Looking for answers to life's questions

Last week I lost my mind and discovered it had slipped away due to a short-term fever of unknown origin, caused by a vague and undetermined malady. After finally having the energy to get to the doctor, I gained his approval of my course of treatment. Liquids, rest and a sip of brandy every so often. Only a sip now, mind you.

I saw my mind peeking round corners blowing raspberries at me, taunting “catch me if you can.” I had to sneak up on it and it looks like I have a slightly better grip on it as of yesterday.

As I look back on the year behind, I count my blessings with deep gratitude. I gained the first home of my own. Nothing fancy, yet quite adequate in that it allows me to have space to share with those in transition. I’ve also gained the opportunity to look at my life differently.

An ornament from my ex-DIL. Still a sweety. Hers is the round one.

An ornament from my ex-DIL. Still a sweety. Hers is the round one.

The world that I thought was shrinking, became so large that even I’m astounded. So is my mail carrier, Mo. Thanks to Jackie at To Breathe is to Write and Pauline at The Contented Crafter, I’ve received cards, letters, and even gifts from all over the world. In my little area of Sleepy Hollow, Mo rarely sees these postmarks on cards and packages. We are both having fun. Thank you both, Pauline and Jackie for initiating such fun.

Yes, I live in Sleepy Hollow. Scary, isn't it?

Yes, I live in Sleepy Hollow. Scary, isn’t it?

These are the results. First, from the lovely Pauline’s own art studio several much coveted postcards and note cards that will be shared with good friends. I’m still going to get one of her original works of art for my wall soon.

Even a tiny Angel for the collector in me. The bookmark will be much used as I read several books at once

Even a tiny Angel for the collector in me. The bookmark will be much used as I read several books at once

There is a beautifully stitched bag from mommermom that had my daughter and I peering at every angle of this piece. I have never made anything as well stitched as this. I would love to take some lessons from her.

It's like a surprise package just waiting to be opened

It’s like a surprise package just waiting to be opened

The outside is like an envelope

The outside is like an envelope

A handmade card to go with the beautiful drawstring bag

A handmade card to go with the beautiful drawstring bag

A new friend I’m getting acquainted with courtesy of Pauline is Jem Arrowsmith who sent this lovely book and knit shawl. She wasn’t sure if I’d like the color. As you can see from the quilt I made behind it, it’s a color I would choose anytime and see everyday. The book was about her town. What a fascinating way to get to know someone! I looked around. There are no books on my little town but plenty on Portland. I’m finding other bloggers from this area as well.

I don't knit but wish I could when I see work like this. Stunning and lacy.

I don’t knit but wish I could when I see work like this. Stunning and lacy.

Gardening Nirvana has a new word this year. Connections. I had to point out that by first following her blog, then following her followers, I’ve made most of those connections. She has inadvertently been connecting people all along. Her talents are eclectic and here is just one small sample of it. I wish she lived closer as she is an organizer extraordinaire and that is my word for the year. Organize. It will be an ongoing project this year.

I couldn't decide what was the best part

I couldn’t decide what was the best part

hand made cards inside the card box

hand made cards inside the card box

She made this one herself as well to send the rest. A quilted card.

She made this one herself as well to send the rest. A quilted card.

The Eco-Grandma has moved this year as well. She’s been a little harder for me to follow as her moves included her blog as well as her home. I don’t get to visit as often as I’d like but hopefully with a little time, I’ll get more of her earth-wise advice. Another blogger with a huge heart who knows how to make a big statement with a little bit of thread.

The card held the perfect surprise. She couldn't have said it better.

The card held the perfect surprise. She couldn’t have said it better.

Just like most everyone this year, it’s been lose some and gain some. Pounds that is. The perpetual cycle. I’ve finally gained the understanding that I cannot diet. The deprivation sets me up for failure. So I’m trying a different tactic and I’ll let you know how it goes.

