Started a new blog…

For all of my life, I’ve been an avid reader and a good half of my reading had something to do with spirituality.

Now, that reading might have ( and still does ) pertained to religion, to “New Age” to “Self-Help” to comparative religion, to mythology, to memoirs about cooking in an Orthodox Jewish home with the writer’s MIL, to the Bible, to Edgar Cayce, to Buddhism, to historical fiction, to Jungian archetypes and how they affect us, to the Mother Goddess in history,  and so much more.

You would THINK that I’d be a damn saint by now, but I am not, What’s with THAT? :) 

But due to this interest of mine I started another blog. And since I am not a saint by now, I won’t be ‘preaching’ to you on the blog. Aren’t you lucky! :)

I wanted to name it something simple like SacredStuff. com but any simple names are all taken up. So the blog is called The Sacred Eclectic. It is to be a mix…devoted to soul and spiritual journeys but just a little of my own here and there. Not too much of me, I hope, since I am not a damn saint yet : )

I am Word Press and familiar with it so I looked at a lot of the free themes, but in the end chose Mantra which I also use for FLB. Mantra can be very fancy…with images, sliders, all sorts of things on the front page. But I like it because I can make it simple, where you just get to the reading of the post.

Having said that it’s been awhile since I set up a blog so it took longer than I’d anticipated. I still have to do an About Page, but I wanted to get a few posts up first.

There are many beautiful WP themes that don’t have enough pages, widget areas etc. There are more complicated themes where you need to know code or get help from a designer. I did not want to go that route!

The money that I have invested in this so far, is in using Feed Blitz versus Feedburner. Feedburner is free but I keep hearing that it’s on its last legs. Should that happen it would be complicated to migrate FLB over to another feed. So I didn’t want to have to do that with this new blog.

I decided for this new blog to use Feed Blitz for  the RSS feed as well as email subscriptions.

Those options are on the site now for you, should you want to subscribe.

I threw up a few Google ads ( we make nada off of ads like those unless they are clicked on ) and may search out a few more options to finance the Feed Blitz solution but for now, I spent enough time on setting this up :)

I am spinning off to this 2nd blog since FLB is basically a lifestyle blog. So while here and there, I might have a post on something geared to spirituality, or care of the soul, I don’t want that to be FLB’s focus. FLB’s focus is caring for the soul by photographing blue jays and squirrels and grandkids and cooking and sewing :)

The Sacred Eclectic will be a different variety, though I don’t have a specific plan in mind. I am winging it hopefully with some angel’s wings for guidance.  I do think that I would like to reference other blogger’s posts and stories on a specific day each week down the line, and for you readers that do not blog that could be a text sent in email with a photo or something…Just brainstorming here :)  I  feel that we all have stories…and I’d like this new blog to be a mix of stories from our generation and gifted writers and saints and seekers from the past as well.

The Sacred Eclectic,  still being worked on a bit is HERE.

Update…I just added an ABOUT page, with text from this post,  with this selfie from a year ago that took me a good 20 tries to do.  I am all ABOUT being behind the camera not in front of it! :) Selfies are hard, lol.

selfie for shop about page

You might also enjoy : Every Valley Shall Be Exalted

Sharing at : Cozy Little House / A Stroll Thru Life

Sewing end of March

Two rounds of snow in the last few days and some Easter egg dyeing going on.

Snow and Easter Eggs Collage for Blog

I have not been sewing much lately but I did finish up the hand quilting portion of this baby quilt and started to machine quilt around the borders on Saturday.

QUILT END MARCH

I have two borders to finish up and then I’ll apply binding. I’ll be hand-stitching it to the back later on today, joining the other slow stitchers over at Kathy’s Quilts.

Also sharing at : Cozy Little House 

Our ONE spring day in all of March

While we had snow on March 24, March 25 was the first day that it felt as if Spring was around the corner. It was our one spring day in all of March thus far this year. As I write this, snow is falling outside and it is 29 degrees and dropping.

It was to be short-lived, and get cold again,  but it went to around 65 degrees that Wednesday.  Furthermore it was windy, like March days should be. Up until that day, March did not feel like March, but rather as if February had extended itself for two months.

