Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Milestone: 6-month Anniversary!

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Hello there! Today is an important day! Well...it's not technically today, but February doesn't have 30 days, so we're celebrating today.

Six months ago, on August 30th, I launched positively b.e.e. as a way to offer a respite from the negativity in the world.

Happy 6-month-a-versary to positively b.e.e.!! 
Photo by Sofiya Levchenko on Unsplash


Readership has been great, so I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing for another six months, and another six months, and another six months ....

Comment below and let me know, is there something you'd like to see here in the next six months? What topics do you want to see? What do you want to know?

Thank you for reading and sharing! Your support is truly appreciated!

xo,
Beth (b.e.e.)
🐝

 ~~ positively b.e.e. is on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Follow me there! ~~

Monday, February 26, 2018

Your Monday Inspiration: Mr. Blue Sky


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It's been raining like the dickens in Pittsburgh! Sometimes I wonder if we'll ever see blue skies again. Someday the outside will look more like the one to the right...right?

Taken on a much nicer day.
I don't know what it's been doing wherever you live, but I learned something about my adopted city this year. I learned that some years, Pittsburgh has fewer days of sunshine than Seattle, a city known for its rain!

According to one of my local newspapers, there has been precipitation of some kind on 19 of the first 23 days of the month of February. And according to my local weatherman, we are more than 4 inches above average for precipitation for this month, as well!

At any rate, rain tends to make us a bit down and depressed and dreary, doesn't it? Plus, it's Monday, which I know can be rough on some people. So without further adieu, here's a song that always makes me happy!



According to the Wikipedia article about this song, Jeff Lynne was inspired after being holed up in a Swiss chalet with nothing but miserable weather—and then the sun came out and he wrote an entire 14-song album in 2 weeks!

I'm so glad he wrote it—I can't help dancing in my chair right now!

Hope you enjoyed this little Monday pick-me-up! Have a great week!


🐝

 ~~ positively b.e.e. is on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Follow me there!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Fortune Cookie Friday: Wanting More

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Thanks to everyone who commented on the last fortune featured on Fortune Cookie Friday! I'm glad you're enjoying it!

So it's Friday again, and you know what that means! Here is today's fortune cookie: 

The pleasure of what we enjoy is lost by wanting more.  
Oh, this is a good one!

This fortune, to me, speaks about living "in the now" instead of always looking for what is next, and to have gratitude for what we have or what we are doing.

How many times have you missed out on something because you were too busy worrying about what was coming next?

How many times have you gotten something you wanted (or thought you wanted), only to discover that it's not enough?

How many times have we spent all week looking forward to Friday instead of enjoying the week for what it was?

What's THAT about???

We tend to live in a very consumerist and "wanting" society: to buy more, that bigger is better, and that we have to have what the other guy has.

I can enjoy life in the moment now, but I didn't used to. For instance, sometimes I would buy yarn, and then look for what other colorways I could get it in instead of just using the one I have. Or I could start a knitting project, and find myself looking on Ravelry for the next project instead of enjoying the one I'm on. I'm sure I could find plenty of examples of how I did this.

This cookie reminds me to stop and enjoy what I'm doing, RIGHT NOW, instead of looking for the next thing. This cookie reminds me to enjoy what I have. I don't want life to pass me by because I was too busy wanting more.

🌟 Thanks, fortune cookie! 🌟

So, my question for you is: what are you going to do today that you will remember to enjoy, to savor, or be grateful for?

And hey, if you get any fortune cookies, feel free to share them and let me know what they mean to you. You can get them at your local Chinese restaurant, typically, or you can order some here.

🐝


 ~~ positively b.e.e. is on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Follow me there! ~~

Monday, February 19, 2018

Today's Happy Thing: Square Knitting Needles and Super-Soft Yarn

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Consider this post to be part local destination travel blog, part yarn and needles review, ALL happy!


So, as you probably know from prior mentions of it, I'm kind of a yarn geek. I knit and crochet, and I even spin my own yarn using either a drop spindle or one of my two spinning wheels. (I use a Hitchhiker single-treadle or a Schacht Ladybug double-treadle wheel. But I digress.)

Check out the engraving!
I've been preparing for my upcoming trip to TN by crocheting like a madwoman! I haven't done any knitting in a long time...til today.