This year I’ve gained insights, books, information, and wonderful new friendships. The cards alone made my day. I’m an old school letter writer. With all the gifts and the vast amount of kindness I see in my world, there is no other choice but to pass it forward. I will share all the wonderful cards I’ve received with others and start making a few of my own creations to pass on as well.

Snail mail in addition to virtual is a great balance of old and new. These gifts though, were the kind that touched my heart. Thoughtfulness, kindness, and reasons to keep marching on. When you reach out, there is no limit to how your actions can affect others.

What have you gained that you’d like most to share?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

Comments on: "In Search of What I’ve Gained" (35)

  1. It’s so nice to be connected to good people! ❤


  2. Mostly, this year, I have gained perspective. A valued treasure that is too easily lost. Glad to hear you are getting back to your self!


    • Thanks Missy. Perspective is a big one. Funny how it changes over time. That’s a good thing, as Martha says. 🙂 Happy New year. Hope you are settled.


  3. How nice to see your cards and gifts arriving, Marlene! I first found you through the Contented Crafter. I have something in mind for you, too, but it may be delayed until after our move at the end of this month. Have a wonderful New Year! ~ Linne


    • Linne, I so appreciate the thoughtfulness on your part and Pauline’s. I need for nothing so don’t give it another thought. I have more fun sharing about the talents and kindness of those that sent things than need. Moving is a horrendous job. I’m still trying to settle. I have stuff that has nowhere to go but out the door here. Trying to simplify. I’m getting to the age that I look at things and think, who can use this? Just keep me posted on your move. I plan to never do it again till I’m ship to the old folks farm. This was my 35th move that I remember.


  4. I have been beyond thrilled with the response to my ‘Sharing the Love’ post. There is no doubt in my mind that there is more goodness in the world than we are led to believe! My hope is that more and more people will experience it and know the truth.

    I love Jem’s little shoulder wrap that she made especially for you. Jem is one of the women who, new to my blog at the time, stepped up and said ‘I want to take part in this!’ And then proceeded to create a shoulder wrap to keep you warm while reading. Phenomenal!!

    I am so happy we have also spread the joy to your mailman Mo – that is an unexpected knock-on effect 🙂 But you don’t really live in Sleepy Hollow do you? It’s not part of your address and you don’t have a headless horseman ……. Or do you?

    There is more to come yet Marlene – this could dribble on for a while yet! I hope it allows you to experience the general goodness of the world and to know that you are upheld and honoured within it! And to get to know some more really good people! This is what I have gained and wish to share. xoxo


    • Thank you Pauline. Truly, I don’t need anything to point out the good in the world. I’m preaching that same sermon for years now. I keep telling everyone that you see what you are looking for.

      Mo, the mail carrier was tickled by all the mail and when she pulled out all the treats I left her in the box she said they just kept on coming. I figure when they work overtime during the holidays lugging all that stuff, they don’t have time to bake or enjoy. It’s a little thing and appreciated.

      Yes, this section of the park is called Sleepy Hollow. It’s not part of the address but I tell people coming by for the first time to make a right when they see the sign. We live down in the hole and get lousy cell signal here even though the tower is a mile away. It’s the quiet spot here. Kind of sleepy. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Happy New Year, Marlene! What beautiful gifts to receive in the mail rather than a bill or junk mail. I love Pauline! Her work is so lovely and whimsical.
    One thing I’ve gained after living the past year is realization. There are loving and generous people in our world, despite the what we hear on the news and WP has connected me to so many of those people…I’m blessed. xo


    • I’m glad to hear about your realization, Jill. It’s not that I need another thing in this world but the thought that there are perfect (and I mean perfect) strangers out there willing to give their time and energy to bring others joy is just phenominal.

      It’s funny how our news focuses so heavily on the handful of bad people rather than the thousands that stand up to do good. I think our world is intrinsically good. We are just looking through the wrong end of the telescope.

      When you look at Pauline’s work, you see into her heart. It’s as big as those eyes she paints.

