Crocheted Vacay Shawls: Officially Known as Travel Shawls

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Well, the shawl epidemic all started when a package arrived for me from Italy. It was yarn my cousin sent to me as she is stationed there are is a knitter. She had no idea turquoise was my favorite color. It took me a while to figure out what you make and by the time I got around to it Summer showed up and skipped Spring here in Memphis, TN. I decided to make a shawl for the beach. The colors were appropriate! It reminded me of the ocean.

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I completed it and was delighted. I then was ask to make another one. The inspiration was a poster board I had and I decided to name this one Sunrise.

The one below reminds me of Spring. Eclectic Spring. I like to name my inspirations! These are great for travel in the Spring and Summer because they are breathable shawls yet, they are able to keep you cozy and stylish on a plane, train, or automobile. Cool mornings or late nights on a breezy beach or lake.

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I do make these to sale and yes, I do ship!

~Nikki

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Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: My Free Spirit vs Church, Religions, & The Conscious Crowd

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Contrary to popular belief, the free spirit does abide by rules and understands the need for rules in society and other entities. However, I can’t tell you how difficult it is when those rules confines your spirit, puts out your fire, and makes you reel with anguish. Almost, on the verge of quitting or ending a commitment. I think about quitting church quite often. When I make this statement, religious people go nuts and the conscious crowd cheers. I think to myself, hey,  I’m not too fond of some of your rules either.

I don’t think I am without some biases. I don’t think I am perfect. I think I am just myself. I’d rather worship God in spirit and in truth whether that be in a building or nature or at home. However, a free spirit needs community and community needs the free spirit. If only to set others free. I am labeled not a free spirit but, a rebel of some sort most of the time. I can see that! I own that. Especially, when I challenge a rule or break a rule. I am “making trouble” they say. I say I am just trying to “make sense” because you are really cramping my style, productivity, freedom, well being, happiness, and creativity.

Some rules should never change and some rules are meant to be changed as society or an organization changes or supposingly grows. I often think the reason a church or business may not see growth is because they are stuck on outdated rules (principles) and this is the way we have always did it. But heck, if it’s putting us to sleep or the competition is doing better…what in your mind doesn’t prompt you to CHANGE THE RULES OR CHANGE METHODS? Pride for the church and holding on to positions. Mindset of those in charge for businesses and holding on to positions. Change is good they say but, change can be slow and painful and some changes will not take place in my lifetime on Earth. And some changes make no sense s we have seen on a job coming from the higher ups that seem to be high when they make these “changes” the workers no will not work. Obviously, they are too high up to consult with us lowly workers (rolls eyes here). No way we could be smarter than they are due to our position.

So, here I am on a Sunday morning debating on whether to go to church or not. And it’s not just the church I attend (I have to state that because some people read my blog are members and ex members and they like controversy).  I get a phone call in the middle of this post asking if I can bring the highlights of Sunday School. Well, let me go get dressed.

~Nikki

 

Morning Self Pep Talk: You Can’t Turn This Train Around

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Illustration by Megan Hess

Morning Pep Talk to Self: “Ain’t no turning this train around. Where you gonna turn it around at? On the side of some mountain (problem/situation)? To turn this train around in the midst of adversity would be disastrous. To lose faith, give up, right now, right here would be a major set back. Power through baby. Full speed ahead.” -Nicole to Nicole

 

 

Sunday Morning Coffee Musing: The Auntie Mom

I was an Auntie before I was a Mom. I remember when my first nephew (that was younger than me was born) like it was yesterday. My dad was cutting the yard and we got the phone call that it was a boy and his name was Jeremiah. It was a sunny day in June with clear skies and I remember the grass being so green. My Dad started to sing “Jeremiah was a bullfrog and he was a friend of mine.” He meddled my nephew with that through childhood and even now! My second nephew I had the pleasure of giving him his middle name and he was my first job at 8 weeks old. He later gave his younger daughter the same middle name! I was a babysitter. Those two gave me a run for my money! And there were more nieces and nephews to come.

I am writing this piece for my friend Jackie and Alicia whom are Aunts, and all of the women who want to have a family someday and to the ones that may not be able to. You are a mother by heart. You are a mother because you nurture someone somewhere. You may even be a mother figure to a friend, a sibling, to a class, the motherly one on the job, a doggie mom. You care. You will jump in and fill that roll as an Auntie Mom. I tell my niece Brea I am your Auntie Mom. She’s the fireball of the bunch and I keep close reigns on her because I love her. I was once known as the General and Sargent but, I have been promoted to Lieutenant by my nephew Brandon. I am the Aunt that will play football, dolls, fix you a good meal and bake cookies but, I also believe in discipline.