Knowing that we’d be cooped up again with cold temperatures and rain and snow on the following days, Javis, the after-school grandson, my youngest son and his six-month-old pup Koopa and I  seized the moment in the late afternoon that day and met at the little park that is close to us.

Javis Collage

Javis

 

on the blue slide collage

In a previous post I’d shown some pictures of my son teaching the pup to go up the steps on the big slide. This occurred again though Koopa managed them more easily on this round. As to me, I was still nervous about it all and probably always will be : ) I prefer him going down the little  blue slide above. That is why if I were in charge of the world, no one would do anything brave or daring, so I suppose that it is good that I am not in charge! I worry too much.

Luke 12:22  /Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.”

NOTICE he didn’t say not to worry about the pup falling off the steps! :)

Nate and Koopa Collage

Blue Javis

 You might also enjoy :  Latest on the Puppy and DIY Dog Toys  or  Year in Review: Favorite Photos from January-June  or  Tuesday Treasures : Happy Things :) 

Sharing at : Cozy Little House

Family Tree : The Grandparent’s 1st Home built by Grandfather

I mentioned in a previous post that my grandparents built their home on property next to the original homestead built and farmed by Emma and John. My mom said that my grandfather is the one that built the home; she remembers this. I would assume that it was one of the kit houses that were so prevalent back then, though I am not sure.

Here is the house that he built. It still stands today and this photo was sent to me by my cousin who took it from Google Earth! :)

house on weyman road

Here he ( Wilbert Adam Zeiler ) is building a replica of that house:

Bup and the Weyman Road House Replica

He was a maintenance man for Sexton and quite the builder and carpenter. I remember that property having a nativity set out front at Christmastime that he’d made.  The log cabin and some other pieces under our Christmas tree were built by him as well as a wooden folding fence that encompassed the entire platform that held the train set and town.

He made or refinished furniture, built birdhouses and martin houses and a wooden kitchen set for me when I was little.

Here I am posing in front of one of the pieces. I would have been 2 or 3 and we were still living there at that time. I named that doll “Barbara” and notice the plastic on the furniture!  That was big in the day. The big black Ford had plastic on the seats too. When I was first married he made a sort of replica of that hutch for me; full size. My niece has it now. And after all of these years I have fixed my red eyes in Picasa :)

Little Kitchen Set

I recall that a creek ran at the bottom of the property and there was a pond or pool of sorts that he’d dammed up…I think that it had some goldfish. I would either play there or run over to my Aunt Ruth’s, shown in the previous post. I remember being very sad when we moved out to our new house further out in the country about a half-hour away.

The family tree series up until now has focused on my grandmother’s side, the Hamels.

Here are my grandfather’s parents : Henry Charles Zeiler and Margaret ( Weidinger ) Zeiler:

Grandfather Henry Charles Zeiler

Two more pictures of Margaret; the first one holding Lillian Ann, a grandchild, and Margaret looks as if she was a very fun and energetic person to be around in this photo:

Margaret Weidinger Zeiler and Lillian Ann

margaret weidinger Zeiler

My mom remembers a time when her mom, Ida was ill, and grandma Margaret coming over and taking care of everything and cooking etc. for them. She said that she was a very sweet lady.

My grandfather was the youngest of 9 children : Mary, George, Minnie, Charles, Benjamin, William, Elmer John, Arthur, and then himself. The first, Mary, was born in 1882. He was born in 1903. Grandchild Lillian Ann in the photo above belonged to Elmer John.

Elmer John Zeiler Wilberts brother

Elmer John Zeiler banner WW1

This is not the only Zeiler soldier in the Family Tree :

Charles Henry Zeiler, born Oct. 31 1817 in Prussia, a member of the Pennsylvania Volunteers during the Civil War:

Charles Henry Zeiler Civil War PA Volunteers

A photo of the Zeiler home in Castle Shannon, Pa. where my grandfather and siblings were raised:

Zeiler homestead in Castle Shannon

You might also enjoy earlier posts in this series :

Sharing at : The Charm of Home / Cozy Little House / A Stroll Thru Life

Amazing Pitbull puppy climbs tall slide and more fun with the grands

I had Brent on Monday afternoon so when Javis got home from school, I took both boys down to the park close to my home. My oldest brought his puppy and after awhile decided that he should climb the slide with him.

