends that could not be moved out, in a back corner, and cleaned the room where the old refrigerator is.

Back room

I put a lot of the sundry items that had occupied the back room shelves in the hanging cabinets and shoved all else in a corner where it could be quite handily covered up.

Work in progress-- firepit

Meanwhile, out in the yard between the house and barn, we are working on constructing a fire pit. I have to go get more materials to complete the project. Hopefully, there will be roasting of marshmallows and such on the chilly fall and winter evenings to come.

Spider Web window at end of barn

Everything is starting to come together nicely, I think. I still have not actually lit it up at night to get the full effect, but I am pleased so far.

Lighting up the barn.

Yes—the tractor and lawn mower are still in the barn. However, they are ready to move out of the way at a moment's notice. I love the lights. Makes me wish I could just leave them all the time. I used orange over the buffet tables, but went with white for the main barn area. Not only are the white lights brighter and cheerier, but I can recycle them in just a couple of weeks when we start decorating for Christmas.

Buffet Table

As I said, I will try to get together more pictures and post after the party. I have lots to do in the meantime. Food to make, and too many projects to finish. Hope you have a spooky, fun and safe Halloween.

Halloween Decorating

October 24, 2013

Letting Go...

Hindu-Krishna dancing with Gopis
It has been longer than I intended since I last posted to this blog. I have been busy, but that is not the reason. All of my activity has garnered little or no actual results. I do not have anything in particular to show for my time or my effort. I have had several topics in mind to write about, but they require that I complete one project or another, as well as the documenting and photographing of same. However, I am like a juggler who has too many balls in the air and no clue as to how to reduce the number gracefully. I did bake my lovely Granddaughter a cake for her sixteenth birthday. My own birthday follows hers by a week to the day. While I should have tried to make it a joyful landmark, my own brooding autumn mood and the fact that it nearly coincides with the anniversary of our move to Florida last year made for a pensive and reflective day at best.

Birthday Cake
I think that I was hoping that, having been here a year, I would feel more settled. I fully believed when we moved here that the change would jump-start my stagnant feeling life. Lots of things have changed, but too much remains the same. Ever since we got here, it seems that I have been seeking a direction, looking for a renewal of purpose to life, and every time I think I have it figured out, I seem to be blocked. Having given up Free Will a number of years ago, I am used to having my wings clipped when I go on flights of fancy that do not suit the purposes of that Higher Power which guides me. At this point though, I seem to be grounded. No matter which way I try to go, I find myself right back where I started. I can do the day-to-day stuff, work around this place and basically fulfill all the obligations that life entails. I can, intermittently, work on this blog, the purpose of which still remains an enigma to me. But outlets for true creativity or financial independence all seem closed to me.

Hourglass-- Time is trickling away.
Time is passing so quickly.
This year has flown by so quickly that I am reeling just a bit. The speed with which time seems to elapse leaves me constantly edgy and ill-at-ease. My days, my weeks, my months, tumble by with so little to show for their passage. Life was not always this way. Memory may be hazy on many counts, but in a day I know that I used to have time to savor, to accomplish, and even occasionally to be bored. While I am as certain as ever that there is a reason for this all-out rush of time, I chafe under the constraints of never having the Time...

Of late, as I become a little better at stilling my restless thoughts, that small still voice that is neither inside or out, has whispered repeatedly that I need to Let Go of Everything. That is a tall order. I have done it before, but the woman who is faced with this daunting task now is not the same as the one who undertook much the same Path a quarter century or so ago. While she had no proof that the Freedom and Enlightenment she sought were possible, she had faith, she had trust, heart and hope. I, on the other hand, Know what can be attained, but those other assets are tarnished and worn. It is not Spirit or God that I have lost faith in, but Myself. My heart has not been wide open in a long time. I do not trust that I can let go and have the sort of fearless acceptance that this journey requires. There was a time in my life when I always told the Truth, to myself and to others. I do not lie now, but I have learned to keep my mouth shut, to evade and circumvent. There was a time when I was utterly Fearless. Now mild fear and anxiety pervade my life. Instead of being afraid of death or illness as so many are, I am mortally afraid that I will not be good enough, wise enough or brave enough to do all this again.

Tree as a metaphor for life.
It is easy to see what I need to let go of, at least in part. But letting go of everything—this is not just a call to release the negativity in my life. The inventory of emotional baggage whether it is perceived as good or bad that we accumulate even in the short term of life is staggering. What do I need to give up? The judgment and pettiness which I have battled but still experienced these past few years, and also guilt, responsibility, regret, anger and jealousy. On the other hand, I need to cleanse myself of feeling sorry for myself or others, of the need for attention, of clinging to people, places or things. In the final reckoning, to achieve Freedom in this world we must give up everything, trusting implicitly that that which we really need will return to us on its own.

And most importantly, if I am ever to have peace in this life, I have to accept myself and hopefully at some point, Love myself again. That was the hardest part for that younger version of Self I mentioned earlier, but she did it and I think I can also. A song sung by Steve Winwood back in 1986 has been playing through my head for days now—Higher Love.
"Think about it, there must be higher love
Down in the heart or hidden in the stars above
Without it, life is wasted time"
I could not agree more. A life without Love is not a life, and if Love is to have any meaning it must be unconditional and without reservation. Unconditional Love is easy to contemplate or give lip service to, but how many of us have ever truly experienced it? And how many of us have ever achieved it? To love with no expectations, no requirements, without judgment or culpability is a tall order unless you have first opened and cleared your own heart. So few of us, even in the case of our children, parents or God are capable of loving no matter what may come. We feel the sting of rejection, the pain of being ignored, or we suffer the affronts of disrespect or dislike on the other's part, and our first instinct is to react in kind. That is not Unconditional Love. To love unconditionally is to love the other whether that sentiment is returned or not, whether the beloved is present or away, and without judging that one's behavior or conduct. It is Love in its simplest form, without dilution or mitigation, and it is a magnificent gift to give or receive.

Weathered dock on our pond.
Weathered Dock-- a beautiful place to sit and contemplate.
I think perhaps the most difficult person to love unconditionally is yourself. In order to let go of all of the garbage that has accumulated over these past few years, I absolutely must quit finding fault with myself, denigrating myself and feeling what I construe as guilt and a sense of failure because I am not precisely where I want to be right now. Why is it so much easier to love and forgive everyone else? Maybe because we are too close, but probably because of the obsessive self-absorption most of us indulge in constantly. I am spending a lot more of my time looking outward these days— attempting to reawaken the compassion and desire for service that make this world a better place. And I am feeling very much better for it. I am giving it all away, knowing that Spirit will send everything I really need back my way.

Blessings, and may you find your own Higher Love.

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