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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 Cyndie Parzuhoski!

Cyndie Parzuhoski (cyndieparz72, #7407) has received a certificate of achievement in Make It Easy for earning an Expert Level Mindfulness Meditation Merit Badge!

“I researched and contacted a “Mindfulness Centre” on Walking Meditation and I continued (and still am continuing) daily meditation.

From the Mindfulness Centre I contacted:

Wherever we walk, we can practice meditation. This means that we know that we are walking. We walk just for walking. We walk with freedom and solidity, no longer in a hurry. We are present with each step. And when we wish to talk, we stop our movement and give our full attention to the other person, to our words and to listening.

Walking in this way should not be a privilege. We should be able to do it in every moment. Look around and see how vast life is, the trees, the white clouds, the limitless sky. Listen to the birds. Feel the fresh breeze. Life is all around and we are alive and healthy and capable of walking in peace.

Let us walk as a free person and feel our steps get lighter. Let us enjoy every step we make. Each step is nourishing and healing. As we walk, imprint our gratitude and our love on the earth.

We may like to use a gatha as we walk. Taking two or three steps for each in-breath and each out-breath,

Breathing in “I have arrived”; Breathing out “I am home”

Breathing in “In the here”; Breathing out “In the now”

Breathing in “I am solid”; Breathing out “I am free”

Breathing in “In the ultimate”; Breathing out “I dwell”

I have practiced this a minimum of once a week for the past few weeks, and I love it!

Over the past month plus, I have continued to do Breathing Meditation every morning and Guided Mediation in the evenings before bed (which is assisting in a much better night’s sleep!).

I have also begun to practice “Noble Silence” for three hours every day, from the time I finish work until my husband gets home during the week, 3 hours on Saturday when my husband spends time with his mother, and then 4 hours every other Sunday from 12 to 4. This is a period of deep silence where I speak no words (I am alone, so I am able to do this during the week), and even though I am doing other things (such as making dinner or cleaning), I allow my mind to be free of thoughts. It is amazing how I have been able to clear my mind at the end of my work day.

I find that the meals I cook have tasted better, as if the silence until my husband arrives home is awakening other parts of my body (such as my taste buds). During the weekend, I have been sitting outside, near my enormous Russian sage plant that takes up almost half of the one side of my home, and I concentrate and mediate on the bees that engulf the plants. I watch them take nectar from each little petal and move on to the next one. I watch them dance with each other. All without a word from my lips. I took my camera outside with me and I have attached a photograph from my Noble Silence meditation this past weekend.”

cyndie-mindfulness

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Young Cultivator Merit Badge: Table Talk, Intermediate Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 7,466 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—10,836 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 Farm Kitchen/Table Talk Intermediate Level Young Cultivator Merit Badge, I spoke to Andy’s parents about letting him come over once a week for a month to, uh, well, do my dishes.

I know, these badges rock, am I right?

No, in all seriousness, it is a skill that kids these days need to learn, and well, if it happened to coincide with the breaking of my dishwasher, hey, that’s just a happy coincidence. Can I get an amen?

And it’s not just a skill for girls and women, as this 1930s poster from the Illinois State Employment Service implies …

1930s poster from the Work Projects Administration Poster Collection, via Wikimedia Commons

So, each Friday evening, after my date night with Mr. Wonderful, Andy trudged over and we got to work. I now call him Mr. Wonderful-in-Training.

Dishwashers have been around oh, for a long time now. Feel free to Google how long, but it’s safe to say this generation of American kiddos have not lived without them, and while some have the chore of loading up or unloading said machine, the majority have probably never had to do a sinkful by hand.

This is where I came in, chickadees. There’s an art to hand washing dishes, if I do say so myself. And really, it’s kind of soothing and therapeutic. (Not that I want Fridays back. I’m enjoying the little respite.)