Now, there are several slides…many of them, in my mind better geared towards teaching a dog to climb. “MOM, I’ve seen pitbulls climb ladders!”.   Oh, dear. So the grands are older and I don’t have to worry about them falling to their death but do I get to relax? NO, now I get to worry about the pup.

the slide 2 pic collage

My son was very gentle and simply coaxed him up, step by step. The pup was scared and unsteady but wanted to please his master. I was a nervous wreck :)  The first time, it took a very long time for him to ascend and then after he rode down the slide with my son he went crazy! Leaping in the air, over and over, so happy and excited! He wanted to do it again!

The second time was no different. It’s a hard skill to master but the determination and devotion in his eyes explains why he kept on going. This brave pitbull puppy climbed the tall slide steps. Koopa is a bluenose pitbull.

koopa going up the slide steps

koopa black and white edit

koopa and nate top of slide

For the most part, I had stood behind him at the bottom, and got a few photos with my phone and then my son wanted me to video them going down the slide with his phone. After about the 4th time we stopped as we were concerned the pup would be getting tired. He had fun with this new experience, though, and wanted to go down a few of the smaller slides with the boys ( No Crazy Steps to Worry Me On Those Ones, though! :)

Time to relax a bit and quit worrying and just hang out.

Javis by himself

If you walk across the baseball field, there’s a creek below. Two geese were in the field and of course when I called the boy’s attention to them, they ran to chase the geese, who flew off to join their companions in the creek.

boys by the water

With only my phone, I couldn’t really get any good closeups of the geese but there was a whole flock of them in the water and at some point we brought the pup down and when he noticed them he was quite interested.

geese brent and koopa collage

HA! That was an understatement…he wanted to follow them and even went into the water and then right back out again, startled and cold. After that we didn’t stay much longer as he needed to get back into the house and warmth but it was hilarious to the boys.

All in all a nice late afternoon jaunt before I took them home to their parents for dinner.

brent black white

And then guess what happened later on that night and what the view was in the morning?

That’s right…snow! :)  Hopefully the last one..a nice two inches of it which melted by late afternoon.

march 24 snow

You might also enjoy:   Needle, Thread & Yarn, End of March 2014 Sewing  or  3 Quick Random Cooking Tips  or  The Light is Changing

Sharing at : Savvy Southern Style / Common Ground / Viewing Nature with Eileen / Cozy Little House

The Red Tent Movie and The Grands : Slice of Life from a Sunday

I rented The Red Tent on Saturday as it caught my eye on the RedBox machine.

The Red Tent (2014) Poster

I couldn’t get in to “Noah” when it came out…I hoped that this story about Dinah, and Jacob and Rachel, Joseph of the coat with many colors, etc. was more like the Bible movies that I’d seen when I was younger. It was, but it’s based on a two part Lifetime series so after watching some of it on Saturday evening, I thought that I’d finish it up on Sunday, then return it and pick up a few things at the store.

Plans changed and I was to have two of my grands in the afternoon for awhile. When they showed up I was at the part where Joseph’s brothers have betrayed Dinah’s husband’s clan and are hacking them to death.

Better to turn off the Bible movie for the moment :)

You know, when you think of Abraham getting ready to sacrifice Isaac, or Hansel and Gretel’s parents dropping them off in the woods, or the wolf eating Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother, and so on…”Ladybug Ladybug, Fly Away Home, Your Children are Dead and Your House is on Fire ”  it boggles the mind what we were fed as little kids! :)

Better now as a grandma to just feed them a nice lunch of eggs, homemade biscuits, an orange, and some pineapple upside-down cake.

