Monday, December 10, 2007


The Leaping From The Box Blog has moved to If you using a reader you may find the new feed here.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

"Frame It" Challenge

I discovered a photo challenge with a chance to win a new Kodak All In One Printer. The challenge is to take find a creative way to frame the subject in a picture using surroundings, objects, etc.

This photo was taken from our hotel balcony in Fort Lauderdale last month. The palm trees in front of the balcony frame the sailboat.

To check out more “Frame It” Photos, visit Life on the Road. They are hosting the 13th Challenge issued by Two Moms In A Blog.


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

"Paying it Forward … "

Molly posted this over at Dark Oak Woman. I was the first to leave a comment with her, so I am looking forward to something hand made by Molly in the near future. Here's how you play:

"I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this Pay It Forward exchange. I don't know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog."

So, just leave a comment with your e-mail address and if you are one of the first three to leave a comment, I will send you something hand made. Right now I am making doilies and other Christmas goodies, so you will have to wait until after Christmas to receive your giftie. There is no telling what I might make for you, but it will be crocheted, that I can promise.

If you play, put this on your own blog and pay it forward by sending handmade items to the first three people who leave comments! If you do not have a blog, I guess you can not play. Awww … quick, go set up a blog!!

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Tis Cold!

Brrr! I had to dig out my winter coat this morning to walk Penny. It was 41 with a cold wind blowing. I wish I had had some mittens to wear. And this is the morning that Charles got up early and went out to throw some hoops! He is crazy! But he wants me to take him job hunting today, so maybe crazy is a good thing! First on the agenda, though, is a hair cut. Maybe I should take a picture of how long his hair has gotten in case he ever thinks about growing it long again. He has not had a hair cut in over a year!

I came across this fun vocabulary site today. Free Rice. "For each word you get right, we donate 20 grains of rice through the United Nations to help end world hunger." That is a quote from the site. I do not see advertising on it, but the site states that is how they pay for the rice. The vocabulary words are quite challenging and adjust to your level, up or down, as needed. I spent a few minutes on it this morning and found many words that I could make educated guesses on and some that completely stumped me. There is a setting you can make on the site so that it will keep track of your vocabulary level and the amount of rice you have "donated" from visit to visit. Right now my vocab level is at 41, with my best being 46, and I have donated 1180 grains of rice. Try it out!

Is anyone watching the Sci-Fi miniseries Tin Man this week? Way cool! I always loved The Wizard of Oz but this is a much more grown up adaptation of Frank L. Baum's novels. I really should put them on my "to read" list.

I guess I had best get working on my Christmas cards, since it appears that I will be on the road some today. And no, I have not forgotten that I had promised to write some pithier posts here this month. I am mulling over a couple of different ones concerning unschooling, and also an addendum to my Joy post earlier this month, so stay tuned.

Happy Birthday to my step-father George in sunny south Arizona. Hope you have a great day, George!

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Monday, December 03, 2007

I've Been Tagged

It's a Meme, an online game of tag. Answer the questions, tag someone else, that is how the game is played. LivingbyLearning was kind enough to tag me, so here goes.

Here are the questions and they pertain to the past week:

    1. What did you accomplish?
    2. Did anything not go as expected?
    3. What was the highlight of your week?
    4. Did anything exciting happen you did not expect?

1. What did you accomplish?

I accomplished NaNo, National Novel Writing Month. Wrote 50+K words. Major accomplishment!

2. Did anything not go as expected?

My van is STILL not running right. I took it back to the shop again this morning after picking it up Saturday afternoon. Check engine light keeps coming on, even when the shop says they have "repaired" the problem. First time they repaired a vacuum hose. Second time they replaced a sensor of some sort. Let's see what they come up with for the third time around!

3. What was the highlight of your week?

Completing NaNo! Definitely the highlight.

4. Did anything exciting happen you did not expect?

My daughter told me about their plans for the coming year. That was exciting and totally unexpected. I am not sure that her plans are quite set yet, so I will not post them here yet.

I am tagging:


Sunday, December 02, 2007


I recently read a topic on Amy's Live, Learn, Knit blog titled What Brings You Joy? In her post Amy mentioned a book she had read, Let Your Life Speak by Parker J. Palmer, which I have added to my "must read" list. During this past week's marathon NaNo writing, I found myself often distracted from my story and thinking about joy. I began to wonder what the difference was between joy and pleasure, since I could easily think of many things that brought pleasure to my world, but not so many things that seemed to bring joy. So today I looked up the words "pleasure" and "joy" online and found an explanation that suited me at

    Pleasure, enjoyment, delight, joy refer to the feeling of being pleased and happy. Pleasure is the general term: to take pleasure in beautiful scenery. Enjoyment is a quiet sense of well-being and pleasurable satisfaction: enjoyment at sitting in the shade on a warm day. Delight is a high degree of pleasure, usually leading to active expression of it: delight at receiving a hoped-for letter. Joy is a feeling of delight so deep and so lasting that one radiates happiness and expresses it spontaneously: joy at unexpected good news.

So what does bring me joy?

My first thought was writing, but writing is not always joyful or even pleasurable. It can be difficult, painful and emotionally revealing, none of which brings me joy. Writing is something that I have to do, like breathing and eating. It is a rare day that I do not write something, whether a blog post, an email or a letter to a friend (sometimes those are even handwritten!). It does not matter to me whether anyone reads what I write or not. The possibility of an audience is not why I choose write.

Reading also comes to mind, but again, it is more of a need I have, like an addiction to caffeine or nicotine. A day is not complete if I have not had my daily fix of word input and output, reading and writing.

