Welcome to Jan's Eclectic-Mix Blog

Greetings, dear readers ~ I am excited to present my detailed Intuitive Forecasts (formerly known as CycleCasts) to this blog! Join me for a guided tour of our journey through life's subtle energies, and stay for my musings on arts and crafts, current events, a little of this and that ~

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Post-Thanksgiving Thoughts on Gratitude

Thanksgiving is over, the turkey is down to pickings, and we've even survived Black Friday! And I, for one, am thankful this particular holiday weekend is nearly over. It's been a lull I didn't necessarily want in my activities - just so you know, I'm pretty much without family connections, so that means another holiday spent alone. Since this is a long-standing pattern in my life, I'm pretty much okay with it now, and I stayed out of the pity-party this year. In fact, I put my time to good use and started a new collage project :)
.
What does this have to do with gratitude? (Besides being grateful that it's over.) For one thing, I've been inspired to start another Gratitude Journal project to get my spirits in shape and uplifted for the final weeks of this year and into the next. Let me show you how it's done ~
.
.
First, get yourself a nice notebook, like perhaps this Fantasy Flower Journal from my online handcrafts shop. Keep the notebook and a pen by your bed, or someplace where you can reflect quietly each evening. Each night before retiring, write down what you are grateful for that day. It could be something simple, like seeing a beautiful sunset. Or it could be reaching a major goal or overcoming a challenge. And it's always good to include daily blessings, like food, shelter, and the well-being of your loved ones.
.
You can write as many gratitudes each night as you want, but try for at least three. Do this for 90 days. That's the key - consistency and duration of practice. And it is a practice - you might feel like you're reaching to come up with things that make you feel grateful. Fine; just keep doing it! At some point your attitude will shift, and you'll find yourself easily letting the gratitudes flow from your pen.
.
I did this practice some years ago, and I remember that the shift came for me about 45 days into the exercise. I just kept going, and the very positive change in attitude I experienced has mostly stayed with me ever since. Now, I'm feeling that it's time to pick up the practice again - and I will, as soon as I decide which embellished notebook to use from my stash :) In the meantime, I'm going to jot down some things I'm grateful for, right now:
.
  • I'm grateful for this time of year. Really. Despite the recurring single-person-spending-holidays-alone angst, I really love this season. Yesterday I spent some time raking leaves ahead of the incoming cold front, and I felt so refreshed to be out in the crisp air, enjoying the stark beauty of the bare-branched trees and the colorful crunch of leaves at my feet. I've long said I'm a fall-winter person, and this proves it!

  • I'm grateful that I have a nice home, relatively good health, and food on the table. I'm eternally grateful for the loving presence of my dear cat LuvLee in my life.

  • I'm grateful for all my loyal blog readers, Facebook friends, and clients and customers of my business. You folks have kept me going all this time, and your continued support means more to me than you'll ever know!

The practice of gratitude rests on the truism that gratitude changes attitude. Or, as the mystic Meister Eckhart once said, "If thank you were the only prayer, it would be enough." Try it, and you'll see. I'm going to!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Being Thankful: A Guest Post

Dear Readers: As we approach Thanksgiving and the holiday season to come, it's a good time to look back and remind ourselves of all the good in our lives. Earlier this month I received the following newsletter from myt friend Shirley Scott of Animal Talk Healing. Shirley's writing so beautifully summed up the meaning of gratitude that I asked her for permission to post it here, which she has graciously granted ~
.

Penitentiary canine training programPenitentiary canine training programPenitentiary canine training program

.

What do you have to be thankful for?

.

What I have learned this year could fill a book. When I said I’d volunteer to be the dog trainer at the Walla Walla State Penitentiary I had no idea what it would teach me. I was prepared to help the offenders learn a new skill and help the dogs find new homes but what the dogs and offenders gave me in return can never be measured in words or even emotions.

.

In this month of Nov. as we think about Thanksgiving in the USA try to look beyond the physical world of “stuff”. The pictures above are of the offenders and dogs in the Walla Walla State Penitentiary. As you look at these pictures remember these men aren’t allowed to have “stuff”. They live day to day without even the privacy of a closed door bathroom. Through their very controlled lives, they have shown me the importance of having someone, human or animal, in your life to love.