Brent March 22

Seriously, while The Red Tent has taken a wee bit of license with the Bible story, it’s fairly true to form and what is interesting is that it focuses on the women in the Bible story. It’s not an Academy Award winner but I’ll take it over that Noah movie any day…just not while the kids are around :)

Later on, the natives were getting restless so we headed to the playground closest to where my youngest son lives. While he did come over with Koopa the puppy I only took one photo with my phone, as it does a decent job if you are staying still. I didn’t even attempt any photos with Koopa and the kids.

As you can see, it was quite chilly. Little Brent already had chafing / chapping around his lips before we went out…I smeared chapstick all over him prior to hitting the outdoors and the playground.

Kids at playground March 22

So for any of you in the more temperate areas…this is our spring thus far. Well, it’s early yet. And the robins are everywhere…fat and happy and singing up a storm. After the extremely bitter temperatures of February and some in March as well, for a little kid…*UP* to 40 degrees and some sunlight means it’s time to go outside and play! :)

There were a few older kids there…there’s a baseball field, a creek in the back, a pavilion and so on. Some of them were just throwing a ball and wrestling around, another group had a remote-control car.

Then a grandma came with a set of three younger children and she suffered that nightmare of having the littlest one climb very carefully to the top of the slide ahead of an older sibling,  and then scream that he didn’t want to go down. No amount of coaxing could convince him to get onto the sibling’s lap or anything….been there, done that, don’t miss it now : ) We had to get all of the kids lined up behind to climb back down the steps so that she could go up and get him.  It was a pretty high slide…maybe in six months or so he’ll feel braver.

I see a bit of snow in our forecast for Monday but a warming trend later on in the week. Perhaps then it will feel like Spring for a bit.

You might also enjoy : Cooking Frugally Around Sales

Sharing at : Cozy Little HouseA Stroll Thru Life / Savvy Southern Style

Meditation : Following the Breath and then the dog starts to snore; real life challenge

Growing up, I was quite the reader, and between church and school and varied reading over the years, my psyche and mind are full of imagery.

Gods and Goddesses from Greek mythology, the finger of God creating the heavens from my first children’s Bible picture story book , angels and demons and a crucified Savior. Knights on white horses and the round table, the holy grail, giants and dragons and Little Red Riding Hood. Princesses and kings and evil witches and dwarves and hobbits….Adam and Eve and a talking snake, Noah’s Ark…you get the idea.

And let’s not forget Gumby :) Source

GUMBY

I picked up a book at the library awhile ago that was the biography of Shunryu Suzuki, titled “Crooked Cucumber; The Life and Teaching of Shunryu Suzuki” by David Chadwick. I was just browsing the religious / history section. I was not looking for any Buddhist teachings but the title caught my eye. Skimming through the book, the writer was engaging, so I checked it out, brought it home and read it.

This intriqued me enough to read up a bit on Buddhism and Zen and let me tell you, if you are not raised in that culture, and have no imagery or background in it, it is as far from what I was raised with as the east is from the west.

I am accustomed to prayer that is full of imagery, beseeching, reciting, what-have-you. And that prayer life or style can still have its place in the course of a day but not in zazen ( sitting ) time. In Zazen, you just sit and follow the breath, and try to empty yourself of the rest of it.  In the Bible this would be “be still and know that I am God”.

In other words, “shut up” :)

No thinking ‘thou anointest my head with oil ” or “the garden of Eden is within” or imagining Jesus taking me as a child in his arms, or this, that or the other. In Zazen, the goal is to get over all of that and get to the stillness. Of course once you start to observe your mind going all over the place as you simply try to follow the breath, you realize how hard this is. ( and no, I am not sitting on a hard floor in a lotus position at my age, lol…I have never been flexible and couldn’t get into a lotus position in my twenties, let alone now. I am sitting on a love seat with two pillows behind me to support by back, in a semi-lotus. That’s the best that I’ll ever do :)

Another thing that is difficult is being in the present moment or mindfulness. I am rarely there. I flit everywhere…when I am doing one thing I am thinking of 5 others. Since this was all such a different thing for me I made a little mindfulness altar. I have a Goodwill altar for the most part :)

Bargain buddha or meditator, candles and symbols, a picture of Jesus and the Buddha together that I found on the net, on a bargain basket tray. All for under 10.00.

mindfulness

Why did I need to assemble or create this? Because it’s a foreign way to me. So I needed a little ritual to set it apart. Here in this space and time, I will be still and nothing else. I won’t beseech, I won’t sing, I won’t visualize, etc.  I will just try to ‘shut up’ :)

SO!  Get up before dawn, light the candles, arrange the pillows, start to follow the breath…pretty soon the dogs come over and settle down beside you, and about ten minutes later one of them if not both,  is totally relaxed and  snoring out of sequence with your breath.