All of my nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews are my children. I wanted more children but, I am unable to have any more because I had to have a hysterectomy. That was tough and sad. But nothing beats hearing, “Auntie! Auntie Nikki! Ti-Ti!” and getting those hugs. It’s the same feeling as “Mommy!” and receiving love in the hugs. It’s the same pressure to watch what I say and do and how I live my life. I still have to impart instruction, wisdom, and love.

~Nikki aka Auntie Mom

Smokey Row Coffee Co. Oskaloosa

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We pull into Oskaloosa, Iowa late night on a drive from Memphis, TN and suddenly I perk up as we cruise down Market Street. What’s that? A coffee house? I will be back in the morning!

We were only in Iowa overnight as I rode with my brother to pick up my nephew from William Penn. We stayed at my second family’s house which is a home away from home. I went to “my” room and once I was underneath “my quilt” I was fast asleep. After getting ready the next morning I headed to this coffee house. It is huge with plenty of room, coffee, and uniqueness. I was overwhelmed and I am sure everyone knew I was a tourist as I snapped pictures of everything. The service was fast and as friendly as one could be on a Saturday morning. The hustle hand yet to bustle but, all of that changed as it neared 9:30 a.m.

Caramel flavored coffee was my choice and what a delicious blend! The caramel was subtle and not overpowering. I like to be able to taste my coffee and flavor at the same time. Each table in the shop is different, nostalgic and coffee related. I thought that was so cute!

And the menu…Breakfast all day, Lunch, Dessert, Kids Menu, Dinner…you name it! It was better than a Starbucks (No shade! I still love you Starbucks). It wasn’t carbon copy and I love the sunlight coming through the huge windows and so many places to go within. A parlor-ish feel for a coffee place is really different. I like different. A book vault? Upstairs? A stage for lets say…a live local band? Yes. All of that and more.

Fancy that. I purchased a mint green mug and a sconce. I eyed a big hunk of tiramisu but, decided next time and by next time I mean fall. I hope to be able to linger a bit longer with laptop in tow and just enough space for lunch and a milkshake. I am sure I can walk those calories off in the square.

~Nikki

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Sunday Morning Coffee Musing: Single or Miserably Involved?

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The obvious choice is to be single but, if we are to be honest with ourselves we often prolong the inevitable way past a relationship’s expiration date or we delay ending dating/involvement with a person when alarming signs are glaringly red. Why? Is it fear? Is it that some of us are just as miserable alone with ourselves as we are in a relationship (whatever kind of situation-ship you have)? Is it that we are afraid to speak up or afraid to hurt/disappoint the other person? Ourselves? As in, we thought we had it right this time or we could handle it this time? I think all of those are reasons why and I am certain there are many more.

As you may or may not know, I like being as honest as possible about these things because I believe the only way to heal and connect to others is to be honest, not perfect. I was miserable alone at some point in my life as much as I was miserable in relationships because I had NOT understood what it was truly like to love myself and to know myself. I can tell you another time (or just read some of my blogs) about those journeys to get there. However, I have reached a point where being single is not misery but, it does have lonely times. And yet, I stutter, pause, waiver, my anxiety increases, on just when and where to say, “Hey, this is not working for me.” After thoroughly ruling out bull “stuff” reasons I finally arrived at the root of why I lose my nerve and voice with ending this potential fiasco: I don’t want to be the WEAK ONE and I don’t want to be WRONG.

It has nothing to do with being single but, everything to do with admitting to myself and Spirit all along that I was wrong…AGAIN. I KNEW I should have steered clear. And to the other person that seems to be handling our involvement so well, I don’t want to end such a seemingly good thing as being the weak one that couldn’t handle her “feelings.” This is when I realize I have more work to do. What’s wrong with having feelings? NOTHING. However, given the friends and associates I have had in my circle they have made me feel, along with past relationships that having feelings or not being able to handle MISTREATMENT or EMOTIONS was a WEAK thing. Yes, society, relationships, religion and friendships have done a number on us all. Including you. We associate how much you can take of mistreatment with how much you love a person and how STRONG you are. LIES. And I think from the abuser of emotions they tend to think “She or he must really love me because I am doing all of this stuff and they are still there! I guess someday I will stop to show them just how much I love them, too.” Twisted thinking.

So, as I put my BIG GIRL PANTIES on and say, “Hey, I think we should just be cool. This is not working for me” and watch him sail on to the next “all willy nilly” and carefree, I will also be carefree and “all willy nilly” in my emotions again. It’s better than being ignored, dealing with inconsistency, and immaturity in this case.

~Nikki