Before I get started, I have to say that I missed a few days! I knew that I had some work deadlines looming, but I really wanted to do this challenge. I had hoped to prepare some in advance, but work was kicking my butt, so I did not get much accomplished ahead of time. The clincher was when I sat down to write a post real quickly, and I could not remember my password to log on to WordPress!! It is not such a huge deal to re-set it, but I was just so tired that I gave up.

I completed the work tasks, so I am going to give this another go!

This is sort of putting the cart before the horse, but this is one of the things that really hooked me about Buddhism, so I really want to talk about it sooner rather than later. This will be a very simplistic synopsis of the basics. Books upon books have been written about Buddhism, I would not begin to touch their depth in 31 days, so I figure I might as well just jump into one of the biggest things that I love!

Buddhists believe that we are all reborn into this life many times. (And not always as a human!) As a matter of fact, they believe that we have been through so many cycles that they have a concept that we have all been each other’s mother. The idea is that since the beginningless beginning of time we had moved through the cycle of birth and death leading a countless number of lives. If our previous lives are numberless, so too are the mothers who have given us birth. Nagarjuna said, “If we divided this earth into pieces the size of juniper berries, the number of these would not be as great as the number of times that each sentient being has been our mother.” (Source)

This cycle of rebirth and death is called Samsara, and the purpose of the practice of Buddhism is to become enlightened so that you can break out of this cycle and enter Nirvana. A Bodhisattva is a person who has attained enlightenment, but does not leave Samsara, but rather continues to return again and again to this world, so that he or she can assist other beings to attain Nirvana. The Bodhisattva will continue to do this until all other sentient beings attain enlightenment.

This just seems so amazing and wonderful to me. Don’t get me wrong, I am far from perfect, I am as flawed as the next person. But I really do enjoy helping people. Being a Bodhisattva seems to me to be the epitome of helping others, through lifetimes. There are so many layers to this, so much depth to it that I have a lot more to say about it. But this is the basic thing that I love the most about Buddhism. To me it is not about large flamboyant gestures. It is about the day to day reality of helping others, where you are, with what you have. I truly believe in my heart of hearts that this is the way that each of us can make the world a better place. It will look different for everyone. We do not all have the same resources, the same passions. But we have something that we can share with others, something that they need.

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Taking it easy today!

I have had a long and tiring day. So this will be short and sweet. I remember hearing this precept fairly early on in my study of Buddhism. I really liked how it says to test things for yourself, not to believe “just because”.

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The 4 Noble Truths

The Buddha’s first sermon after his Enlightenment centered on the Four Noble Truths, which are the foundation of Buddhism. The truths are:

The truth of suffering
When you hear that all of life is suffering, it does not sound like life it much fun! But part of what the Buddha was saying is that all of life is temporary, ephemeral, not permanent. This does for the bad things, as well as the good things. If we look at the Sanskrit word for suffering: dukkha, it actually translates to “incapable of satisfying”.

The truth of the cause of suffering
We suffer because we grasp at things, we try to grab onto them and make them permanent. This always causes us pain, because we cannot stop things from changing, no matter how much we try.

The truth of the end of suffering
Through the practice that the Buddha teaches us, we can end our grasping and desire to keep things permanent.

The truth of the path that frees us from suffering
There is a path for this practice, it is called the “8 fold path”. Every action of body, speech, and mind are addressed by the path. It is a path of exploration and discipline to be walked for the rest of one’s life. It is a way of living your life to end suffering, to become enlightened and to attain Nirvana.

For me, when I heard the the first two Noble truths, they made such perfect sense. They were very scary, because I could not visualize life without things that I love, that I am attached to, that I cling to. But at the same time, I wanted my life to change, to be better. The other thing that really drew me to Buddhism was some of the people that I met. They had such a peaceful way about them. I wanted to hang out with them and find out more about them.

