• Bradley Nickell

Summer Prep....

Finished the meditation garden enough to dedicate it with some of moms favorite things

The past couple of weeks I have been struggling with how to fit everything I want to get done into my schedule. I'm not sure if its because I'm trying to incorporate some new lifestyle changes or maybe the planets and stars are in some sort of bugged out alignment but for what ever the reason I can't seem to focus on any one thing long enough to do it consistently. Two of the things are meditating and keeping a journal, seems pretty simple, right? Let me throw this in too. I've been reading a lot about dreams and interpreting dreams so a logical start would be to be able to remember my dreams and everything I read says keep a "dream journal" so to get back to the original story.....I should, as soon as I wake up, write in my journal, then meditate to maybe remember more of my dreams or just for stress relief, makes perfect sense. However here is my morning, I wake up and Bella, my pit bull that sleeps with me, has to eat, that is top priority, I walk through the kitchen and see the coffee pot that needs started and to show how messed up my mind is, by the time I hit the start button on the coffee machine I'm doing the "pee dance" because even though that should be the first thing I do like every normal person on earth I wait until the dog is fed and my coffee is started because in my head that's the more efficient way to do things. **update** I've succeeded in meditating every day this week, the journal is still blank, Small victories.

Monday, the 8th was the one year anniversary of when my mom lost her battle with cancer. I've been working on the meditation garden that her and I talked about a lot during our last few conversations. I told her that I wanted her to help me plant flowers in it when I got the building part of it done. In all honesty, in spite of her strength and positive attitude, I knew she wasn't going to be with me to plant the flowers. I did make sure to remember things that we talked about and things to make sure I included. Monday I had a fire out in that space to remember and dedicate it to her. The meditation garden is a place where I know I can go and we can be together and though it will probably be a work in progress for awhile, its complete enough that I can kind of re focus my life back on me. It isn't the same as picking up the phone and hearing her voice but for me it kind of fills that void that I've felt for the past year, and gives me a little bit of closure.

The weather is slowly starting to show signs of summer and I've been trying to do yard clean up and organizing for the vegetable and flower gardens. I collect garden gnomes, and I have several of them around the yard. Last year I noticed how faded they looked and thought it might be time to get new ones and then I had a thought, why not try to re paint them? I paint cars for a living so I know about UV protection and that's the reason they fade. I guess if you sell them with uv protection it would kind of cut into your repeat customers so it makes sense but I don't like throwing them away and I have a bit of a diy and artistic side. I also have a bad habit of leaving them out all winter, that actually makes the plastic brittle and they break so I would highly recommend not doing what I do and bring your yard ornaments in over the winter. Last year I decided to test a couple of my gnomes with my theory, I brought them in and painted them using water based paints that I got from meijer and a spray can clear coat to give them the UV protection.

one gnome from last year, still looks like new

My suggestion would be to put a couple coats of clear coat on them before you put them out when they are new, but if you didn’t because it’s obviously not something anyone thinks about here’s a quick guide to making those old yard gnomes look new again. The first step is to clean them and sand the surface. I use soap and water and a scotch brite pad, those scratchy things you use to wash counter tops and dishes work or go to a hardware or automotive store and get one. Using the scotch brite pad with soap and water cleans and sands the surface at the same time, a trick I also use on cars before I paint them. After you clean/scuff it really well, dry it. I usually wipe it dry and then let it sit over night to make sure all the water is gone but a few hours is probably fine. Now its time to paint, I use bottles of acrylic paint you can find at any craft and most big box stores and a brush. I'm not generally the kind of person that can sit and do anything, but when the mood strikes, painting is very relaxing and almost meditative to me. It gives me a chance to be a little bit creative and clears my mind of everything else going on in my life. I turn off the phone and can totally immerse myself into painting. After the painting is done I give it a day to dry and then apply two coats of clear coat. I use a satin store brand clear from the hardware store. I'm not a big fan of shiny yard gnomes is why I choose satin but you can choose from gloss, satin, or flat. The gloss will give you a very shiny look, satin to me a more natural look and a flat will be almost a chalky look. That's all there is to it, if its going to be sunny and warm outside you can set them out after an hour or so, the heat will help the clear dry faster. I think I"m going to put a fresh coat of clear on all my ones from last year just to make sure they don't fade again.

I feel like if you truly want to be happy, you have to be happy in every part of your life. We all have problems and stress, the important thing is knowing how to deal with those parts of your life. Sitting down at the kitchen table to paint a garden gnome might not seem like any kind of therapy but to me it is just another way I can sit, relax, and just clear my mind. What are things that you enjoy doing? Are you taking the time you need for yourself? It doesn't have to be any big ritual, find something simple that you can do alone that helps you forget all the stress of life even if its only ten minutes. Little things add up and are a major part of living you happy hippie life. Have a great weekend.


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I am one of those people that has to have a plan when it comes to getting things done. I'm also trying to live more spontaneously, so the result is six months without a blog post. A lot of things go


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