Crocheting gives me pleasure and satisfaction. I find it relaxing, soothing. But crocheting does not give me joy. The act of giving a crocheted item away, knowing that it will be used and appreciated by the recipient, that gives me joy. I never really understood why we needed to save an item that someone had made, pass it down from generation to generation, never to be used. To me, the value of the item is in knowing the person who created that item. If I did not personally know great-grandma Tilly, I am not going to value something made by her nearly as much as I am going to value something made by my Grammy. And so it brings me joy to know that items I have made and given to others are actually being used. That was the reason I made them in the first place!

Here is a picture of the baby afghan I made for my niece's new baby boy:

Knowing that Aiden's older brother loved his afghan and carried it around with him for several years gave me great joy. I hope Aiden enjoys his half as much.

Here is another thing that gives me joy:

Copper has taken to sleeping on laptops and computers. When it was ninety degrees and better outside, she preferred sleeping out on our balcony all day long. But when cooler temperatures came in September, she ceased wanting to go out on the balcony and now sleeps away the day on top of laptops or any other computer she can find that is running and warm. Anyway, just seeing a cat gives me pleasure, but having one (or more) of my own that I can interact with gives me joy.

Photography brings me joy. Amy mentioned photography and art in her post, too. Unlike Amy, I have never been interested in the darkroom and developing of pictures. What I love is the hunt for a good subject, the art of framing the subject and the sense of accomplishment I feel when I capture a moment in time. That gives me joy, knowing that I have saved some essence of "now" that can easily be recaptured in the future simply be looking at the picture.

My children, of course, bring me moments of joy. Their individual births were three such moments. Add to that my granddaughter, Miss Munchkin; I was lucky enough to be present at her birth and one of the very first to hold her. Miss Munchkin brings me joy almost every time I see her. There is just something about a toddler who is happy and curious and loving that is joyful, especially when she is related to you.

I feel joy when we hit the road for a road trip, whether it is just a day's jaunt somewhere or a vacation. There is something truly joyous about leaving behind the every day world for a bit and looking forward towards possible great adventures. And I feel joy every time I step onto a beach. Hearing the waves crashing onto shore and the cry of the gulls, feeling the heat of the sun through the sand on your bare feet, the smell of the salt spray, it all fills me with joy. Oh, and the skirl of bagpipes bring me joy. If ever I were to come across bagpipes being played on the beach while I was walking barefoot with my granddaughter, my heart would likely burst from experiencing too much joy all at once.

Amy's post talks a lot about finding joy in your work or rather work that you find joyful. I know this is the goal of many unschoolers, to find a way to turn their passion into a career. That is a great goal, although I know few that have been able to truly realize it. The only possible work-related thing that brings me joy is being able to find answers and resources for others. I love to research; I love to hunt for the perfect gift, for the perfect book, for that needed quote or just the right word that will complete a project. I think that is why I continue with my website, since HTML and web design certainly does not bring me joy. On the contrary, many days it fills me with stress and frustration. But I love to know that a resource I have reviewed or something I have written has provided an answer to someone's quest. That brings me joy.

So, what brings you joy?

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

Catching Up

Now that NaNo (National Novel Writing Month) is over and successfully completed, it is time to begin catching up on all that was left hanging during November. For those of you who have asked, this first completed novel is not something that anyone will ever see. A first draft is just that, a first draft, and not meant for anyone but the author's eyes. Whether I retain any of this first effort remains to be seen, but it is doubtful. My basic intent was just to prove to myself that I could do it, that I could actually finish a novel. Too many stories have I begun and set aside when the going got tough or life intruded. But now I know I am capable; I can see a story line through from beginning to end. Not only that, but writing that many words in not an impossibility, as long as you keep writing! That is the key, to keep writing!

I did discover one thing about myself. That email is my main time waster. When I removed myself from the computer that has my email program, I could write for several hours without even thinking about email. I accomplished big things! But sitting at the computer with my email, the temptation is there to check it frequently. This not only takes time away from actual writing but also distracts the mind, causing me to lose the flow of the story and lose my momentum. Better to write one hour uninterrupted than to write three hours with many interruptions. As I was reading my favorite blogs (playing catch up after finishing the story Thursday), I came across a timely post: How to Keep E-Mail from Wasting Your Time. If you have find email to be taking up too much of your daily focus, check out the article. It has some good tips!

So, what do I need to catch up on? Besides the usual laundry, dishes and house cleaning? Numero Uno is my desk! I had done quite a good job of keeping it clean until NaNo hit. Oi! It is going to take all afternoon to find the desktop again.

Second is crocheting. I finished the baby afghan for my niece's new baby boy. I will get a picture taken later today and posted up asap. Thursday, while waiting for my car at the dealership (which I still do not have back!), I began working on a doily for a Christmas present. I need to make two and will not be able to post up pictures of those until after they have been given to their intended recipient. And I have several items to make for Miss Munchkin. First her Christmas stocking and then two hat and mitten ensembles, one for her and one for the dolly that Santa is going to be bringing her. Or for her favorite Miss Kitty stuffed animal or any of her mommy's several teddy bears that are fair game for playing with. She is at the age where she likes dressing up dollies and kitties and bears. Hmm . . . maybe I will need to make more than two.

Third, Christmas cards must go out soon. I did not send out cards last year … last year was the Christmas from Hell and no one felt in the mood to do any celebrating. Plus, with our move, I need to get cards out early so that people have our new address. Luckily, the MC (main character) in my just completed novel wrote her Christmas letter and it looks remarkably like what I need for my letter! So that is done and I just need to get it printed off and mailed out.

And last, but certainly not least, I am sure that my readers here would appreciate something new to read besides NaNo updates for the month of December. So I will strive to provide something that might actually be interesting and/or thought-provoking reading, although maybe not both at the same time!

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