.

This has made me love and appreciate my animals and the people in my life even more than I thought possible. It has brought me back to the importance of life – what a reality check I get 3 times a week!

.

Here are some other things I’ve learned from them and what I’m thankful for:

.

I’ve learned to be thankful for the choices I’ve made that have kept me from being in prison where freedom is not an option, where every minute of everyday you are pretty much told what to do and when to do it. I’m grateful to be able to help animals from all over the world and from all walks of life. I knew animals could be a healing factor in people’s lives but until you see a one year old dog turn a man who has been incarcerated for over 20 years into a crying puddle of love - you haven’t seen anything.

.

I’ve learned not to judge anyone for anything they have done but to look at what they are doing today to help themselves or others. I’ve learned to be thankful for the gift of clairvoyance so I can see what is really happening in others lives as well as being able to see much of my own “stuff”. I’m thankful for all the love animals have shown me over the years and the way they keep teaching me patience, respect of nature, how to be humble and set my boundaries.

.

As we start into this changing of the seasons, whether it’s winter or summer depending on your location, take some time to smell the air, walk in nature, look at the birds in flight and be thankful for all the small freedoms you have because many people have made choices that have affected their freedom. The one thing I always think about as I enter the prison on my visits to be with the dogs and offenders is I have the freedom to walk out of this razor-wired, concrete walled institution and can make choices about what I’m going to do the rest of the day. I don’t have to go back to a 9 by 20 foot cell that I share with someone.

.

In this time of history when jobs and money are both few and far between remember the Universe is really giving us time and space to find the real meaning of life. It’s love, sharing, giving, learning, teaching and just being. None of these things cost any money and they are so rewarding. Be like the animals and put your power into life, not money or time and see magic unfold in front of you.

.

Blessings to all. (co-signed by Jan :)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

World HELLO Day, and Other Little-Known Holidays of November

I'm getting my online shops ready for the holidays, dear readers! And while we're all thinking about Thanksgiving, Christmas, and such, I've discovered that we have a lot more holidays we've never (or rarely) heard about. Today, for example, is World Hello Day ~ and so a big HELLO goes out to all my friends and readers everywhere.
.
The story of how I made this serendipitous discovery requires a bit of self-promotion, so pardon me if I'm blushing. (Maybe it doesn't come through, but I'm rather ahh-shucksy when it comes to promoting myself.) Anyway, I've been adding new holiday designs to my Zazzle store, like the cool Santa's Chimney card* shown below (it has matching postage, too :) ~
.
.
andwhen I publish an item, I have to tag it. The obvious tag is Major Holidays - Christmas, but I also honor Winter Solstice, and to tag that, I have to go into a category called Minor Holidays. Well! There are more holidays than you can shake a stick at :) One day on a listing break, I checked out the minor holidays for the current month of November, and made this list to share for your amusement:
.
  • November 3 is Sandwich Day ~ yes, we all know it was the gambling British Earl who invented the sandwich dining concept. This day is his birthday!
  • November 6 is Saxophone Day ~ and I just added a smooth-jazz mix to my Pandora Internet Radio, so I'm good on that!
  • November 8 is Cook Bold & Pungent Day ~ living in New Mexico, that's not difficult. Red or green? Chile, that is :)
  • November 8 is Punster Day ~ If the pungent food is too much for you, maybe a rhyming pun will do?
  • November 24 is the start of Game & Puzzle Week ~ break out the Scrabble, Monopoly, and Uno sets! It's the perfect way to keep your guests occupied while the Thanksgiving turkey finsihes roasting.
  • And last but not least, we come to Sinkie Day on November 29. I had to look this one up; it's the day after Thanksgiving, when we get to nom on all the leftovers while standing at the kitchen sink. At least it's easy on the cook ;)
.
And there you have it. I hope you've enjoyed this review; even if some of the days have passed, we can always get ready for next year. And, there's a bunch of days to observe in December: In addition to major holidays like Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and my birthday (December 2), we have such events as Bathtub Party Day and Night of the Lizard King. I'm thinking I'll have to honor my birth-month with a description of its holidays, too. Stay tuned!
.
*Victorian Santa image and damask background courtesy of *The Graphics Fairy* - and I have entered this post in the Graphics Fairy's November 30th edition of Brag Monday :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My New Holiday Items at Zazzle ~ and a discount offer for you!

