Saturday, December 31, 2011

Glass Half Full or Half Empty?

For too long now,
I have seen the glass as half empty.
So, today,
I have made myself a promise to retrain my thinking so that I can begin to see this glass as
half full and more!
I began by choosing beads of many sizes, shapes and colors to represent the blessings I encounter each day.
Some blessings are very big and full of potential.
Some blessings, especially when compared to others, seem much smaller, but they are still blessings.
Then there is the mixture of blessings that come in all different shapes, sizes and colors.
We often don't realize that these are blessings, 
and this is what I need to do.
In my glass that is half full, I begin by adding a big blessing to my day.
Can you see?  The water rose above the line.
Now, the glass is more than half full.

I add some more beads or blessings to the glass.

 The water level rises, and there is more color in the glass--blessings.
  Again, I add more beads (blessings) to my glass.
There is even more color, and
the water level rises a bit more.
Do you see where this is going?
One last time, at the end of the day in my case, I add more beads (blessings) to my half empty glass.
The water has risen a bit more.
This glass cannot be called 
half empty any more.
This glass is truly more than half full.
Then when you look at what's inside the glass, you begin to see the colors, the shapes, and the sizes of the blessings in the 
half full glass. 
At one point, this idea of the half full glass was hard to see.
When you checked the mark on the glass and saw the water rise, you could see that there were blessings in the glass,
to really see these blessings,
you had to look inside the glass.
Look at how pretty they look--disorganized, on top of each other--but they still look pretty!
Looking outside the glass at the rising water levels, helps,
looking inside helps us to visualize how truly blessed we are.
I need to do this everyday to change my thinking.
My glass is half full and not half empty.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Three Beautiful Things This Week

Three Beautiful Things This Week was inspired by a wonderful blog that Clare writes called Three Beautiful Things. Everyday, Clare writes about 3 Beautiful Things that happen each day in her life. It's a wonderful blog! I can only hope to imitate her in a very small way.

1)  I'm not sure where to begin.  I am so blessed!  Being with the kids for Christmas was wonderful!  I was able to enjoy both Jenny and Nick in the same room as adults.  We played Monopoly on my IPad.   We ate.  We went to church.  It was great!  I am truly blessed!

2) After Xmas, Nick and I cleaned the basement!  It was so needed.  Nick hauled the heavy stuff upstairs for me.  He helped me sort the old stuff.  He understood when I cried.  Anyway, it took a good day's work, but now the job is done!

3) Pixie is settled again.  When Jenny and the kitties were here, she would look at me with eyes that said HELP!  Walter still loves her.  Nick continues to be amazed at how much of a dog she's become.  These rescues are very special dogs!!!  If you are looking for a dog, I highly recommend a greyhound!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Weekly Photo Challenge - Between


The only thing between me and this woodpecker is a sliding glass door.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Memories From the Basement

It was a two day event for Nick and me.  We attacked and cleaned the basement!!!!!

There was laughter.  There were tears.
There were some things we looked at and said, "Why did he keep this?"  There were other things we just said, "What is it?"

Nine garbage bags later.  10 bags full of things to the thrift store.  Then home for 6 more bags of garbage and 4 more bags for the thrift store.  Then it was done!

The tears came when we found things from their childhoods. Photos flooded our brains with memories. Memories of places. Visions of people we loved for too short of a time. 

Laughter came when we remembered why we kept the drawings, the photos, the journals, the paper clippings, and some of the things we found.

We wondered why somethings were still there after 40 years.  Why were they moved 20 years ago?  What meaning did they have then that they didn't have now?  Who were some of these people in the pictures?  Who was this baby in the picture?  Why did we have it?

Look at this!  It's my first communion veil!  What is this?  This is my bull fighting cape from when I took Spanish dancing as a teenager.  Look at these newspaper clippings.  Mom, is that you?  Why didn't you tell me you used to act in plays?  When did you do that?  How old were you?  Where'd did all these cups come from?  I don't know, but put them in the thrift shop bags.  (White bags were for the thrift store.  Black bags were the garbage.)

Now, what's left of the memories are organized in plastic bins.  Memories stored until someone else comes along and says, "What is this?"  "Where did it come from?"  "Why did she keep it?"
"Who was that?"  "Was she really an actress?"

Memories from the basement, but a basement that's cleaned!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

There is a Need for Beads at Beads of Courage

are always needed at 
I found an excellent tutorial for kid friendly fish in the August 2011 issue of
a digital magazine for  glass bead makers!
I love this magazine!
I've been making big beads for Acts of Courage Beads.

These fish are big!!!!!

These fish, along with other, BIG beads will be sent to Beads of Courage
after the holidays.
My wish is that some of the older kids will receive them.
I used to be a high school teacher, so I am partial to them.
We'll see.
I'm sure these beads will go to those who need them the most!


