Ocean Clean Up!

Plastics have revolutionized modern life, and helped us in uncountable ways. Unfortunately, they also cause a lot of damage in the world. One of the big problems caused by plastic is the pollution of our oceans. Millions of tons of plastic garbage is floating in the sea, causing a lot of damage to wildlife when they get tangled or try to eat it. This problem has existed for decades, but it’s been reaching critical levels lately.

Fortunately, there are good people working to end this problem!

Norwegian billionaire Kjell Inge Rokke has announced a plan to fund a 600 ft (182 m) long yacht dedicated to ocean research and health. The REV (Research Expedition Vessel) will have a trash collection system able to collect 5 tons of garbage a day! It will also have sensors for collecting data, two aerial drones, and and underwater vehicle for exploration and research.

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The vessel will be managed by World Wildlife Foundation Norway, and will be staffed with dozens of scientists. It’s in the planning stages and should be ready to sail in 2020. I can’t wait to see this cool ship in action. πŸ™‚

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Another project dedicated to this problem is The Ocean Cleanup. Started in 2013 and headed by founder Boyan Slat, this organization has been testing methods of garbage collecting on the high seas. Thanks to investors who raised $21 million dollars, they plan to have a large-scale system in place sometime during 2018. They have the ambitious goal of clearing out half of the massive Pacific Garbage Patch in 10 years, which is a HUGE undertaking but would kick butt if they could pull it off. πŸ™‚

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You can stay up-to-date on their progress here!

And for an example of clean up on a smaller, more personal scale, there’s the inspiring story of Pukka Travel’s coastal cleanup day. This 2017 expedition featured four boats carrying 50 volunteers around a section of Norwegian coast, where they collected trash from the beaches and coastline. After only 3 hours, they had rid the ocean of 1400 kg (~3000 lbs) of garbage!

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Check out some gorgeous photos of this expedition here. This is a really cool idea, and I would love to be part of something like this. πŸ™‚

The state of our precious oceans is worrying, but it’s so good to know that there are some people and organizations out there working on the problem. It seems that the solution will likely come from individuals instead of governments, so I hope that these efforts continue to grow. We CAN clean up our planet and make a difference!

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Reverse To-Do List!

Lots of people make to-do lists, but have you ever made a REVERSE to-do list? I’ve started one for 2018! πŸ™‚

What exactly is a reverse to-do list? Well, I suppose you could also call it an accomplishment journal. Last fall I got a cute little lined journal at a craft store, and it’s been turned into my new daily accomplishment journal.

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Every time I accomplish something or get something done, I write it on the list. Even small, simple things get written down, like refilling the bird feeder, taking out the trash, or shaving my legs (hey, it’s easy to forget in winter when you’re constantly in long pants! XD ) So it’s basically a to-do list, except things are logged *after* they’re done instead of before.

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By the time bedtime comes around, I have a nice list of small accomplishments for the day. Big changes in life are often made from a collection of small changes, so I believe that logging the good things I do each day can lead to greater improvements. And even if nothing spectacular happens that day, it makes each day feel meaningful, in its own little way!

It also encourages taking immediate action, because it feels good to log completed tasks. Instead of thinking “I’ll clean the litter boxes sometime today”, I find myself doing it immediately so I can have the satisfaction of writing it on my reverse to-do list. πŸ™‚

What do you think? Are you going to try an accomplishment journal?

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A Look Back on 2017

2017 is gone, and a new year is upon us. The last year has given us a lot of change and disruption as a world and a species, and I’ve experienced a lot of change in my personal life as well. 2017 was a year of intense experiences, good and bad. Instead of making a list of specific events, I’m going to discuss some overall lessons I’ve learned over the previous 12 months.

Change the World

Our world and our society is currently in a state of dynamic change. Without discussing specific politics or scandals, it’s clear that a lot of negativity and darkness has come out of the woodwork and onto the main stage, and in many ways we are teetering precariously between success and failure. While this can be scary and/or depressing, it’s also clear that a powerful positive energy is rapidly gaining power as well. As darkness asserts itself, goodness is standing up stronger than ever to wash it in light.

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I’ve learned that each of us has power to increase this good. While I can’t change the world all at once, every moment of every day provides opportunities to do good things, help people, and increase the amount of positivity in the world. I believe that good energy is stronger than bad, and it’s my responsibility to send out as much of that good energy as possible. Each of us contributes to the world consciousness, and our contribution needs to be full of light and love now more than ever. We have the power to make our world a beautiful place, but we have to stand up and do it! As Michael Jackson said, we have to look at the man in the mirror, and MAKE THAT CHANGE! πŸ™‚

Personal Spiritual Growth

I’ve done a lot of spiritual pondering and growth through the past year. I’d prefer not to go into specific details, as many of them are intensely personal, but I will say that my mind has been opened up a lot about the possibilities beyond our physical world.

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Things that I’ve had trouble accepting before, like consciousness, vibrational energy, the law of attraction, and even the possibility of life after death have become more understandable and believable to me. The power of thought has become a big part of my life and my personal philosophy. I’ve also done a lot of work in determining my own value and my place in the world and what I’m here to accomplish.

I’m definitely not done growing…not even close! But 2017 was a huge learning experience for me that will influence the rest of my life.

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I’ve always been incredibly shy, and I was officially diagnosed a few years ago with Social Phobia. Because of this, I haven’t had a lot of social interaction outside of my family for most of my life. My family is awesome and I adore them, but 2017 taught me that I really need to develop a strong circle of friends outside of my relatives. There are some important topics that I really need to talk about, but have no one in my family who can listen or help me. Holding it inside is suffocating.

