Live in the needs of the day.

Sounds like I had a bad day on Monday and yesterday was, indeed better.  I decided to bless myself and take a little break.  I did some necessary housework…the kind that ensures that my house won’t be condemned if someone official should stop by.  Then I played with some art supplies and watched a movie from the SyFy channel:  “Swamp Shark”.  Yeah, I actually did get a degree in English, but I’m secretly addicted to cheesy end-of-the-world and/or disaster movies. Well, I guess it was a secret (oops).  Guess I’m getting a little more comfortable with this blogging thing.

Anyway, as I was getting ready to enter a period of deep reflection and meditation (nap-time), my gaze stopped on this piece of art hanging on my wall.  It’s one of the few pieces I’ve made that I really, really like.  I don’t remember exactly when I made it, but it was inspired by something I read in Frederick Buechner’s , The Alphabet of Grace.  The passage is fairly lengthy, but here’s part of it.

“It is the first day because it has never been before and the last day because it will never be again.  Be alive if you can all through this day today of your life.  What’s to be done?  What’s to be done?

Follow your feet.  Put on the coffee.  Start the orange juice, the bacon, the toast.  The go wake up your children and your wife.  Think about the work of your hand…Live in the needs of the day.”

I remember that when I read it the first time, I was “going through a period of growth”.  I was contemplating entering the ministry and going to graduate school.  Life seemed overwhelming.  Could I do this new thing?  Could I balance my family life with new responsibilities?  Was I making decisions that were right for me and my family?  What would  the impact of all of this be like?  That passage helped me find something concrete to center on.    Focus on the realities of life first.  Do what needs to be done.  The air around me was full of possibilities and maybes.  The ground around me was full of loved ones and tasks.

The sections of the circle represent the different parts of my life.  No matter how many segments there are, it is still one life, my life.  The heart will always be at the center.  Love must remain my focus – whether I am working at a job for income or doing laundry.  Without the proper balance the circle won’t hold together and the heart will fall out.  If I’m not doing it out of love, what is the point?  Where is the joy and purpose?

It was a good day yesterday…a piece of art reminded me that I had lost focus again.  Once again, in the midst of a great deal of change in my life (good and bad),  I need to live in the needs of the day.

“Live in the Needs of the Day” Mixed media on canvas: Acrylics, cardboard, reclaimed packaging materials, stuff from the recycling bin, and fabric.

Running, but it feels like I’m standing still!

Today was supposed to be a stay-at-home and catch-up day, but the best laid plans…  Had trouble falling asleep last night and  then overslept.  Thankfully my husband played taxi and took our son to work.  I managed to start a load of laundry and do something about the top layer of dust in our bedroom before getting a call from my sister.  She can’t drive right now do to some medical issues and had a last minute doctor appointment to head out to. I don’t mind helping her out as we always have some fun and she’s certainly done plenty to help me and my family out.  However, we live just north of somewhere and are 45 minutes from anywhere, so trips take at least several hours when you factor in driving time, doctor’s office wait time, and just one quick errand.

I have a new collaboration/commissioned art piece that I want to start working on, but it’s hard for me to justify working on it when the house feels way too lived in.  Counters are cluttered, dishes are stacked-up and laundry is creeping out of the laundry room into the hallway.  My family never complains.  If asked, they would say “go make art”.  I’m the one too distracted to start the process.

Beginning a new art project is challenging to say the least.  This piece will hang in a church where my former pastor and friend is the community minister.  I’m going to try and create a canvas that depicts the programs they are developing.  I have an image in my head that I’d like to “make real”. I’ve been sketching and playing with images and words and collecting a pile of possible stuff that might be involved.

If I follow my usual routine, I’ll work on it until I’m about half-way through, declare it to be a piece of crap, and then depending on how truly bad I think it is, I’ll either tear it up or deface it in some way.  After I’ve calmed down (a couple of hours or days or…)I’ll start back in and incorporate the damage into the finished piece.  Hopefully, by the end I’ll like it or at least tolerate it.  It won’t look anything like I’d planned, of course.  Never really shared this bit of info with anyone.  Not sure why I’m putting it out in the world now.

Running because I feel overwhelmed by what I need to be doing and get done.  Standing still because I don’t even know where to start.  I just feel like I’m spinning in place.

Tomorrow will be a better day.


What I believe…

To continue with the “rabbit trail” post from yesterday; I have given some thought(s) to what this blog might be about.  Still no definitive answers, but here we go with a bit of wandering.