Monday, December 26, 2011

Easy Peasy Tutorial - A Free Quick No Sew Fabric Bracelet

Yes, I said,
Are You Ready?
 Begin by cutting up old T Shirts.
One strip, from 3 different shirts, about an inch wide, will do to make this bracelet.
 Here's one strip cut.
Pull the yarn taut to curl the edges.

I used white, pink, and black for my bracelet.
I cut 24 inches of fabric for my bracelet.
I also cut the seam open.

Tie the yarn into a knot at one end.

Braid the yarn to fit your wrist.
If you want a snug fit, make sure the ends meet.
If you want a looser fit, braid a little bit more.
Take one piece of fabric and pull it up.

Bring that fabric up, around, and through as shown in the photo.

Pull the knot tight.

Form a loop.  Make sure that the knot on the other end of the braid will fit snuggly through the loop.

The knot needs to stay in the loop.  The loop and the knot are your closures.
 Tie knots at your fabric ends.  Trim the fabric to just above the knots.

Your bracelet is finished!

If you don't want to tie knots, you sure don't have to do that.
I think the bracelet looks great either way!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve - Peace

It's quiet now.
The celebration is finished.
The presents are opened.
The dinner is eaten.
The dishes are clean.
The children are sleeping.
The family has gone home.

in the quiet of the evening,
peace envelopes this space
flowing like a gentle hymn through the cold, night air
Touching and covering
this simple place
landing like quiet snowflakes on my tongue,
a host to be consumed
then integrated into my heart and soul.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Three Beautiful Things This Week

Three Beautiful Things This Week was inspired by a wonderful blog that Clare writes called Three Beautiful Things. Everyday, Clare writes about 3 Beautiful Things that happen each day in her life. It's a wonderful blog! I can only hope to imitate her in a very small way.

1) No complaints here about the weather!  It looks like we'll have a "brown" Christmas this year.  That's okay.  I still remember last year.  We had already surpassed our average snowfall for the year by December of 2010.  On Christmas Day, our high will be in the 40's!  For this time of year, that is amazing!

2) I went to the mall for the first time yesterday.  It was so nice to do most of my shopping on line.  I really didn't have much to do, but, with the exception of one item, the rest was done online!  Yahoooo for the internet!

3) Nick is on his way home for the holidays.  I'm still not sure if Jenny will be home today or tomorrow.  I'm just so happy that we can all be home, together, for Christmas!!!  The traveling weather will be good.  We are truly blessed!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Winter Solstice

The Winter Solstice occurred at 5:30 AM universal time this morning.  Today is the first day of winter and the day when there will be more darkness than on any other day.  After today, each day will usher in more light until we reach the summer solstice which will be the day on which there will be more light than on any other day of the year.  If you'd like to read more about the solstice, click here and here for more information.

Science aside, where are we?  We are three days away from Christmas.  The pre-Christmas  season has flown.  I realized today, that I hadn't even lit my Advent Wreath as we make ready the way of the Lord.  I didn't realize how much I missed that tradition. Tonight,  I will light the wreath and continue for the rest of Advent so that I can focus on the true reason for the season. 

Most of the shopping is done, except for the grocery shopping.  I have to go grocery shopping today so that I can feed my children when they come home.  I am looking forward to us being together for Christmas!   I really don't like grocery shopping, but the kids need food to eat after they get home. 

I enjoy interacting with my adult children.  They roll their eyes when I get silly, but it's fun--for me!  When we visit with other people, they tell them not to encourage me!  It's just so much fun to be silly!  We eat.  We open presents.  We play.  We go to church.  This year, the service we attend will be Midnight Mass.  In my eyes, there is nothing more beautiful than that.  In Minnesota, the air is cold.  If there's snow on the ground, the ground sparkles in the moonlight.  The candles in church are bright and lit against the darkness.  Then, the lights are turned on and Mass begins.  It is beautiful.

Back home, we snack again, talk, watch TV, share our thoughts, laugh at the memories.

So, now, in the darkness of this very long night, I am looking forward to the upcoming days.  I am dreaming short dreams like the short day we had today.   That's fine.  Not all dreams need to be big dreams or dreams that happen over a long period of time.  Some dreams are meant to be small.  Yet, in their tiny stature, they are big dreams.  Not everyone has a family with whom they can celebrate the season or the change of seasons.  I am blessed that I do!  Not everyone has a family that does not fight and that makes the time together a time to be dreaded rather a time to which we can look forward.  I am blessed.  We all do look forward to being together and catching up. 