Need I say more. They are already Zen Masters…I have a long way to go :)

lily and jugsy

Sharing at : Cozy Little House / Savvy Southern Style / Common Ground

 

Spring, Bunnies, and the Magdalene

It’s fairly chilly here in Western Pa.  When Spring arrives, she’ll be wearing a jacket :)   The original forecast was for snow this evening, and then rain in the morning. They’ve changed it to just rain, but that simply means more mud.

I do not have many Easter decorations but I really enjoy this handmade basket and placemat from Judy at New England Garden and Thread. She’s quite talented. The placemat was a surprise gift; I purchased the basket a few years ago from her daughter’s shop at 1840 Farm HERE.

basket and placemat

Many years ago I purchased this picture of Mary in the lovely frame at T.J.Maxx. I had always assumed it was Mary, the mother of Jesus.

MARY and EGG

Not too long ago, I’d done a post in regards to thinking about Mary Magdalene, and when I sought an image for the post I found this :

So all along this image that I was greatly attracted to at the time, and bring out in the Spring for display, was of the Magdalene.

I looked up Richard Stodart and the information about his painting is HERE

Mary Magdalene: The FIRST disciple…present at the cross and the tomb; where were the others? The men? The women were there.

Yet we women raised in the church hear very little about her or women in the Bible. We have to seek that out for ourselves, for the most part. I do not want to offend anyone, but  I have often thought that perhaps she was the wife of Jesus, as many articles and books suggest. A Jewish man back then was expected to have a wife…if he’d not had one it was usually brought up. In two gospels, Mary anoints his head with oil…this is something that a priest does in the Bible. In one gospel, she anoints his feet. We grow up hearing stories from the pulpit, we read them in the Bible, and how often do we really think about them deeply. I did one day, trying to imagine myself sitting in a room where a woman was doing that to a man’s feet and I realized that it was very sensual, and most likely not a common occurence back then. The fact that she was going with his mother to attend to his naked body in the tomb further attests to the fact that she could have been a family member.  Just thinking here due to the customs at the time :)

mary-magdalene-jesus-feet

Whether the Magdalene and our Lord were married or not, she was a strong figure, a true disciple, and known enough to the common people that the male writers couldn’t entirely erase her later on from the slate, as is the case with most women and the sacred feminine in our religious heritage.

This is not meant to be a scholarly post…if you are interested in things like this, there are many books, there are articles and research available. If you are not, then just enjoy the fact that a woman was one of the closest and strongest disciples, to the very end, and then SHE was the first to announce the new beginning, and that alone is food enough for thought :)

Sharing at : Cozy Little House

Fun Finds : Old Magazines & Sears 1908 Catalogue

When these magazines were on the shelf, I was in high school and would have been completely oblivious to them.

McCalls Magazines

I was in the mission store ..a quick trip to see if there were any lightweight shelving units that I could use for my space at Vintage Secrets. None there, but I picked up these magazines that ranged from 1972-1974. I’ve not looked through them yet but it should be fun to do so. I’ll probably take some pictures and do a post on them down the line.

I did take photos of this, though it’s been awhile since I purchased it and took them.

I thought to share a few of the items inside:)

Sears Cat Cover

This is not the original…it’s a Sears 1908 catalogue replica printed in the 1960’s by the Gun Digest Company.