Today, I pulled out some stashed yarn and cast on a blanket with my new, customized square knitting needles from Kollage. Click on the photo to make it bigger, and you'll notice they're engraved with my nickname: b.e.e.
🐝

Sometimes it's the simple things—like new knitting needles—that make us happy, and we should acknowledge that. πŸ˜€

I got these on a monthly subscription basis through a local yarn shop in Harmony, Pennsylvania: Darn Yarn Needles & Thread. I highly recommend this shop! The owner, Lisa, has a beautiful and welcoming space where you can shop, or sit and visit, or even sometimes watch a movie with her while working on your projects. The products she offers are really great! Her speciality is American-made and locally-sourced yarn and supplies, as well as items that are eco-friendly and fair trade for those things that can't be found domestically. She has spinning and weaving supplies in addition to the traditional knit and crochet items, and also offers a variety of classes.

And a trip to Harmony (if you're coming from the city like I do) is worth it because Harmony has other cool things to offer, such as the Harmony Inn for lunch or dinner, or Wunderbar for coffee and food, or Two Fraus Bakery for some delicious, sweet treats! There are antiques, gifts, and book shops, an art gallery, and a museum, too!

Through Darn Yarn, I signed up for a needle-of-the-month subscription service. Every month for a year, I received a new set of brightly colored, custom-engraved square knitting needles.  They came in a variety of sizes, and will be perfect for many projects to come. I chose the soft cables, though they also offer firm, and both have their place depending on what you like. I placed my order for the engraving, and magically they arrived every month!



Casting on the first project with my new needles is making me INORDINATELY happy! The needles have a good feel. They're easy to hold, and make a satisfying "click" as you work with them. I like the soft cable because it's easy to move it through the stitches, and there is no coiling of the cord in the yarn (something that will drive me crazy when I'm trying to knit). I've tried the "firm" cable in the past, and it also doesn't coil much. Some people may find the soft cable a little too soft, so it really depends on personal preference. But I like no fight in my cable.

As to the yarn, it is SO soft and luscious. It's Bernat Baby Blanket super bulky yarn. It's really fun to work with and I am sure I'll get more someday to do another blanket.

Muscle memory has kicked in, and I'm having a lot of fun knitting again. It's been a great way to relax on this holiday. Today is Presidents' Day in the U.S., and my husband and I are kicking back and doing absolutely nothing pressing today. It has been SO peaceful!

So, that's today's happy thing. I will be writing about this in my gratitude journal tonight.

Please write and tell me: what is making YOU happy today? Share below or on one of my social media links!

Til next time,
b.e.e. 🐝


 ~~ positively b.e.e. is on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Follow me there! ~~

Friday, February 16, 2018

Fortune Cookie Friday: The Means of Happiness

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Ok, so, as I mentioned in this post here, Fortune Cookie Friday will be an occasional feature here at positively b.e.e. I get a lot of these every time I order Chinese food or go out, plus I sometimes buy a package of them (you can get a big box here), because I like them a lot.

I find the sayings inside often start a train of thought, for me, so I may as well share those trains here and see what you have to say about it, and I invite you to share your fortune cookie fortunes with me as well!

So without further adieu, the first fortune cookie fortune on this site:


"We cannot be happy unless we think we are the means of good to others."

What do you guys think of that?

My first, knee-jerk reaction to this was: "Nah."

But that was my brain trying to get in the way of my heart. When I tell my brain to pipe down, I get so much more out of this.

Remember when I said in another post that connection may involve letting our guard down so we can heal and heal others?

Maybe this cookie refers to connection, how we cannot remain an island and be happy. By connecting with others on a true soul-level, we can be the means of good to others, thereby elevating our own happiness quotient.

And then there's the fact that for many people, volunteering our time or donating money to a good cause makes us feel good, right? And that is also a form of connection, so that holds true here, as well.

Wow, that cookie was deeper than I expected!

Tune in next time I open a fortune cookie. In the meantime, let me know: does this fortune cookie's message mean anything to you? Comment below!

Oh, and by the way: Happy Lunar New Year!


 ~~ positively b.e.e. is on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Follow me there! ~~

Monday, February 12, 2018

Sandwich Saturdays: How One Man Connects With His Community

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The word "connection" has been coming up a lot lately, so I think it's worth examining. 


In a prior post, I mentioned how connection is important, and that there would be a follow-up about that. I guess this is that post (though I suspect it will be one of many).

What does connection mean to you?

I looked it up in the dictionary, and there are way too many definitions to count, so I'll just go with some thoughts I have about it. To me, connection is allowing ourselves to be in a relationship with someone, whether it be with people or with God. Additionally, some people connect with nature, feeling at peace when hiking, for instance, or when working with animals.

