Friday, October 31, 2014

Mama.. Why do we Trick & Treat?

Photo: Carroll College Student Life

The air is crisp and damp, the sun is low and bright. Emmy Bo and I are riding the bike to school, she sitting in front of me on the bicycle rim in a side saddle pose. We are not allowed but we do it anyway. Feeling a bit naughty we swisch down the street.

“Mama… You know that Eléonore doesn’t do Halloween like we do.”
“ No? Why is that?”
“ She says she loves God and not the scary bad ghosts.”

We have reached school and Emmy Bo is jumping down from the bike and I give her the backpack to put on. I look at her and see question marks in her face as she is trying to make sense out of a conversation with her classmate Eléonore, the oldest daughter of three in the pastor’s family. I ask Emmy Bo:

“Why do we celebrate Halloween?”
she says with a big toothless grin on her face.

I quickly realize that this is something I have failed to educate my children about. That this is a perception taught by the commercial Halloween in stores and that in our house Halloween has always just been about Trick & Treat, dressing up and decorating with scary stuff… This is totally wrong.

“Naaaahhh. That is not what Halloween is about really.” I tell her with a playful grin on my face. Emmy Bo looks at me and laughs in understanding. She knows that there is something more than Trick & Treat to Halloween. She just doesn’t know what. I start to explain:

“ You see, Halloween is actually about remembering the holy spirits of the dead. So if you have a family member that is dead, like a grandma, a father a brother a cousin or maybe a cat, you can go to their grave and celebrate the memory of the dead person by lighting candles in the dark and giving flowers. It is a beautiful way of remembering this person and showing that this person is not forgotten. That they remain in our hearts and memory." (Note: In Sweden we call it Alla Helgons Dag - All Saints Day, an this is a tradition that I was growing up with in Sweden. No Trick & Treating when I was a child…)
“Yes! That is what Eléonore does. She goes to the graves. Because she doesn’t like the dress up and scary faces. But why do we do Trick & Treat then?”

For a moment I am caught off guard because to be really honest, I have no idea. Shame on me. Why do we do Trick & Treat when we are supposed to remember the dead? I tell Emmy Bo I will Google it and let her know after school. And she is pleased with this answer. For now. And I go home to enlighten myself on the subject and I get stuck on the computer quite sometime in my own education.

I find it very interesting. And upsetting at the same time. That commercialism is holding us so tight in its grip that many of us don’t really know what certain festivals and holidays (religious or not) are all about. That we allow ourselves to get sucked into yet another money-spending event to be a part of the commercial joy ride, forgetting all about the historical backgrounds for the happening. (Read an interesting article I stumbled upon here: Religious significance of Halloween has been lost, replaced by commercialism by Charlie Honey at The Grand Rapids Press.)

I’m guilty of the lack of knowledge. I am guilty of getting seduced by commercialism. Thanks to my children I teach myself on the topic. I talk to the pastors wife about it (who is a darling friend of mine living next door) and today I learned something new. Which makes me feel great. And I am prepared to answer questions when Emmy Bo returns from school this afternoon, because now I know what it is all about. Do you know what Halloween is all about, really?


Follow on Bloglovin

Thursday, October 30, 2014

It is all about blue, white and red

Today I am sharing a quick sneak peek of my latest finished crochet project. A blue, red and white crochet bunting.

My oldest has turned 13 and it is all about blue, white and red. We are making a room make over on the theme which you would think has its inspiration from the States considering us being a Swedish - American family. But no no... For Nelly Bo the blue, white and red is all about London, the Union Jack and United Kingdom itself. I guess it has to do with famous You Tubers, pop singers and the fact that big cities are on a trend within interior design.

This weekend we will get to work with putting it in place. Did I mention that she loves it? Especially the tassels.


Follow on Bloglovin

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

When the sun goes down...

... I sit in the dark watching the pink shades disappear behind the apple trees. And I am amazed.
... my laundry hangs still and calm and the light from inside looks so inviting and cozy. And I suddenly feel a bit chilly.
... the moon makes his entrance, proud and almost full against the dark blue evening sky. And I feel thankful.
... then the kids jump high on top of the hill so I can practice shutter speed and silhouette photography. And I am loving it.

