Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Yesterday’s post was a bit sappy and melodramatic.

Not apologizing.  Yesterday was what yesterday was.  Some days are overwhelming and emotional and sad.  It’s okay to visit those days.  Just not a good place to live.

Today, is a new day and I am definitely in a better frame of mind.

After writing yesterday, I decided to ignore the post-wedding disaster that is my house and re-arrange the living room instead.

Because that’s what any rational person would do, right?

Let’s ignore the multitude of boxes full of unwashed tablecloths, linens, cake plates, serving dishes, candles and candle holders, vases and I don’t remember what else.

Let’s not look at the dirty dishes sitting for more days than I care to share, or the fridge that is holding leftovers slightly more recent than Thanksgiving (hopefully).

Who cares that the laundry pile on the floor of the laundry room is almost too high for the aging Basset Hound to climb over?

Does it really matter that I can’t remember the last time I swept (much less mopped), or balanced the checkbook, or anything else required to maintain a household.

My house has reached a whole new level of untidiness.

It doesn’t help that I was sick for three of the four weeks before the wedding.

There’s a whole lot of stuff that needs to be done.

But…I decided to rearrange the living room.

And it turned out to be a good thing.

There is one room in the house that is together…orderly, decluttered and peaceful.   A sanctuary in the midst of chaos.

And I needed that space.

Today, I have tackled the laundry and dishes.  The dogs can get to the doggie door.  The mortgage is paid.  A sofa and ottoman have been decluttered.

I feel like everything is going to be alright.

That’s a good feeling to have.

There is still lots and lots of wedding stuff to deal with.

There are six boxes of stuff waiting to go to the thrift store.

And there is still “life stuff” happening that is cause for concern.

But I’m good.

Life is good.

And I am looking forward to tomorrow.

hello

today’s post will be brought to you in lower-case letters…not to offend the grammatically correct or because i am too tired to use the shift key, but because i feel very quiet today…as if life should be done in a whisper.  and so it shall be.

since the first of august last year, lots of stuff has been happening.  intense stuff.  life threatening and life changing stuff.

my three adult children have been doing some serious “adulting” and, as their mom i have been cheering, crying, hoping, fearing and mostly watching.  no matter how old they get, they are always and forever the small lives that were entrusted to me so many years ago.

there was the wedding to plan

and classes to teach

and medical issues to deal with

and a sister to support

and a marriage to sustain

decisions to make

hugs to be given

advice to be offered

words not to be said

and a cluttered house to battle

and now life has slowed enough that i am realizing all that has been happening and i feel overwhelmed.

i am going to live in the moments for a bit and feel all the emotions that the last few months have served up.

i was too busy for a while and just kept going…not really paying enough attention to it all.

life has slowed

but not stopped.

there is still a major life decision looming…but it is not mine to make.  i am not in control of it.  it is hard to know that something is the right thing for someone to do but to want to hold on and stop it at the same time.  the unknown is scary.  don’t run out into the street, don’t touch the stove, don’t talk to strangers, do your homework, make good choices…don’t grow up.

fly away…

be happy.

be brave.

be safe.

at the wedding when my youngest was standing up as one of her sister’s bridesmaids, i suddenly realized that she, too, is grown up.

a young lady

no longer a child.

how did the time pass so quickly when at times i thought it would never end?

did i do what i needed to do?

are they ready?

are they going to be safe

and happy?

my heart is so full

of pride

and awe at who they are and are becoming…

and of fear for what they are facing

and will face

and i just want them to be little again

but they need to fly out there

and use their talents and gifts and dreams

to change the world

they certainly changed me

and my heart goes with them

i

 

 

hope

Happenstance

I wrote some days ago about realizing that the journey I was on was not progressing as well as I would like

…about coming across some journals from years ago in which I expressed frustration with circumstances that are relatively unchanged today

…that the methods I was using didn’t appear to be very effective

…I’m still decluttering, and trying to find time for things I want to do, and attempting to maintain a simpler and cleaner home

…change has happened, but not as much as I would like

I wrote that there needed to be a new plan, but I had no idea what it might be.

I was frustrated.

I was hopeful.

I was anxious.

 

Then, by happenstance. I downloaded the game, gin rummy, onto my phone.