I usually avoid confrontation if at all possible.  I’m just not into drama for the sake of being dramatic   (Actor friends, you know I’m not talking about you, right?).  There are certainly some things worth being emotional about: The world is an imperfect place full of imperfect people.  Against my usual inclination, today I became involved in an online thread about homosexuality.  I’m all for spirited discussions, but this particular thread turned into an argumentative, personal attack.  I have friends who are gay, and friends who are not, and conservative friends who believe it’s a sin, liberal friends who don’t.  They are all my friends.  For the most part, I would prefer not to know anyone’s sexual orientation…just not that interested in what’s going on in that respect.  It is a big issue for folks and I’m not altogether sure why.  There are a lot of problems in this world of ours – things we can all agree need to be solved:  homelessness, hunger, loneliness, and the list goes on.   If it is a sin, (and I personally don’t believe it is) then it’s not my business.   We all make our own choices based on our beliefs, needs, and understanding of the Bible.    I’ve read the Bible and don’t personally believe there is a definitive answer to be found there. Who’s right and who’s wrong?  What if we spent more time in conversation with God and worked at becoming the person God envisioned and created us to be?  What if we came to understand that the one yelling the loudest and longest wasn’t necessarily right.  If everyone walks away angry and hurt than no one “won”.  Simplistic to be sure, but I’m a fan of simplicity.

I guess my point with this post is:

1.  I believe in a world where folks can get along despite their differences.

2.  I don’t want to hide who I am because that would be dishonest and just not very interesting.  I will always try to be respectful in expressing my opinions.

3.  I am a follower of Christ although somewhat disillusioned with organized religion.

3.  I definitely don’t want to be insulated from the world and only involve myself with people who think the way I think, do the stuff I do, and believe what I believe.

4.  It is a big and glorious world full of beliefs, opinions, creativity, and different types of people. I believe we can learn from each other and make the world a better place.

5.  I don’t want to force my opinion on anyone or create conflict.  I am just not interested in anger dwelling here.

To sum it all up, I’m finding my way as a blogger and a human-being.  It’s a long road and blogging is a new trip for me.  I’m in it for the journey and not the destination!

Wandering along rabbit trails

I spent some time yesterday wandering through blogs. It was probably quite a long time, but I couldn’t really tell you how long, because no one should carry a watch while wandering.

It was useful and interesting to see how blogs are categorized and organized in tidy little categories:  culture, family, food, crafts, business, etc……..

As is the case in “the real world” I met some people I was interested in and others…not so much. My thoughts then started down a few rabbit trails of their own.

First, that I want everyone to like me.  I know that’s not realistic and you might recommend therapy – been there, done that.

Next, there are some blogs out there that I have absolutely no interest in whatsoever.  The folks who are writing them may well be the greatest, smartest, darn-near-perfect human beings on the planet and we might in reality end up the best of friends if we met in real life, but…the stuff they are writing about just doesn’t do it for me.

And finally, it might be useful to explore what my “category” might be.  I’ve never been good at making goals, or lists, or plans of any kind really.  I’m pretty sure I’m a natural born wanderer by nature.  I don’t know that I’ve ever spent much time “defining” who I am in a concrete way…putting it into words.

I’m going to have to give this some thought, but first there’s a houseful of hungry folks waiting for breakfast.

Until next time….peace.

Learning how to tell my own story.

I didn’t plan on posting again so soon, but I was running some errands today and this story started coming together in my head.  So…a couple of years ago I became somewhat obsessed with the idea of minimalism.  I researched the concept, perused endless blogs about simplifying, and wondered at folks who got rid of everything and traveled around the world with all their worldly belongings in a couple of backpacks.   Please don’t misunderstand – I think it all sounds amazing and I admire them for doing so.  I was even envious for a bit.

My own life, in contrast, seems incredibly mundane.   I’d like to be living in a cute little vintage cottage with an English style garden, dressing like an artist in organic cotton and linen.  Oh, and the house would always be clean and tidy because there would be no clutter whatsoever!   In reality, I’m a stay-at-home mom, married 30-something years to the guy I met in college, and living in a manufactured home in a working class neighborhood.  Said home is very “lived-in” because there are a bunch of us living in it.

But, back to paragraph one…I spent a considerable amount of time and energy de-cluttering and organizing our belongings.  There might of even been a bit of nagging and grumbling about other peoples’ stuff interfering with my vision.  I wondered about the possibility of moving into a R.V. and traveling the United States living life with carefree abandon.

The reality is…that story belongs to someone else.  I had a somewhat insecure childhood.  We moved every year of my life until high school – sometimes more frequently.  I was always the new kid in class.  As a result, I’m a homebody, a nester.  And I’m learning to be comfortable with that.  All those travelers need a place to come home to at some point.  There is lots of stuff in my nest because I need to be ready to welcome whoever shows up.

That may be what this blog is about…writing out my own story for you…and for me.

…a new day

The perfectionist in me was inclined to give up on this blog.  A quick glance will show that my blogging career consists of one initial post and then…nothing.  It would seem that I birthed a bevy of optimists who have encouraged (badgered) me into giving this another try.

It has been a challenging and bewildering year.  We have experienced financial upheaval and have had to re-evaluate our idea of security.  For several years, I was striving to “live more simply” without a clear idea of what that meant.  This year, I have redefined my goal and am attempting to “live with more intention”.  When there isn’t enough of what you need, it is essential to only purchase, consume, and experience what is absolutely necessary.  You have to think carefully about what is needed.  Overall, this transition is not a bad thing…but certainly not easy.

I’m still not sure that I have anything to say that anyone needs or wants to hear, but I do know that community is important…….especially when all you want to do is climb into bed and pull the covers over your head!