The winter holidays are coming! For a crafter, that means it's a busy time. I've been going to craft fairs and photographing new products for my Etsy shop. But I've still found time to add new holiday items to my Zazzle store! Take a look at these cool pins, featuring a sweet pair of lovebirds sending out their season's greetings ~
.
.
I just bought myself one of these pins to wear at my next craft fair, and a few more to sell. And for doing so, Zazzle gave me a gift that I can pass on to you: It's a promotion code to get $5 off a $20 purchase! First, go to my Zazzle store and look around. If you use that link, you can buy anything from the site, whether it's my product or not, and I'll get a bonus for referring you :) Then, when you have the items you want to purchase in your cart, enter this promotion code:
.
COMVSXELODNXWBRWUGDU
.
Click "redeem" and your discount will be applied - but hurry, the code expires on November 24!
You get a discount, I get a bonus, and a lucky Zazzle seller gets a sale - it's win-win all the way around. How cool is that!
.
Another bit of coolness: While the background is my design, I must credit the bird image on the pin to Karen at The Graphics Fairy, who makes her great collection of vintage images available to crafters, for personal use or resale. If you haven't checked out her wonderful blog, please do so. Thanks, Karen, for your generous sharing of your image file! And, I've added this post to Karen's weekly Brag Monday feature!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Notable Quote: Bloggers thronging before the gates


Hostile observers have always painted bloggers as barbarians thronging before the gates of a besieged culture. This picture has been embraced by some bloggers themselves, who have fancied the rough garb of the invader and relished the license to pillage. But it has always been a fantasy. Bloggers are writers who sit down to type character after character, word upon word, day by day, steadily constructing, out of their fragments, little edifices of memory and public record. In this activity they resemble not the hordes outside the gates of a city, but rather the studious scribes within. Individually they are stewards of their own experience; together they are curators of our collective history. Their work may be less polished and professional than that of many of their predecessors. But they are more passionate, more numerous, and more inclusive - and therefore more likely to succeed in saving what matters.

~ Scott Rosenberg, Say Everything

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

CycleCast to the Winter Solstice 12.21.09 ~ Spread your wings and lose your chains!

We are in the final stages of the waning year, dear readers, but the prevailing energies will focus us towards new beginnings, new cycles, and starting over! Is that surprising? Not really; in the great wheel of the year, the Winter Solstice (occurring this year on December 21 at 10:47 am, Mountain Time) has long been celebrate for its lengthening of days and return of the Sun's light from the late-autumn sleep. I've prepared this CycleCast to take us through the solstice turning point ~
.

.... from a collage by Jan Burch ....
.
Flow with the ever-moving Air, fellow-traveler,

Monday, November 2, 2009

Featured in Halloween Orange ~

Some folks are still thinking about Halloween - and that's good news for me, because Charan at Creative with Clay posted her Color of the Week: Orange feature today. And guess who is one of the eight lucky artisans she chose for the feature ~ that's right, moi! I'm honored that Charan picked my Sweet Heart ACEO ~
.
.
The original of this striking ACEO is available for purchase at my Etsy shop, using this link: Sweet Heart ACEO. It's perfect for Halloween, don't you think? Or any time when you need a jolt of color! I also have this design available in print-on-demand products over at my Zazzle store; to find them use this link: Sweet Heart Zazzle Gifts. It's a popular design at that site; fortunately with print-on-demand it will never run out.
.
A big thanks to Charan for her weekly color feature - it's quite fascinating, and a great way to discover new shops. I'm thrilled to be part of this week's selection :)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

November's Energy is "The Gate"

If you've been longing for some new opportunities to move forward on your path, dear reader, then this is the month for you! November's energy brings us to The Gate ~
.
.
The Gate represents the challenge of how we deal with opportunity. It asks us to go through the gate (at least a little bit) and check it out. It's not the time to reject things out of hand. You can always turn around and go back to where you were, but you'll never know what's on the other side of the Gate if you don't walk through it!
.
On the Star+Gate Pattern, the Gate's nearest neighbors are:

LinkWithin

Blog Widget by LinkWithin