I’ve never been good at gin.  I just thought it might be a good distraction, and hey…it was free.

Do you play gin?  It’s pretty simple in theory.  You have a limited number of cards and need to form melds (sets) before your opponent goes out or you get stuck with points. I’m not going to try to explain the whole game…the important part to understand as far as this post goes, is to know that getting rid of “deadwood” is the key to winning.

The game I downloaded has a range of opponents for you to challenge.  They are ranked in skill from not very good to pretty much unbeatable.

When I started I couldn’t beat any of them.

I played anyway.

Then, I actually went and read all of the instructions just to make sure I understood what I was supposed to be doing.

I still lost a lot, but not quite as much.  I started beating the worst player every once in a while.

I started watching what the best players were doing.

I realized that I was playing the same way I had always played…trying to put together the same type of hand over and over again.

I kept losing.

Sound familiar?

Sound like the way I’ve been working on my house?

That’s what I started thinking.

I started discarding cards…ruthlessly.

I stopped saving cards that would make melds that I wanted to make

…and started saving cards that could and would actually win the hand.

I discarded long-shots.

I stopped holding onto cards that were no longer useful.

I didn’t keep a card just because I liked it (I’m partial to hearts).

If it wasn’t going to contribute to a winning hand, I discarded it.

I quit picking up cards that “might” be useful.

A hand plays out quickly.

There is no time for a lot of “maybe” and “someday”.

Holding onto deadwood is no way to win.

I can now beat any of the opponents except for “Jane”.  I’m pretty sure that she cheats. She wins a lot.  She seems to be very lucky.  Yep,  I think she’s cheating.  I may quit playing against her.

In any case, by happenstance, this game taught me a lot.

Help can come from the most unlikely places.

Who knew?

Life is short.

A day is even shorter.

I’ve got to play the hand that I’ve been dealt.

I can’t hold onto cards (stuff and emotions) that aren’t helping me to build the hand that I need to win the game.  The game being the life that I’m hoping to live.

The wrong cards or too many cards won’t ever come together to help me achieve my goal of a simpler, tidier, more comfortable home.

I need to ruthlessly discard cards that are keeping me from assembling a winning hand.

If I have something that I used to like but don’t any longer, it should go.

If something was expensive, but I don’t love it, keeping it just takes up space that could be filled with a more important card.

Just because something once held deep meaning, doesn’t mean that it gets to stick around forever. I change and the things that are meaningful can change also.

There are only so many cards allowed in a hand.

Holding onto the wrong card means that there is no room for the right card.

I have to make sure that I have the right cards.

Oh, and it helps to make sure that I fully understand the rules of the game – the direction I am headed and my ultimate goal.

Clothes that don’t fit right or don’t fit at all.  Gone. Even (or especially) if I am holding onto them because I like the idea of wearing them rather than the reality of wearing them.  You know, all those clothes you keep taking out of the closet and dropping onto the floor – never really wearing anywhere.

Beautiful things that fit the image of who I would like to be, but don’t fit into the reality of who I am – a woman who hates to dust and despises clutter.  I’m talking about those beautiful home magazine pages of meticulously displayed collectibles and art.  I love the way that looks.  It just doesn’t translate into my real life.  I need to be realistic about the life I live and the way I live it.

Things that I used to use all the time, but don’t use any longer.  Interests and needs change, but I don’t always adapt the stuff I have to reflect where I am right now.  I don’t have four kiddos at home all the time now.  I don’t cook the same.  Life has changed.  Stuff needs to be reassessed.  Holding onto stuff from when all the kiddos were home and little doesn’t stop the progress of time.  Those days are gone.  It’s time to let go of the “cards” that are no longer serving a purpose in my hand and start building a new hand.

There are no excuses in gin.  There is no justification.  Deadwood goes or you lose.

There comes a time when you have to quit talking about what you want.

A time when you have to quit explaining why you can’t have or do what you want.

You have to do what is necessary to make space or time for what you want.

And you have to do it.

 

 

Kummerspeck

The sharing of words from my “new to me” thrift store book purchase continues…

Today, I am dealing with the aftereffects of kummerspeck (noun, German, excessive weight gained through eating as a means of relieving stress or strong emotion).