Sears cat foreward

Sears Cat Great Price Maker

Sears pages collage

Sears Cat Collage 2

And do you have your Easter bonnet yet? :)

Sears Cat Hats

You might also enjoy : A little boy feeding the birds : simple pleasures  or  Quilting, Piecing, Applique, Kids & a Little Dog Slobber

Sharing at : Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson / The Charm of Home / Cozy Little House / A Stroll Thru Life / Savvy Southern Style

Every Valley Shall Be Exalted

If you’ve been reading my family tree posts, you will know that I came from a line on my maternal side of German Baptists that left their homeland for a freer place to practice their religion.

They were breaking away from the Lutherans and the Lutherans broke away from the Catholics and on and on it goes. There are so many versions / denominations of Christianity now it is amazing.

Over the course of my life, whether dragged to church as a child or attended of my free will as an adult…I have been in the following :

  • Christian Missionary and Alliance
  • Baptist
  • Methodist ( Charismatic )
  • Assemblies of God ( Pentecostal )
  • Presbyterian
  • Catholic
  • Jewish services
  • Episcopalian
  • and a few more

Over the course of time, what I found was that if I was interested in the Bible and actually read it a few times, I wanted to learn more. My interest led me to reading about :

  • Archeology
  • Mystics
  • Jungian Psychology
  • Church History
  • Comparative Religions
  • Inner Healing
  • The Sacred Feminine
  • Mythology
  • and much more

Growing up as a Protestant, I loved the first half of the service with the hymns, recitations, hearing the choir, and so forth. Then I’d suffer through the sermon. As an adult, it was no different. Especially in Charismatic / Pentecostal churches! Those preachers gave some very long sermons and I swear that I had church attention deficit disorder come the second half ; sometimes I wanted to jump up and quote Moses  and say “LET MY PEOPLE GO!” :)

HAVING SAID THAT :) As a young girl I would sit at my grandparent’s house, watching the black and white TV, and the Billy Graham Crusade. And of course at the end, he would give the invitation to be ‘saved’. I picked this clip from You Tube since it has a favorite hymn of mine. But even as a kid, he held my attention.

At some point in my adulthood, I decided to learn about the Catholic faith and attend Catholic services. I began to go to a beautiful Catholic church in a local town with wonderful old architecture and an amazing choir and organist. It was totally different from my Protestant experience. I loved it. The service included the ‘audience’ all of the way through. We participated for the entire service…the priest’s homily was no more than 10 minutes. We got up, we got down. We responded back and forth…it was such a difference, to be a part of this liturgy. I recall one service where I had a sort of quasi-vision and understood ‘the communion of saints’.

This is not to say that I thought that the Protestant way was wrong and the Catholic way was right. On the contrary, I think that there are Catholics that changed over to Protestant churches…to experience a different path, in the same manner that I explored Catholicism.   For I believe that there is no right or wrong way…but many ways. Our Creator God is not limited as we are. Our Creator looks into our hearts and if we faithfully seek, we shall be found and led.

I do not think that this is limited to Christianity, either.

To me, the different religions of the world all have different personalities, just as our children do. I enjoy learning about all of them, and picture each as a path going up a mountain….the higher they get, the closer they all begin to converge in agreement as to the basic truths that we aspire to live by.

Speaking of mountains…and valleys…I have always loved Handel’s Messiah and recall being so thrilled when “The Young Messiah” came out. I always want to listen to Handel’s amazing masterpiece around Christmas and Easter. It’s all so much easier now with You Tube.   WOW. How old am I, lol. It was 1990. Well, I still like both versions…here’s a favorite : Every Valley Shall Be Exalted  ( look at the hairstyles! :)

Handel’s Young Messiah : Every Valley Shall Be Exalted : First Call

When I listen to this, I feel that it speaks to the challenges, hurts, difficulties, and so forth, that we encounter during our lives here. No matter what spiritual path we may be on at the time, our mountains can be made low, and our valleys exalted. This may not happen in a day….it may take years for inner healings or discoveries to happen…but they CAN happen. They may not happen in a church. They may happen anywhere…through any channel…a friend, a counselor, something we’ve read while searching…who knows. When I listened to this today I thought of Brenda’s Recent Post Here.  I just equated her with a valley exalted / a mountain difficulty made low, and inner peace. She’s a mountain climber in many ways : ) Brenda if you happen to read this XO :)