When the sun goes down I sum up the day and I feel lucky.


Follow on Bloglovin

Monday, October 27, 2014

About the Blogging Your Way e-course

My mood board - My Rose Valley in the future.

My brain storming Blogging Your Way Course board on my Pinterest.

decor8 e-courses Blogging Your Way - the website.
Not very often do I read about people taking blog courses, so I thought I would share my latest blog course adventure with you.

I am taking a Blogging Your Way online course with Holly at Decor8. This is not the first time for me. Two years ago, I signed up for a basic BYW course, but the timing was so bad that I couldn't attend very much. I was disappointed, stressed out and thought it was a waste - at my own faults I should add. Because Holly's online blog courses are good. You get what you put in. You work hard and you will see results. You surf along and might not get that much at all out of it. You make the course happen for you. Like going in therapy. If you are not open for it and if you chose to sit silent, nothing will be accomplished.

This particular e-course is for the more advanced bloggers and pro bloggers. The tempo is intense. There is a lot of information to take in. Unfortunately I fell behind a bit the first week as we were on vacation, but slowly I have managed to catch up. I have 3 kids and a big house to care for which mean I have to steal my moments to do this course. Often at night time or early mornings. But I am doing it. And last night was my big proud moment when I delivered my homework for week 2 at 1.30am. Exhausted but so full of inspiration. Because that is what Holly's blog courses do to you. Fill you up with inspiration.

I don't really interact that much in class (there is a forum where you can chat, turn in homework and have discussions online) but just looking at what other bloggers do, checking out their blogs and reading their comments is feeding my knowledge base a lot. This is not a course where you get technical step-by-step details on how to add Social Media buttons or how to make the best blog layout. How to understand image formats or CSS coding. No, no, no. If you need to become more tech savvy you need to surf the Internet for tutorials or invest in books on the subject.

This course is more of a helicopter view of blogging. After blogging for over 5 years now I do get bored at times, I have doubts at times, I lack inspiration, energy and just plainly fall off the blogging wagon every now and then. I feel stuck in a route and am not sure about where to start to change direction or how to explore something new. I put pressure on myself and get stressed and suddenly my whole world is an imbalanced broken see saw... And this is where this BYW course does magic.

Holly and her team of teachers teaches about blogging and life balance, how to deal with blog envy, what works and what doesn't, color therapy (OH GOSH - how fun wasn't the color therapy classes!!!???) and the impact colors have on ourselves, our blogs and our readers and so much more. Her classes encourage you to step back from your blog and view it with different eyes, open up for changes and to become a critic of your own creating. She helps you to re-discover the spark in blogging and make you believe in your blog, that it has a purpose, that it is worth to keep going.

For probably more than a year now I have wanted to upping my game a little bit, change my blog layout and update My Rose Valley with my creative successes, the pattern and yarn business etc. I don't want to loose the homey feel of My Rose Valley but I want it to grow up a little bit. It needs a new outfit. The old one works, but what you wore in 2009 is not the same as you wear in 2014. You get what I am saying, right?

After last weeks big mood board exercise I think I am finally finding my way home. I got really carried away once I allowed myself to sit undisturbed and started to play with color swatches, checking my Pinterest board to identify what is me, searching for fonts that speaks my voice, the patterns that makes me feel comfortable etc etc. And after almost 3 hours of mixing and matching, cutting and pasting, deleting and changing, it all came together. Now I only need to apply the mood board feel into My Rose Valley blog.

I am inspired, I am making myself a work schedule, I feel organized, I am getting things done and I am changing and so is My Rose Valley. To the better, but it will take time before this face lift is done. I hope you will like it. And if you have been thinking about doing an online blog course, I highly recommend Holly's BYW courses. Read more about them here, and student testimonials here. and remember - be prepared, work hard and keep up with the classes to get the most out of it.


Follow on Bloglovin