Today, I finally feel like I have beaten back the flu, the allergies, and the virus that mimics allergies…all basically resulting in congestion, coughing, and exhaustion.  I feel almost back to normal and can take a full breath without gasping for air.  Air is good.  Air in the lungs is even better.

Now, I can start back with my resolve to eat healthier and walk at least 10,000 steps daily.

Over a year ago, after my surgery, I went from weighing in the 230 range to 180 pounds. Since then I have slowly gained back a lot of the weight.

First, a skipped day of walking and then a junior hamburger.

Then some hot weather so a couple more skipped walks.

Then a half-price milkshake from Sonic.  (Note to self:  half-price does not mean half-calories)

Then a bad day (or two).

It all adds up to weighing 200 pounds again.

I am definitely a stress eater.  Almost any food is comfort food for me.

Thus, the word of the day:  kummerspeck.

I have too many health risks to live like this.

I have too many things that I want to accomplish to risk my life like this.

Healthier choices.

Smaller portions.

Food is fuel, not a reward.

The reward is feeling better.

It matters what I eat.

I matter.

 

 

 

Schwellenangst

0129171753I found a new to me book at the thrift store the other day. ( I was hunting for wedding decorations, not stuff for me!)  I was hesitant to purchase the book seeing as how I’m working at curtailing the amount of stuff entering and taking up residence in my home.

I decided that this book was a worthwhile purchase though.  It is full of wonderful words, most of which were unknown to me before.

I believe my life will be all the better for having found and read this book.

For example, I now have a word to describe my current journey to redefine, rethink, re-imagine and reflect during 2017…

   Schwellenangst (noun, German) Lit. “threshold anxiety”‘ fear of embarking on      something new or entering a place.

This word is perfect for summing up how I feel about embarking on this new phase of my journey…more ruthless de-cluttering,  contemplating the changes that may be necessary and anticipating what will be happening.   Challenges are good, but change is hard for me.

Nevertheless, I will be dealing with my schwellenangst and moving forward into my next reality.  All shall be well.

A word for my decision to leave Facebook for a bit…Aeolist (noun, English) a blustering windbag of a person who only pretends to have inspiration or wisdom.  These are the type of people I am choosing to avoid for a while.  Those folks who believe that if they cite enough sources, “facts” and isolated examples in loud enough voices with a sufficient amount of foul language and name calling, they will change someone’s mind and all shall be well.  Their opinion is, of course, the only correct one and everyone else is an ignorant, uneducated, trailer-dwelling moron who has no feelings or concern for anyone else.

I just don’t have enough sizfleisch (noun, German and English), literally “sitting flesh” or posterior; the ability to sit through, tolerate, or persist in something difficult or severely boring.  I’d like everyone to take a deep breath and reread the story of Chicken Little or maybe Aesop’s fable, The Boy Who Cried Wolf.

At this point in my life, I am more interested in developing querencia (noun, Spanish), a place from which one’s strength is drawn, where one feels at home; the place where you are your most authentic self.

So, here is tomorrow’s project – The Dining Room.  Keep in mind before viewing these photos that there is a wedding happening in two weeks and there is tons of stuff everywhere as a result.  There is also laundry and who knows what else!  I’m dealing with it tomorrow.

Deep breath and sigh.

All shall be well.

It’s going to be okay.

One thing at a time.

One day at a time.

Querencia.

Ugh.

Or maybe Yuck.

One word to describe the way I feel physically and emotionally.

I’m still tired and coughing.  It doesn’t help that the weather is changing every hour.

Hot enough to wear a t-shirt and shorts going barefoot one day.

Then a t-shirt, flannel shirt, sweater, jeans and socks the next.

Can’t the temperature be relatively the same for at least two days in a row.

Cedar and mold and dust…all at the same time!

We’re all carrying rolls of toilet paper around.  I’m too cheap to buy Kleenex.  I’m very into multi-purpose home supplies right now.

The studio has stayed clean.  I know it’s been less than twenty-four hours, but I’m going to cheer myself on with a win anyway.  I was able to find everything I needed for my art class today without rummaging through piles of stuff.  That felt good.

