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Welcome New Sisters! (click for current roster)

Merit Badge Awardees (click for latest awards)

My featured Merit Badge Awardee of the Week is … Erin McBride!!!

Erin McBride (notathreatinsight, #3762) has received a certificate of achievement in Stitching & Crafting for earning a Beginner Level Mosaics Merit Badge!

“I made this stepping stone along with another one about 5 years ago. I used precut stone, but I cut the glass myself from a 12×12 tile. It was fun learning how to cut glass. I love the stone mixed with the glass, because the glass gives it some reflection, but not too much.

This was my first mosaic project, and I enjoyed it so much I’ve mosaiced many things since.”

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Hear Ye!

Welcome New Sisters! (click for current roster)

Merit Badge Awardees (click for latest awards)

My featured Merit Badge Awardee of the Week is … Bridgette Friedman!!!

Bridgette Friedman (Bridge, #7277) has received a certificate of achievement in Cleaning Up for earning a Beginner Level Shopping Green Merit Badge!

“I try to always use my reusable bags when shopping. I have the little teal fold-up shopping bag and I keep this folded and in my handbag. Because the hardest part of using reusable bags is remembering to take them in the store. It is also really great for those times you are in a shop browsing and pick up an impulse purchase.

I also found the big canvas bag at the thrift store a few years back and it is awesome!! I think it is a Lands End, but it is heavy duty, has pockets around the entire interior, and a clip for your keys.

We have a local store, Ruler, that you have to bring your own bags or pay for bags. I always seem to have a bag when I go there, lol. I wish all stores would do this. It would reduce the excess trash of all the plastic bags. It would also change the mindset and people would bring their own bags.

I love using my reusable bags, because I know I am reducing waste. I also like not having the clutter of all the plastic bags.”

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Welcome New Sisters! (click for current roster)

Merit Badge Awardees (click for latest awards)

My featured Merit Badge Awardee of the Week is … Shannon Hudson!!!

Shannon Hudson (hudsonsinaf, #5349) has received a certificate of achievement in Make it Easy for earning a Beginner, Intermediate, and Expert Level Relaxation Merit Badge!

“I have been blessed to be a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom of seven beautiful children, ages 18 months to 13 years old. While I wouldn’t trade my family for anything in the world, there are times that I am stressed. Add to the everyday chaos the fact that I only have one adrenal gland due to the other having to be removed due to a mass. Your adrenal glands are in charge of your fight and flight response … and mine is maimed! Relaxation is therefore a God-given blessing to recharge and reconnect.

Regular relaxation has been proven over and over again to produce beneficial results in one’s stress management, anxiety, overall physical health, and happiness, as well as depression prevention. Immediate benefits include a lowered heart rate, lowered blood pressure, and lowered cortisol levels. In the longer scheme of things, it can help you sleep better, strengthens your immune system, clears away any brain fog, helps you manage stress, and regulates your emotions.

Every day, around 12:30 or 1, after the children have eaten lunch, we have family quiet time. This consists of the children lying down on their beds, oftentimes with books for the older ones. I do not require they go to sleep, but I do require no talking or playing for half an hour. More often than not, all of the children from the ages 11 down take naps. During this time, I take my water or a cup of hot tea, sit in my chair in the living room, and just breathe! I need the down time as much as they do, if not more!

I am one of those people that does everything I can 100%. I love at 100%, work at 100%, play at 100% … and stress at 100%! Relaxation is key to survival!

There are a few things that I find extremely relaxing … walking is one. Unfortunately, we spend many months under snow, so walking is out of the question on many days (between the snow and the cold wind, it is too much for my youngest). Sewing is also a great way for me to relax. However, pulling out my sewing machine is not something that can happen every day. I also find cooking extremely relaxing … most days! There are some days, however, that cooking is stressful. Reading is also relaxing, though there are days I cannot find time to read, as I prefer to read for longer periods of time than 10-15 minutes! So for my daily relaxation time, I simply grab a beverage (usually hot tea or my water), head to the chair in the living room, and just relax and breathe. By the time 10-15 minutes has passed, I am completely relaxed. We have gotten to where I refer to this time as “Mommy’s Time Out.”

One of the biggest benefits I have found is that after my “time out,” I have a much better attitude and more patience. It has also taught the children that even mommies need breaks and time outs to gain control of oneself.

Due to being a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom, going out of the house to complete a class is next to impossible. Thankfully, I have found classes that I do not need to go out of the house to complete. One of my favorite ways to relax is to cook. I have been blessed with the gift of hospitality, and I love to demonstrate my love for my family and others through the foods I make. However, I also strive to demonstrate my love for God by making nutritious meals cooked in traditional ways. GNOWFGLINS, or Traditional Cooking School, is a great way to learn how to do this. Through their website, I have been taking classes to not only relax, but as a creative outlet. My favorite course thus far is the Einkorn Baking course!