First, a little organization. Mr. Wonderful-in-Training was all set to toss (and I do mean toss; the kid has a wicked curve ball) the entire dinner’s worth of cutlery, plates, pots, and pans, into the sink together. I explained that he needed a method to his madness: like, any method. Preferably one that didn’t mix steak knives with my good china.

Jackie Cooper, 1955, NBC Television via Wikimedia Commons

So, into the bubbles went all the forks and spoons on the right side. Steak knives and any other knives into the left. (Keeping them separate cuts down on nicks and pokes. Get it? Cuts down? Ha!) Then we gently set down the plates, which of course, had been rinsed. You can scrape supper remains into your composting bin, or if your dinner has been doggy friendly, straight into your mutt’s mouth and into his tummy.

Rinsing depends on your sink, naturally. If you have two sides, one little person can wash, while the other rinses on the other side. If you’re blessed with three pint-sized servants offspring, the third can dry and put away. It’ll be a rugrat brigade!

After the plates and cutlery were finished, we added a bit more hot water and another squirt of soap, and also the pots and pans and serving dishes. I had made ribs and mashed potatoes that first Friday, so we had a lot of tough, sticky, starchy, things to work on. Mr. Wonderful-in-Training was up to the challenge though, and by the time he was done, everything was (mostly) shiny and spotless. My sponge had to be thrown out though; Andy used some serious elbow grease. Must be all those curve balls he’s been working on.

Now, if you’re going to help your whippersnapper earn this badge, I’d say there’s a magical age for it: between 4 and 11 is my bet. For the shorties, get a stool that’s sturdy. If you want to make it even more fun, add some gloves in a colorful print, some sponges, and a yummy smelling dish soap.

Voila! Clean kitchen and ever-so-moisturized children will ensue.

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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 … Cyrie Wilson!

Cyrie Wilson (Pixiedustdevil, #6941) has received a certificate of achievement in Stitching & Crafting for earning a Beginner Level Dyeing for Color Merit Badge!

“For the presentation part, I let the 9-year-old neighbor girl “help” me dye some fabric for a doll. I explained what kind of fabric to use, what to use for dye (tea in our case), how to boil the tea water, turning the fabric, then how to set the color.

I dyed a poly-cotton bed sheet to make doll skin. I filled a pot and used 40 tea bags (30 green tea and 10 hibiscus tea). The longer the fabric sat, the darker it was. I put Mason jars full of water on top of the fabric to keep it submerged overnight.

I can say that while it did turn out ok, I wouldn’t use poly-cotton again; it doesn’t take color well.”

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Her-Story Merit Badge, Expert Level, Part II

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 7,428 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—10,836 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 Each Other/Her-Story Expert Level Merit Badge, I kept on researching ‘til my researcher was sore.

For those of you who didn’t do well in Anatomy and Physiology, your researcher is located beneath your tense neck and your aching back. It’s that spot you can’t reach when itching. Science, peeps.

I had earned Part I of my Expert Level badge in this particular theme earlier, but I wanted to finish my education: after all, this was the expert level, gals.

I had begun with Laura Ingalls Wilder (who was alive in both the 1800s and the 1900s, but I considered her my 1800s girlfriend), and I was going to finish by reading a biography of another famous go-getting, sharp-shooting farmgirl, this one most definitely from the 1900s:

Dale Evans.

Being quite famous, of course there are numerous biographies—not to mention museums, documentaries, and films—about my illustrious subject, but just like with Laura Ingalls, I decided to go straight to the horse’s mouth to catch my flies with honey. In a bush. A mulberry bush.

Note: I have never been great at recalling expressions.

Anyway, her autobiography is titled Happy Trails: Our Life Story.