This second class that I’m teaching is older kiddos…junior high and high school.  I’m really enjoying it, but they are all super-talented.  A couple are more naturally talented than I am.  At least I have more experience than they do.  It’s going to be challenging to keep up with them!

Today on the home-front we sorted through wedding stuff and got a lot of it boxed up into some sort of order.  New lists and more lists – things we forgot and things we didn’t think of.  I think it’s going okay (except when I start panicking and lose it!).

The bridal shower is tomorrow and guess who forgot to get a gift.

Then we just have two more weeks until the big day!

I’ve made a decision to leave Facebook for a while.  I just can’t deal with the drama, the arguments, the name-calling and the total suspension of respect for differing opinions.

If you read my posts as they are shared on Facebook, you can continue to do so.  I will not be getting notifications of comments or “likes” however.  To stay in communication, you will need to log on to faithacrestudio.com and “follow” me here.

This was not an easy decision.   I’ve “unfriended” a lot of folks that just couldn’t let up with the continually negative posting. I kept thinking people could or would calm down and relax a little.  That maybe we could start sharing our daily lives again and keep in touch about the little stuff – the little stuff matters too.

We can’t live in a constant state of fear, panic and readiness to battle every anticipated tragedy.  I know this because I’ve been doing it since childhood and my body is worn out.  I’ve shared this before.  For my health and sanity, I just refuse to do it anymore.  I’m bowing out of the front lines.

When you wake up every morning looking for the next horrible thing that has happened, or more likely the next horrible tragedy that hasn’t happened yet, you miss out on the simple beauty of the everyday.  We see what we are looking for.  I am choosing to look for hope and joy.

I’ll still be here…sharing my stories and my moments.

Our stories and sharing are what is most important right now.

The goodness is still present.

There is still hope.

The steps we take in our daily lives will always have more of an impact on the world than any march.

Little things matter.

Our love matters.

Never stop believing that.

The Studio

This room does not reflect who I am…

Or maybe it does represent the “me of the moment”…

It might be more accurate to say that this room does not reflect who I want to be and who I am intentionally trying to become.

I am so frustrated (and angry) at my lack of sustainable progress towards living a simpler, clutter free life.

I claim to want to make more art and this is what my studio always looks like!

I am adding a fourth word to my new year “slogan”.

That word is “Redefine”.

I am going to rethink, reimagine, reflect on and then redefine my goals and the plan of action to get there.

I want to make more art.

What do I need to do to make that happen?

Today, I attacked the studio.

A box of stuff is going to the thrift store…crafting and art supplies that I have outgrown and that no longer fit my style.  Leftover bits and pieces that were saved because I might be able to use them for something.  Things given to me that “might be useful”.

We had a bonfire.  Boxes of old art, old journal pages, letters, art cards, miscellaneous papers, leftovers, notes and so much much.

Those papers represent the past.  Guilt, things undone, friendships that are no more, items that have lost their relevance to who I am becoming.

Towards the end of the clean-up, it became easier and harder.

Easier to let go of things…

Harder to deal with the emotions of the change.

I survived.

I suspect there is more that could go.

I believe their are a lot more possibilities now than there were this morning.

I am excited by that notion.

I am drained and weary and a little afraid.

This is now…

What Now?

No writing the last few days…just a lot of thinking and a bit of keeping my mouth shut and some reevaluating my life.

This flu bug just keeps hanging on.  No fever, not really sick, but not feeling well either.  Lots and lots of coughing that’s threatening to become bronchitis.  I’m sure some allergens are responsible also.  I’ve been trying to take it easy and just do the really important stuff, but mainly thinking….

Thinking about the other night when I went into my studio and realized that my work table was once again so cluttered that I couldn’t actually use it.

One of the things on it was an old visual journal from 7 or so years ago.  It’s part of a box that I packed away about a year ago because I couldn’t make a decision about what to do with them.  And then I brought the box back out because there was an empty shelf in my new studio. Sigh.

I started paging through it.  There wasn’t actually much in it as far as original art went. There were a lot of articles about creativity and quotes.  There were some collaged pages using images and words from magazines.

