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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

From the Archives: What's Your Treat?

Hi! Welcome to all the new readers on this blog! Once again, I want to tell you how much I appreciate you taking time out of your busy day to read about part of my day. 

So, in honour of my new readers, especially, I would love to share an older post from the archives of this blog. This blog is an older one from about two years ago. I re-edited it to improve it, too, just because, well, I can. 
 Any of you who write know that there's almost no such thing as a "final draft." 

So, here's an old post, made a bit newer, called, "What's Your Treat?" I chose this post because of a conversation I had with an old friend on Facebook who was sharing about the joys of movement. I dedicate this one to her! 


It's about how we should try to make our "treat" exercise, rather than food. I am still working on this one; how about you?

Here's the link: What's Your Treat?



Love Sharilee. If you like what you are reading, sign up for regular updates with Blogger or through my Facebook page.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Post Where I Lose My Fear of Bears


Did I happen to mention that I love walking? I really, really, really, really like to walk. In fact, when I don't walk, I start to feel restless and listless and just generally blah.

Now, I always dreamed of moving to the country so that I could walk more. Living in the city was okay for walking but how much better to walk where you did not have to worry about muggers or criminal elements. 

Well, it is so ironic that since moving to the woods, my walking had gone down to almost nil. 
Why? Well ... bears. Fear of them, to be exact. 

We really do live in a forest, and this prairie girl has been more than a little nervous about going out into the deep woods to get her exercise. 

Well, yesterday, that all changed. We walked in the woods! And I did not feel afraid. Here are some pictures I took, just in case you don't believe me! ;)

The picture up above is me, ready for a walk in the woods. I can't seem to put captions on my photos, with my new them, so I will have to explain the pics in the text until I can figure out why I am having the caption problem.

First, we saw a little path into the woods. My husband went first, and tentatively followed, shouting at the top of my lungs, "here we come, bears! We are here!" Yes, I sounded like a crazy person.

And I couldn't believe how beautiful it was, and that I have been living five minutes away from this little paradise! It was so still (besides my insane shouting out the bears) and I thought that I had to find a way to be able to enjoy this beauty without being afraid.

So I started grilling my poor husband. "Do you think it's really dangerous," I asked him. 

"Not really, it's cottage country." 

"So, they won't come around because there are too many people?" I insisted. 

"No," he explained. 

And it makes sense. The bears tend to go where they are almost guaranteed to be left alone. These are brown bears, and I guess the grizzly bears are a different story. This was confirmed in our next conversation. 

While we were walking, we met some neighbours who live closer down to the lake. They were outside working on their yard, and I started grilling them, too, about bears. 

They were pros at this living in the woods business (three years out here) and said they had not seen a bear for two years. The first time, a bear came to the door soon after they moved in, but they believe it was because the house had sat empty for quite a while. When it saw them, it high-tailed it out of there.  

And the second time was when the owner had put out a bird-feeder. The bear was just on that! And it is well-known that you should never put birdseed in your yard during bear season. She found out why! 

"So, are you afraid of bears?" I asked them. 

"No," they explained. 

I brought up a recent bear mauling incident in Alberta, in the mountains, but the gentleman reminded us that those bears are grizzlies, and a whole different story. 

So, yesterday was the day that I lost my fear of bears, at least somewhat. I will still carry the bear spray my gorgeous husband bought me, and I will still sing and yell like a crazy lady in the forest, but I have to get out and walk in all that beauty! 

It's funny how fear can keep from so many things, isn't it? I am sometimes like a fear machine walking around, and I know that's not right. 

It reminded me of David, from the Bible. This famous story from the Bible had new meaning to me yesterday.  Bears and lions tried to attack his flock and he fought them off with a slingshot. He wasn't afraid of bears! 

And then, when something even scarier came along (like a giant!) he wasn't afraid of that, either. After yesterday, I feel a little braver for everything else in my life, too. Just a little, though, I am not asking for giants! 

And to end it off,  a couple more pictures of the walk. One of the pictures is of the dock by our house, and the other is a big piece of wood that sort of looks like a bear. 

What about you? Do you like to walk? Are there any things you are nervous about as you walk, or are you as brave as a bear? Have you recently overcome any fears? 

Tell us your stories! 




*All photos are my own creation. Written work and photos protected by copyright 2014.

Love Sharilee. If you like what you are reading, sign up for regular updates with Blogger or through my Facebook page.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Why I Like Fixer-Uppers

Hey everyone! Have you ever fixed up something that is old or falling apart? 

I know I sure have! In fact, it seems to be the story of my life! Houses, apartments, myself ... ha ha! 

As I mentioned in my last post, my husband and I have been fixing up our eighties style cabin home in the woods after moving there last December. 

Well, if you have ever tried to fix up something that is run down, you know it is a TON of work! 

If you are like me, you start off with some great ideas, and feel inspired about how beautiful the end product is going to be. That was me! 

You feel like a miracle worker, knowing you will transform the house, or household item, or even person, into a stunning masterpiece. You can't wait! Yep, over here, I relate! 


But then ... not too soon after reality sets in. Unlike those H.G.T.V. shows I love to watch, it doesn't happen in an afternoon. 

You realize that it will cost a lot more than you thought. And that you don't really have the skills or tools that you need to finish the job. 