In the darkness, I see light.  It's a tiny speck of light, but it will glow brighter and brighter with each day.  It's like the change of seasons.  Even though it's winter now, the light grows brighter and stronger until it's summer.  Then the seasonal shift begins again!  I actually look forward to the beginning of winter.  It's good.  The night is long and the day is short today.  I'm okay. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

About This Time of Year

In June of 2010,
I took a lampworking class from 
at the Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee.
I learned how to make her glass corsage and glass necklace!
I think,
more than any other glass class I have taken,
this class has impacted me the most.
About this time of year,
I feel the need to make more pods, leaves, craters, headpins
to put together a small sculpture or necklace.
Last year,
these are the corsages I made.

This year, the urge to make struck earlier.
I'm still working with all those shorts I showed you earlier.
I am amazed at how many beads I am getting from them!
Included are the beads you'll see next.
I'm making a lot of pods, leaves, flowers and craters.
No matter how many I make,
I have found I need many, many more.
here we go.
I'm making some wire pieces, like this wire nest and wire pod to add to the sculpture this year.
I'm still not sure if I'll work with dark annealed wire or copper.
Maybe, both?
I'm not sure.

I have a lot more craters made, but I took these pictures a few days ago, so
I haven't gotten them photographed yet.

These leaves will be fun to use!

Here are some headpins!  I think I'll make more of these!

Here are some pods and a flower.

More pods!

A flower and a pod.

Some leftovers from another project.

When I'm finished, these all might or might not go into my project.
About the only thing I know right now is that I am going to add more wire to whatever I made.
What do you think,
copper or dark annealed wire?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Weekly Photo Challenge - Self Portrait - Just a little early this week!

Self Portrait

I didn't do anything to the eyes.  Weird!

Self Portrait
s-e-l-f p-o-r-t-r-a-i-t
Self Portrait

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Hoffman Family Christmas Newsletter - 2011

I'd be a big, fat liar if I said 2011 was a wonderful or awesome year!
It wasn't.
2011 will go down in our family's history as one of the most difficult years we have endured.
As you know, Jenny was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in July of 2010.
Her treatment plan was proceeding well,
but her numbers reached a point in 2011 where her oncologist felt that it was time to begin her 
stem cell transplant.

Jenny chose the University of Minnesota as the transplant center she would use.
This definitely made it easier for us regarding housing and taking care of pets.

I moved in with Jenny in late May.
Yes, I said, I moved in with her!  :0)
After all the pre-transplant tests were completed, the stem cell transplant began.
Jenny was admitted to the University of Minnesota Hospital.
Nick moved in with us for 3 weeks.
He was our rock through this difficult time!
 The stem cell transplant went exceptionally well.
Jenny had no complications.
Jenny did loose her beautiful hair, but it is growing back.

Of course, during the transplant, Nick would leave notes for the doctors and nurses saying,
"Proceed with enemas daily."
"Full rectal check."
This helped to lend levity in a most difficult time.

The rest of the summer was spent with Jenny recovering at home.
She did recover, and she is now back at work.
We were disappointed to find out that she didn't go into full remission as hoped,
but she is doing well.
Her oncologist, Dr. J,  has a good treatment plan for her.
Jenny has a lot of trust in him.
In spite of the side effects from her medication, Jenny is working full time and feeling better now.

While we were at Jenny's,
Walter, one of Jenny's cats, fell in love with Pixie.
Pixie liked him, but it just wasn't working for her.
Walter couldn't get enough of Pixie when they were together.
He was her constant companion on the bed, on the couch, well, you get the picture.
Walter was, and still is, smitten with Pixie.
Marvin, Jenny's other cat, prefered to ignore Pixie and give her an occasional hiss.

Nick is back in Chicago working hard and enjoying his life there.
I don't know what I would have done without him during the transplant!
He is an amazing man!  
He still gets to the gym, but, now, he says that he would rather the gym came to hiim!
That's what age will do to you.  :0)

I moved back home at the end of July after Jenny no longer needed a driver for her appointments.
It was so good to be home again.
It took me a while to recover from the transplant, but after about a month I was on the go again.
I reopened my Etsy store and began to make beads.
That felt good!

My children are the best things that ever happened to me!
I am so proud of both of them!
They proved their characters and strength in this difficult year.
I burst with pride and thankfulness when I realized the wonderful gift with which  God blessed me by giving me
Jenny and Nick
as my chidlren!
Thank you, Lord!

we will never forget you.
You were intense, and
I hope we never have to live through another year like you.

we welcome you with 
open and hopeful arms.

Merry Christmas!
Jenny, Nick, and I hope your 2011 was better than ours was.
Please continue your prayers for us.
We still need them.
They help!
They really do!

May you be abundantly blessed in 2012!
That's our prayer for you!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

I Heart Macro - Xmas is coming!

I Heart Macro!
Xmas is coming
Pixie is ready!
She's Ready!
I Heart Macro!