I decided it wasn’t great stuff.  I reread the creativity articles and decided that they weren’t all that important.  You can find millions of articles in that vein on the internet.  I started copying some of the better quotes into a new journal and then realized that these can also be accessed anywhere anytime I might suddenly need a quote.

Then I came across a page that featured the words, “I need a pause button”.  I wrote about that just the other day right here in this blog.

The next page dealt with the issue of clutter…

And the next, dealt with finding time for creativity in the midst of life.

I burst into tears.

This journal is over 7 years old.

I’m still stuck in the same spot.

Sure, I’ll grant that I’ve made some progress.  There have been steps forward and steps backwards.  That’s how life works.

But…I have not changed my life significantly.  I am essentially still working on the same issues.

Insanity, right?  Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results?

I took the journal and went to the center of my labyrinth that I am constructing in my yard (it’s technically just a couple of circular rock piles, but let’s not judge…work in progress) and set the damn thing on fire.

We could be generous and say it was a ceremonial gesture ritually symbolizing significant change and hope for the future.

Let me be brutally honest.  That’s not what happened.  I was just a pissed off and enormously frustrated woman destroying something that I had previously found significant.

In reality, that journal was just another one of the hundreds of things that are in the way of what I claim to want.

So, it turns out that this year’s motto…Re-thing, Re-imagine, and Reflect…are the correct words for change.

I haven’t come up with any grand solution or any new plan.

It’s just very clear that the old ways aren’t working well enough.  I don’t have time to piddle around with these changes.  I’m not going to live forever!

For now, I’m sticking with sorting through things.  Hopefully, more ruthlessly and with a clearer understanding of what needs to go.

This thinking can’t just apply to belongings.  In fact, “things” are the least of my worries. Old habits, relationships, emotional baggage, and choices all need to be brought under the microscope.

What is beneficial?

What brings joy?

What is worthy?

What brings me closer to the life I envision?

Ugh.

Reality checks can be brutal…

and painful…

and enormously helpful.

Thoughts from the Shower

It’s easy to believe in an absolute truth when standing in a crowd of those who believe the same thing.

When we are children we are taught in black and white, right and wrong, good and bad.

At some point we should grow up and start experiencing the potential truth of other values. In part, I am referring to value as it exists in art.  Value is the lightness or darkness of tone or color. There is a whole lotta gray out there between the black and white.

If you spend all of your time in the same place you’ve always been…the coffeehouse, the workplace, the congregation of fellow believers, your neighborhood, your comfort zone…you are not challenged.  Absolute truth is comfortable.

If you hear something over and over again, you’ll tend to start believing it.  That happens in our childhood when we learn basic values from our parents…our family…our people.

Then we start venturing out into the world.

By high school, we are usually full-on challenging our formerly held “truths” – the truth of our parents.

I don’t believe that means we are always thinking for ourselves.

It often means that we are just taking on the beliefs of the crowd we are in.

I’m not saying that it’s wrong.  As humans, we need others.  It’s nature.  It’s science.  It’s who we are.

There can be safety in that crowd, that herd, that gang of like-minded individuals. Comfort even.

But there is even greater danger.  Danger to those that are not in the “in crowd”.

In the next couple of days, if you look around you and find that you are in a crowd that believes in the same “truth” that you do…

Make sure that you have shone an intense light on the truth that you are espousing.  Have you thought it through?  Are your thoughts your own?  Are those thoughts comfortable?      Are you challenging and redefining that truth?  Do you feel the need to “defend” it? Are you comfortable and safe?

If you consider yourself a champion of the oppressed, the different, the marginalized, does your protection apply to all people who believe differently than you?  Does everyone matter?  Did you decide who was worthy of your efforts or was it a group decision that you threw your hat in with?

It’s not brave to stand in a crowd and defend your “truth” in the safety of numbers.  A majority of voices doesn’t define what is true or good or right.

Truth is not found in argument, in protest, in noise, in conflict, in chaos, in darkness.

Truth is when you are alone, in contemplation, in intelligent thought, in light…

Make your voice known.

Share your truth.

Make the world a better place.

Recognize that truth, as you understand it may differ from the belief of the person standing next to you.

Rejoice and be glad that you are able to stand next to and with someone that you do not agree with.

That is freedom.

That is these United States of America.