Interesting facts I learned about my good buddy (in my mind), Dale:

  • Her name wasn’t Dale Evans. She was born Lucille Wood Smith, in 1912.
  • She didn’t go by that name, either. For some reason, her parents changed it from Lucille Wood Smith to Frances Octavia Smith. Confused yet?
  • It wasn’t until 1929 that she changed her name once more, this time to Dale Evans. Seriously, girl. Pick. A. Name.
  • She eloped with her first husband at the age of 14. (!!)
  • By the age of 15, she had her son, Tommy. (!! again) Tommy was widely regarded, both publically and privately, as her nephew, and not her son, for many years.
  • By the age of 16, Dale and Tommy had been abandoned by Tommy’s father.
  • Dale married and divorced two more times (neither produced any children).
  • In 1947, Dale married her fourth husband, Roy Rogers, in Oklahoma. This was Rogers’ third marriage. After so many unsuccessful attempts at matrimony, I’m sure their friends were a little skeptical of this union, but Roy Rogers and Dale Evans stayed happily married over 50 years, until 1998, when Roy passed away.
  • Shortly after their marriage, Dale ended the charade that Tommy was her nephew. Dale and Roy went on to have one little girl, a child with Down Syndrome, who passed away from complications at the age of 2. Dale was a spokesperson for people with disabilities for the rest of her life, and was instrumental in changing the language, thought processes, and treatment of those with disabilities.
  • She wrote a book about her daughter, called Angel Unaware.
  • Almost as famous as the woman who rode her was Dale’s buckskin mare, Buttermilk.
  • The stunt double for Dale in their television program, The Roy Rogers Show, was also the stunt woman for Annie Oakley in the show Annie Oakley.
  • Dale has two stars in the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for her contribution to radio, and one for her contribution to television.
  • Dale and Roy adopted four more children.
  • They partnered with Billy Graham many times and were outspoken about their faith.
  • Dale was ranked 34th in CMT’s 40 Greatest Women of Country Music.
  • One of her best quotes is, ‘Cowgirl’ is an attitude, really. A pioneer spirit, a special American brand of courage. The cowgirl faces life head-on, lives by her own lights, and makes no excuses. Cowgirls take stands; they speak up. They defend things they hold dear.

Hats off to you, dear Lucille/Frances/Dale!

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birdhouse_3339

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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 … Kristin Sievert!

Kristin Sievert (KESinMN, #6020) has received a certificate of achievement in Stitching & Crafting for earning an Intermediate Level Quilting Merit Badge!

“I fell in love with the paisley type fabrics. We thought a quilt pattern that allowed for large pieces to highlight those patterns would be best. I finally found an aardvark pattern and thought it would suit the fabrics.

I then started hunting for secondary (smaller print) & tertiary (more solid) fabrics to complement.

I volunteered to use this quilt as a sacrificial penguin on my mother’s new quilting machine. She got some practice on her new toy and I got my quilt quilted.

I quilted with a quilt group as well as my mother throughout the process. This was not a just a 20-hr project, it was more like 200 from first fabric purchase to finishing the binding.

Finding enough fabrics was the first challenge. Tertiary fabrics were easier than smaller prints for the secondary fabrics.

The diamond pattern was WAY harder than I thought. We ended up having plexiglass templates made to speed up the process.

The completed top sat for a while, then became a guinea pig for my mother to practice on her new quilt machine. Then the quilted project sat again because I was in no hurry to finish it.

When I decided to go after the Glamping badge, I realized this would make a good starting point.”

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lizzie_3336

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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 … Heather Bedford!

Heather Bedford (nnfolkways, #7462) has received a certificate of achievement in Stitching & Crafting for earning a Beginner Level UFOs Merit Badge!

“I was working on de-cluttering my craft area when I realized I had several unfinished projects. I placed each project worth continuing in a bag along with necessary supplies (I started with 11). A few days later, I grabbed a bag and got to work. I worked on it off-and-on for about two days when I was able to squeeze in a few minutes to myself.

It turned out well. The purse started as a market bag, but I didn’t like the way it seemed to bulge. I then decided it would be a purse and went off pattern to add a different style strap and enclosure.”

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