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A bit of my spiritual history

Something that I recall from a very young age is that my maternal Grandmother taught me to pray every time that I heard a fire or police siren. She told me that hearing a siren meant that someone was in trouble, injured, had some sort of need that we should pray for. I took that advice to heart, and prayed for many years whenever I heard a siren.

I have always had some sort of “spiritual” bent to my nature. I attended Sunday school classes, catechism classes, church youth groups etc. It was not just something that my parents sent us to, I really loved the time I spent at these activities. In college I was a member of the Christian group on campus, and attended many events. At some point I became a born again Christian. This gave me much support and enjoyment through my college years. I joined a strong Bible teaching church when I graduated. Part of this large church was small groups, which we called “house church”. We met on a weekly basis, switching to each member’s home on a monthly basis. I had wonderful times with my house church, and grew in my faith as a Christian.

But there was always something that really bothered me: the teaching that people who do not accept Christ are not saved, and that they do not go to heaven. I just cannot accept that there is only one “right” religion in the world, that people who may have never had an opportunity to know Christ cannot go to heaven. So as the years passed, and things in my life changed, I fell away from my strong attendance at that church, and began to explore other paths. When I came upon Buddhism, I felt like I was coming home.

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Buddhism & Why I love it

I am trying this blogging challenge again this year. I did not do very well last year, but I am trying to prepare a bit ahead of time this year, in the hopes that I will be more successful. I am also trying to write on the same subject every day. I have chosen “Buddhism & why I love it”. Hopefully I will manage to write some things that people will want to read! I even made my own button. I will link to each post in this post so that all of my posts for the 31 days can be found in the same place.

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 7

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Papertreyink Build A Bouquet Challenge

Here is the last card that I have to share for the PTI Anniversary challenges. I really wanted to get a couple more done, but my craft room is a COMPLETE disaster, and I am only so good at coming up with designs quickly!

This card used flowers from the set Life, and the 2010 Anniversary set Botanical Silhouettes


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Papertreyink Spring Into Action Challenge

Here is another attempt at a card for a PTI challenge. I am a little happier with this one than the previous one. It is actually rather sad how many stamps sets that I was able to choose from that have not seen ink!!

Because I do not know where the die for this, as well as my die cutter is still in a bag from when we went away in November, the flowers were fussy cut.

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Papertreyink Blue Ombre challenge

Nothing like doing things at the last minute!! I wanted to make at least a few cards to enter in the PTI contests that they are running for their yearly anniversary.

So here is my card for the “Blue Ombre” challenge: image

I’m not very happy with it, but at least I have increased my change to win!!

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The Gilmore Girls have me in their grip!!

I had great plans to accomplish stuff today… But I did not get much done. I did one load of laundry, had breakfast with the neighbor, ran an errand to Walmart for said neighbor, and some dinner ingredients. And watched multiple Gilmore Girls episodes!! Oh, and I took kitty cat photos!!




Black cats are difficult to take good photos of! They seemed to have a nice snuggly day!

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I went out last night to get in the hot tub for my back, and it was raining. A few minutes after I got in the tub I realized that there was actually some lightening. I waited a bit because it seemed dim and far away. After about 10 minutes there was a really big bright one, so I hopped right out and ran in the house! I cleaned up and got into bed, and THEN realized that I forgot to post:( I just could not bring myself to get out and do it, so here is a belated post!

Quite a few years ago, I learned about Circular Sock Machines (CSMs). They are mostly antique machines, many made in the 1800s. Here is one site with info about the machines. Being a knitter, I was very intrigued. I lucked out and there was a meeting nearby, so I got to go and see some machines at work.
Here is a restored machine that is set up for show. IMG_0560

Here is a machine set up, in the middle of knitting a sock. IMG_0554

There is at least one company in New Zealand that manufactures new machines (there may be more companies now, I have not researched it in a few years.) I’d love to own a machine, but I just have not been able to justify the thousands of dollars for a restored or new machine, and have not lucked into finding a “gem in the rough” at a yard sale or flea market. But having a machine is on my with list!

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