      Word press has done a wonderful thing but it;s the writers with heart here that bring the good to light.

      Hope your New Year is terrific as well, Jill.


  6. I love the analogy of your mind peeking round corners and blowing raspberries at you. I hope you manage to catch it soon and put it back in it’s rightful place 😉

    It’s lovely to read about all your gifts and cards coming in and the fun you have been having. I’m so glad you like the colour of the scarf /wrap – it reminded me of winter berries. And Pauline’s art is just beautiful isn’t it? I’m looking forward to following her progress with the art course this year.

    I too have gained a lot of perspective over the past year and this year I will be focusing on finding my own ‘North Star’. I hope 2015 is a great year for you in Sleepy Hollow! x


    • Thanks for reading Jem. Have you been reading Martha Beck? That’s the title of one of her books. I’m looking forward to an interesting year here in the hollow. In winter all the neighbors hide out so I’m looking forward to spring when we, like our flowers, pop our heads out again.

      The berry color is one I choose often. The knitting has a lacy affect that you don’t get in crochet I think. I never learned. I had so many other endeavors that it was something I had to let go of. Vision is a deciding factor in all I do these days. I so appreciate the book as well. I had a good time looking through it and will again shortly. It resides right next to me in the den bookshelf. I have 7 bookshelves so far. Happy New Year Jem.


      • Yes, that’s the book ‘Finding Your Own North Star’ by Martha Beck. My colleague gave it to me this week as I have been thinking about my future career lately and am not sure which direction to go in. I have only read the first few chapters so far but it’s really insightful!

        7 bookshelves – that’s a lot of books! My husband will be glad to hear you like the book too, he keeps badgering me to get him a copy as he’s a bit of a history buff and found the old photo’s really interesting. I must put that on my ever growing to-do list!


  7. I smiled my way through this post, Marlene. You expressions of gratitude warm me to the core. I remember the first time I received one of your notes in the mail. There is something so special about pen on paper. I’ve always loved ‘real mail’ and cherish it even more as it’s grown scarce. Though I love the immediacy of international blogging, Facebook and the like, I’ll never tire of paper mail.

    I’m tickled to learn that you live in a place called Sleep Hollow. Is that a community nickname? By the by, we love the current version on TV. I’m a fool for handsome men with manners and a British accent and I love all the strong, female characters in the show as well.

    I digress…

    What charming gifts from around the globe, each unique to the blogger and personal to you. The shawl, the book marks, cards, ornaments, angels. A charming collection of goodness and light. Like Pauline, I’m tickled to learn that Mo the mail carrier is also enjoying the unique postmarks. I *love* seeing over-seas postage pass through my mailbox. Such fun.

    I’m sorry you’ve been under the weather, but pleased to hear you’ve turned a corner and that your doctor approves of your chosen course of action.

    Sending you a great big hug.


    • Thanks for stopping by Alys. I’m finally starting to catch my breath. I call it living down in the hole. It’s the only drawback to this part of the park. We are low enough the cell signal goes right over us and we have a hard time connecting.

      I did my thank you’s online for the immediacy of it but today is the day to write the real deals. I’m with you, I like paper and pen. But then, I’m old. :)))

      I have a really nice mail lady who has been delivering here for years. She loved the treats I left for her too.

      I’m more of the giver than the receiver but I have to learn to receive graciously. I want or need nothing but those little things everyone sent with love, couldn’t be refused for any reason. Just the act of giving is so much joy.

      I think it’s this new kind of heater and lack of humidifier that started the ball rolling. Not to mention that I have more to do than hours in the day and now I’m even further behind. And I don’t even have a JOB! It will all eventually get done though. Eating that elephant one bite at a time. 🙂


  8. This is a heartwarming, loving, wonderful post. I am so glad to see you are surrounded by loving friends who are looking out for you. And how special that the gifts turned out to be just your styel. One thing I notice that sets your blog apart is the comment section. Your readers write long passages, and talk to you as though you are bosom friends. You have cultivated genuine friendships through your blog, and it says so much about who you are.