And you start to get discouraged. Maybe this house wasn't really worth buying, after all. Yep, that sounds like me! 


We get so discouraged, with all the work. With all of the ways we have failed to finish our project, and get unto other things. We want to quit. But when we don't, therein is the beauty .... 

When we persevere, and keep going, making something old new, something useless useful, we do see the other side and start to see the beauty again that we imagined when we started. 

This is what happened to me yesterday. I have been working like crazy on our master bedroom. It had no working closet space when we got there. It had a old bed left over from the previous owner. 

And because we moved, and were so busy working, it had TONS of boxes everywhere for the last seven months. Plus clothes, clothes, clothes everywhere from not having a closet. Overwhelming? You bet! Gross? Yes. 

So, I have been working on the bedroom. Feeling discouraged. My husband fixed the closet so it's functional. And I have been tackling all the clutter, the boxes. And wow, the beauty is starting to emerge. I see the loft attic room as we first saw it. 

And that, I realized last night, is why I actually enjoy the fix-up process. Whether houses, or a marriage, or even myself. 

Because you work for the beauty, with sweat and tears. It's not done for you, by someone else. It is yours. I love the creative process, the struggle that goes into making something old new again. 


It's that struggle that I live for. The creative struggle. And so, I realized, I don't buy things old, just because I can't afford the brand-new shiny things. I buy them because something in my soul longs for that process, that challenge. 

And I realized that that any beauty, in art, or design, or even ourselves, begins with doing some work. And it's worth it! 

How about you? Can you relate? Do you actually enjoy the process of making old into new? Tell us your story in the comments below. 



*Copyright 2014, Sharilee Swaity. All photos in this post are the creation of Sharilee Swaity. 


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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Welcome to Life in the Woods!

View of front yard, in the winter, while the trees are stark naked! 

Welcome to  "Life in the woods," this same blog with a new name and a new focus! I have changed this blog to reflect my life these days and hope you love it! 

A raven, as seen from our new yard. 
These pictures are from my yard. The yard my husband and I share. As you can see it is definitely "in the woods." And so the name of this blog is now "life in the woods." Yes, that is a raven, as seen from my living room window. 

I am living out a life-long dream: to be out of the city and in the midst of the beautiful creation of God. Wow, sometimes, I can hardly believe it! We moved of December 1st of last year, and have spent the last eight months making our cabin-like house into a home. 
Our kitty, Shiloh, out on the deck for the first time in our new home.
What will I be writing about? The central theme will be beauty -- beauty found in each one of us, the beauty of nature, and the beauty of creativity. I will share the lessons I am learning with you, about how to live in the woods, away from the conveniences of the city. I will share the lessons I am learning about writing and creativity. But most of all, I hope to inspire you to think about life as beautiful, and yourself as beautiful, and to see that seeing beauty in ourselves and others will give up hope to keep going in our lives. 

So, I hope you will enjoy the blog. If you do, please share with your friends or family.


Love Sharilee. If you like what you are reading, sign up for regular updates with Blogger or through my Facebook page.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Our Brains Are Marvelous Things

Picture of a brain, via Wikipedia Commons


Lately, I  have been doing a fair bit of learning about the brain.  And when I say "the brain," I don't mean the smart kid in the class. I mean the way our brains work, and function, and how that affects our lives. And it truly is a fascinating topic.

Here's some of what I have been learning.

First of all, our thoughts are real things. What does this mean? It means that our thoughts are not just abstract concepts only existing to each one of us, personally. Instead, thoughts are actual living things that can be seen, and documented with the latest in brain imaging.

To see what I mean, check out this video of the brain as thoughts are being formed:



Neuroscientists are now working on methods of being able to "almost" read someone's thoughts, based on which part of the brain is active when varying stimuli are shown:



The scientists cannot read exact thoughts, but they can pick up clues of what is being thought of. Wow, this research makes a lot of the science fiction from the '70's much less fictional!

You may wonder, how is this this information relevant for our everyday lives? Sure, it is fascinating to be able to show off my knowledge in the obscure field of neuroscience, but what else is it good for?

Well, according to Dr. Caroline Leaf, a neuroscientist and a Christian teacher, it is immensely relevant. And encouraging. I have downloaded Dr. Leaf's book called Switch On Your Brain: The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking and Health

This book explains how we can affect our own brains, and control our thinking, so that we are not depressed and negative. This is so encouraging! To know that we are not doomed to negative thinking, because we have been diagnosed with a certain condition, or because we have been through some very bad experiences.

The latest science in brain research coincides so perfectly with the Scriptures. The Bible is full of teaching that says we are what we think. One example is Proverbs 23:7a: As a man thinketh, so is he.

I love learning about the brain, and how new thoughts form. This new knowledge gives us hope that anyone can change. And that anyone can learn. Even those with learning disabilities. Those in mental hospitals. Those that seem hopelessly addicted. Even me. Even you.






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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Polyvore set ... Freedom in the LORD


I just wanted to share this Polyvore set I had done a while back. It is called "Where the Spirit ..." and is a reference to the Scripture , that says "Where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is freedom ..." I think it has a really feeling of freedom to it, just like the freedom God wants to give us.


Where the Spirit ...