I also continue my daily relaxation exercises. I thoroughly enjoy the classes I have taken through GNOWFGLINS. Not only are they a fun way to learn, but the foods I create are truly appreciated by my family, which makes it a win-win.”

 

Mindfulness Meditation Merit Badge, Beginner Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 7,328 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—10,420 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! ~MaryJane 

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life   

For this week’s Make It Easy/Mindfulness Meditation Beginner Level Merit Badge, I told myself to take it easy.

“Take it easy, Me,” said I. I tried to muster up my sage, mindful, deliberate, and in other words, calm, cool, and collected inner voice. Since my inner voice is typically a hungry toddler who needs a potty break, it took some doing.

Meditation. Isn’t that something yogis do (not the bear … the super flexible people who sip on shots of wheatgrass and fold their legs behind their ears, all while looking spiffy in expensive stretch pants and complicated sports bras)?

Or perhaps it’s something Buddhist monks do?

Or New Age tree huggers?

No?

I, too, can (and probably should) meditate?

Well, color me surprised.

photo by Sebastien Wiertz via Flickr.com

The very idea was pretty intriguing, so I did what I do best: I researched my newfound interest at the library while munching on a ham sammie.

Interesting side note: you can trace what my interests have been while being a farmgirl earning badges based on the organic mayonnaise stains I leave behind at the library.

Another interesting side note: I am no longer allowed to bring in food to the library. That librarian is old school and a bit of a tyrant. Sheesh. Accidently leave behind one small tuna bagel on a shelf and you’re banned for life. Unfair.

Anyway, I learned that for mucho beginners like moi, you can find guided meditations on the Web. How cool! I’m all about tutorials. They’re the bee’s knees. You can find a tutorial for anything these days: I’m currently filming my own on “How to Eat Your Way Through a Box of Tacos In Three Easy Steps for Health and Happiness Part I.” I think there’s a real market for it. After all, my tutorial on “How To Eat Your Way Through the Non-Fiction Section at Your Library” practically went viral.

Until Librarian Sour-Face left me 1 star on Yelp.

Humph.

Armed with some interesting guided mediations, a scented candle (made by Yours Truly, of course), a CD of Yanni (seemed appropriate, but perhaps too stereotypical?), and my own not-so-expensive stretchy pants and not-so-complicated sports bra, I began.

To earn your Beginner Badge, you only need to mediate for five minutes per day, for one week.

Me, being an over-achiever, I way outdid that. I mediated for two hours per day the first week!

Okay, okay, 1 hour and 55 minutes of that was spent snoring facedown, drooling on my yoga mat, and nearly burning the house down with my soothing lavender scented candle. Lesson learned.

photo by Chika Watanabe via Flickr.com

The next week, I sheepishly started over, and changed up the routine a bit. I exchanged Yanni for Dance Party Jam Mix Tape IV, and switched the candle scent to Bacon (who can sleep while you’re listening to Pump It Up and smelling bacon? No one, that’s who). I also put the yoga mat back from whence it came (propping up my busted dryer door), and retired the not-too-complicated sports bra.

Turns out I mediated much better in my old jeans and flannel shirt at my kitchen table, anyway.

At the end of Week II, I was not as well rested as Week I, but I felt quite a bit more mindful and energetic.

Though that also could be my bacon-scented candle.

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Hear Ye!

Welcome New Sisters! (click for current roster)

Merit Badge Awardees (click for latest awards)

My featured Merit Badge Awardee of the Week is … Marcy Lundy!!!

Marcy Lundy (Marcy, #170) has received a certificate of achievement in Stitching & Crafting for earning an Intermediate Level Ink Slinger Merit Badge!

“I love to write and I have been working on stories for as long as I can remember. I am always writing something. I just finished the outline, almost 300 pages, of a young adult novel. Now that the outline is finished, I have to flesh it out and make it more real.

It’s coming out great. I can’t wait until my characters start dragging me this way and that as they tell me their stories.

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Last year I challenged myself to write a full length historical novel for my Expert badge. I did and I titled it ‘Caroline’s Promise.’ The novel has 367 pages and 90,408 words. I love working on it. It was hard work, especially when writing was the very last thing that I wanted to do, but I put my butt in the chair, my hands on the keyboard, and I got it done. Now it’s printed and stowed away where no one else can see it! I am sending it out but I haven’t had any luck yet. Now, if I can get it published, that would make my wish come true!!

Awesome! I challenged myself to get this book done and I did it! Sometimes I didn’t think that it was ever going to be done, but I kept going and I finished it. Now if I could only publish it…”

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