    I hope you do capture your mind and show it who’s boss. We are cheering for you!


    • Thank you Crystal. I write as though writing to friends. Most have become friends I truly care about. The exchanges over the 3 years of blogging have grown is a way I never foresaw. Some are new friends, others have been with me for awhile.

      There is magic happening here. It really isn’t about the gifts, it’s the love in them. The genuine heart of that person reaching out to another.

      I’m not a WRITER but I just can’t bring myself to give this up. These people have colored my world that had grown drab and small while I could not sew or craft or drive. In many ways, they are responsible for helping me heal. Each post is me giving them my best that day.

      You are so close I can almost touch you, yet we have never met. I have been in your neighborhood on occasion. Maybe one day we can meet at Elmers for coffee and chat. 🙂


  9. I am so touched by the thought you put into your post. That you would take so much time and effort and to be so sincerely heartfelt in each word brought a tug to my heart. I am so happy to know such a lovely person through blogging. This form of communication has opened my eyes to a bigger world and friends than I ever could have imagined. Thank you for inspiring me by just being you!!! You are such a delight, friend.


  10. Bloggers are such a nice group of people!


    • They are some of the best I’ve run across. Enjoy yours too. I learn a lot from you. Don’t always have time to leave a comment lately but I’m getting caught up.


  11. Of the fluids,rest, and brandy weren’t the answer, then all these lovely gifts in the mail surely have been! Glad to hear you are recovering – your health and your mind 🙂


    • I can promise you that all the kindness and caring in my mailbox did a great deal to get though a tough time. The cards cheered me on. Thanks for reading. I love your photography. I’m starting to get caught up with things again.


  12. I think one of the nicest things is gaining friends from all over the globe. Never even considered that I’d know someone in New Zealand when I started Blogging. Or that my best friend would live in San Jose. It’s kind of mind blowing. One of the nice side affects of finding like minded friends around the world is confidence. I had a few years of isolation out at the lake. Now even when we can’t share a cup of coffee together, we never have to be alone. xo k


    • I’ve been in isolation for a long time too and this has been a God send for me. Living in the mountains for 12 years and 3 years of not being able to get out only to wind up with such a huge world of kind people just blows my socks off. It’s beyond imagining. The gifts are not the important part. It’s the kindness and caring. I share a cuppa every morning with all of you. Even some evenings. 🙂 Thanks for being there my friend. It means the world.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. So you found your mind, I knew it would show back up sooner or later. 🙂 You received such lovely gifts perfect for such a lovely friend you have become. I knew you would be just like me with more than one book being read at a time.

    Love the Sleepy Hollow sign, with my love of horror and suspense that would make my day to have near my home. 🙂


    • I didn’t even notice the sign till I bought the place. It’s down in a hole which is not ideal but must be endured. My mind comes back occasionally for a visit. It doesn’t appreciate all the demands I place on it. It will wander off again. Wish I could put a bell on it. Stay warm.

      I have a book going on my phone, tablet, and 3 on my headboard. I’ve had to back off to get other things done. Your bookmark is a treasure.


  14. Aw, lovely Happy Mail and others sharing the joy 🙂 And I still have to get my backside into gear and send mine!!!!! Pleased to hear you found out why so low a couple of weeks ago and now on the mend Marlene x


  15. Marlene, so nice to see you so connected with true gifts of friendship across the miles. Keep on smiling and moving forward. We all need to help and support each other. Namaste.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. If we keep the circle of connection continuous, everyone benefits. I enjoy giving so I must learn to enjoy being the recipient of gifts so the giver can feel the same joy.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I was just sitting here thinking about you and wondering if I had missed a post. Looks like I’m caught up, but it was a nice excuse to stop by anyway. I hope you’re feeling better. xox



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