I’ve learned that I should make it a priority to get out more, share my true self, and develop meaningful relationships with other people. I dream of having a close, supportive, loving group of friends who take care of each other and help each other become our best selves. I know they’re out there, I just have to get out of the house and find them! πŸ™‚

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So those are my lessons learned. I can’t say I *enjoyed* 2017, but it was a very important year for me. Here’s hoping 2018 will be the best one yet! πŸ™‚

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New Years Resolutions 2018!

2018 is here! 2017 was a year of big changes for me, and I plan to make 2018 a year of even bigger changes, growth, and improvement. I’ve given it some serious thought and come up with a few resolutions to follow in the upcoming year.

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Support local businesses

As an owner of a small business, I know how hard it is to compete with the Big Box companies, and how grateful I am for everyone who buys from my shop. Starting in 2018, I’m going to support local businesses in my area as much as I can.

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I think the easiest way to do this is food. Instead of eating at chain restaurants or fast food places, I’m going to eat at local restaurants whenever possible. I’ve already tried one new place, a small deli near my home, and the food was great! I’m also going to see if there are small art and/or office supply shops, instead of relying on Michaels and other chain stores. Another plan is to switch my medical subscription from my current chain store to a local pharmacy. (If you have any other suggestions that I haven’t thought of, please let me know!)

This will also be a cool way to explore the city I live in and get to know its unique people and places a bit more. πŸ™‚

Prioritize my YouTube channel

Up until now, my YouTube channel has been put on the back burner when I get busy with other things. The span of time between planning a video and actually creating it is too long, because I’ve let other responsibilities get in the way. That’s going to change!

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Starting now, making and posting videos will be a priority. I hope to grow my channel with lots of positive and helpful videos, and grow my subscriber base as well.

Make some real art

Going to art school and being a pro artist is one of my biggest “if I could do my life over” regrets. I love to draw and create, but so far it’s always just been for fun (like my Inktober doodles). 2018 will be the year that I get serious about art! I plan to make some kind of professional work, like making some prints, or maybe a painting or two.

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I’ve always been afraid to try to sell my work, because I fear rejection…but this time I’m going to put my big girl panties on and do it anyway. πŸ™‚

Recycling

I used to do a bit of recycling, but stopped a few years back when gas prices shot up (my city doesn’t pick up recycling; you have to drive it out to a recycle center). But now gas is reasonable and I’ve found a closer drop off center, so I’m going to get back into the groove of recycling!

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I’m going to start saving paper, plastic, metal cans, and glass for recycling. I’ve already set out a big plastic bin on my back porch for storing stuff until I get enough to make a trip.

It’s going to feel really good to do my part to keep our planet clean! πŸ™‚

 

So those are my resolutions for 2018. I’m going to make this a great year! How about you – what are your goals?

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Handmade Christmas!

My family has recently started a tradition where we draw names for Christmas presents. We agree on a price point, then draw names from a hat and give a gift or two to the person we receive. This year, we decided to try a handmade Christmas – everyone’s gift must be made from scratch with their own hands! We agreed that it could be anything, as long as it was handmade.

I was really curious to see what the gifts would be, because most of my family members aren’t super crafty and I didn’t know what they would come up with. The results were way better than I ever expected!

My gift was an egg holder from my father. I keep chickens as a hobby, so I always have a supply of fresh eggs in the kitchen. He found some old weathered barn wood and turned it into a cool rustic egg display! πŸ˜€

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My gift to Brother #2 were these felt ornaments; one has Mercy’s rez symbol from Overwatch, with her motto “Heroes Never Die” hand-stitched on the back. The other is the Rebellion symbol from Star Wars, with “May the Force Be With You” on the back. I was glad I pulled his name, so I could make something fun and geeky. πŸ˜‰

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One of my sisters was just married over the summer, and she gave her bouquet to my other sister to keep. Sister #2 surprised her by making this awesome picture box displayΒ  in celebration of their wedding.

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Brother #1’s gift to sister #2 was this adorable bird house made from a coconut, complete with “Welcome to the Nut House” sign. XD I’m really proud of my brother, because despite being the least crafty out of everyone, he pulled off a very cute and creative gift!

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My brother-in-law blew everyone away with his gift to my stepmother – this amazing handmade cedar box! The whole thing is done by hand, including the detailed lid. That’s some real woodworking talent there!

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My stepmother made this cool Scrabble memento for my sister-in-law. It has their names, and words like “husband”, “wife”, “forever”, and “family”. Very clever!

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Sister #1 and her husband have recently started watching Game of Thrones, so my sister-in-law made this paper cut-out family crest for them. They also have chickens and love to give away the eggs, so she made the family symbol a hen. I think this is so cool! XD *starts humming GoT theme*

 

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Sister #2 made Brother #1 this cool wooden tool caddy. He’s always working on stuff and has a ton of tools, so this is perfect for him! It has jelly jars filled with nails and screws and other small findings.

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And finally, Brother #2’s gift to our dad, also made with paper cut outs! Our father loves Star Trek, so he made a framed picture of the Enterprise zooming past Earth. So cool!

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We had a great time opening our gifts! Sister #1 started crying when she saw her wedding memento box, which started everyone else getting teary-eyed, lol.

I’m glad we decided to make handmade gifts this year, and I recommend the idea to anyone who wants to try a unique spin on Christmas! πŸ˜€

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