That sense of connection is part of what makes us human. We have to let down our guard in order to truly connect with someone. In letting down that guard, we give, and we receive. We interact. We listen, and someone listens to us. We heal and we help heal others. We all need that as human beings, even if we don't realize it.

How are you connecting with people?  Take some time today to think about whether you need more connection in your life and how you can go about it.

Today I'll talk about one way: community outreach and volunteering.

During a recent snow day, I had a rare moment of being able to watch daytime TV, and saw a news piece on one of the weekday morning shows. It was about a man who was connecting with his community in a very real way: he is an ex-convict who lives in Syracuse, NY, and is giving back by providing meals to the homeless. Not only is he, personally, giving back, but he is mobilizing members of his local community to help. He is who inspired today's post.


Photo by FΓ‘bio Alves on Unsplash
Brief summary: Al-Amin Muhammad was a former gang member and drug dealer who spent some time living on the streets. After serving his prison sentence, he founded  We Rise Above The Streets Recovery Outreach, and as part of that he organizes Sandwich Saturday through his Facebook group.

People volunteer all the time, right? Some do it out of the goodness of their hearts, or it makes them feel good to help others. Some do it because they have to, whether it's community service or through a school/church that organized a volunteer day. But this guy does it because he never wants to go back to where he was. If you watch the video, you can tell: he sees the people he helps as human, he looks them in the eye, he connects with them. Raise your hand if you've ever avoided looking in the eyes of a homeless person on the street. Are you afraid of connecting? Or is it something else? The issue of homelessness is pretty complicated, but people are complicated.

Can you imagine what it's like to be homeless, to potentially have people be afraid of you, to potentially be ostracized, to not have anywhere you belong, but to have someone like Al-Amin Muhammad come round to see you, feed you, look you in the eye, and treat you like you're human? THAT is true connection, to me.

And I see something else happening, here, too: Al-Amin Muhammad is also connecting other people in the community with the homeless. The homeless are no longer faceless. By starting Sandwich Saturdays and calling for volunteers on Facebook, he meets new people, gets the message out even more, and before you know it, it's a ripple effect. It's like tossing a pebble into the middle of a pond and watching concentric rings ripple outwards: it starts with one person, then the next, then the next, until there is a united community of people all working together to help those who are in need.


It starts with ONE person.


I think it's pretty darn spiffy how that works.

Look, don't take my word for it. Check out the press he's getting here and here. I tried to find the TV news clip I saw, but so far, no go. If I do, I'll update.

But more than that, I invite you to connect with others in your community. I don't necessarily mean volunteer your time, though that is a great way to do it. You could join a book club or a knitting group. You could start up a workout group at your gym, or a study group at your school.

Don't isolate; CONNECT.


(Hey, it's worth making a side note here: I always recommend if you want to help a charity to vet them through Charity WatchCharity Navigator, or some other service that independently grades charities on how well they use their funds.)

Check back again for future posts on connection. This is a topic I could go on about! Comment below and let me know: how we can make sure we connect with others? Do you like to volunteer, and if so, why? I look forward to your thoughts.

 ~~ positively b.e.e. is on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Follow me there! ~~

Friday, February 9, 2018

Introducing: Fortune Cookie Fridays!

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So I had this crazy idea.

I seem to have a plethora of fortunes from fortune cookies.

I don't know why I kept them; I just did. Compounded by the fact that every time I order Chinese food from my favorite local restaurant, they throw in at least 3-4 cookies each time, I seem to have collected a lot.

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash
And I know the sayings are sometimes kind of cheesy. Half the time, they're not even fortunes, such as "You will win a million dollars." Instead, there are cryptically-worded bits of wisdom packed into each sweet treat, along with some lucky numbers. I often get something out of them, though, because they kick off some creative, intuitive thinking on my part. I think they're my favorite part of the meal.

So, you've heard of Throwback Thursday? Well without further adieu, I introduce to you: Fortune Cookie Friday.

(I know, I know, it's "Flashback Friday" elsewhere. I'm paving a new path!)

I don't know that I'll post one every Friday, but when I do post a fortune cookie fortune, I'll do it on a Friday, as a way to kick off the weekend. With it, I'll post some thoughts about whatever comes out of the cookie, but I'd also love your comments on what each one says to you! Let's have some fun with this!

If you want to play along, you can open some fortune cookies, yourself, and post them in the comments! If you don't have any, you can get them at this link.

Look for this feature to start soon!


 ~~ positively b.e.e. is on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Follow me there! ~~

Guest Blog Post at Skinner Self-Publishing Services (Self-Care Tips You Can Sink Your Teeth Into)

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