Today is a day to roam from one task to another in an effort to catch-up and maintain some semblance of order and peace in our life.

First, off to the grocery store to help shop for a home for handicapped kids and adults – one of my part-time jobs.  That makes every Wednesday a small payday of it’s own.  This year I’m making it a game to see how much of our grocery supply I can provide off of this small check.  We are eating through the freezer and pantry to see how far we can stretch without a major shopping trip.  Any money we save from this will go into our newly opened savings account!  We haven’t had a savings account in many, many years.  Now, we have one, albeit a small one.  I’m counting it as a major win in our effort to live more intentionally and be more fiscally responsible.

Next, a major push to catch-up on the homeschooling front.  We had a lot of fun during the holidays celebrating with family and friends. I’m sure we learned more than a thing or two, but…we didn’t actually do any of the “official” school stuff that I had written in the planner.  Now, we are trudging through.  As always, I’m not putting too much emphasis on the books and worksheets.  They can be useful, but are not the be-all and end-all of learning.

Finally, I’m going to work on clearing out the studio in preparation for a weekend renovation binge.  Friday is the big payday and I get to buy the paint and flooring to finish out the space.  I’ve decided on white paint for the walls, placid sea (blueish) for the cabinet, and citrus peel for the shelves.  The floor will be black and white linoleum squares.

Payday is always exciting around here, but this one will be especially welcome.  I can’t wait to have a new space to work in.  I have lots of projects in mind!

I am feeling extraordinarily creative at the moment.  Not sure what’s prompting it, but it is a welcome change.  Perhaps the increased meds are helping.  The cloud seems to be lifting.

Life is good!


Last night I couldn’t fall asleep.  I lay listening to the soft tick-tock of an old clock on top of the blanket chest.  And I wrote my first poem since my college days.  One of my majors was English with a Creative Writing emphasis.  I always struggled with poetry – prose was more my thing.

This poem just showed up in my head.  Unannounced, unplanned, unedited.  It was just there and I kind of like it.

Here goes:

The tick-tock of the clock

is the sound of old.

New time is silent,

Yet holds all the noise

of the world.

Why a poem now?  I don’t know.  Maybe it’s best to not question creative gifts.


This post might seem to be a little bit of a downer, but that’s okay because that’s where I am right now.  But don’t worry and don’t despair because I still believe that everything is getting better – or will be getting better.  I’m not feeling that totally optimistic thing just now.

My last writings found me discoursing on the new and improved 2016 plan – turn your can’t into can and your dreams into plans – henceforth we shall refer to this simply as “living the dream”.  A little cliché and flippant perhaps, but it’s hard to negotiate around the longer version every time it’s referenced.

“Living the dream” has a double meaning for me.  In fits of despair (and rage) I’ve been heard to call this phrase out in a sarcastic manner.  As in, standing in a grand pile of dirty laundry and dishes holding testament to dinners past and screaming out, “Yep, I’m living the dream now!”.

The truth is I feel as if I’m slowly shrinking and disappearing under the weight of mundane reality.  Literally becoming lost in the morass of responsibility and stuff that needs to be done.  I read blogs of folks who’ve pitched it all and are traveling the world.  I read blogs of people who are creating amazing bodies of work.  I read blogs of those who appear to have it all.  And I read blogs of others, like me, who are searching and holding onto the edge of the “pit” and trying to crawl out into a better life.

Please don’t misunderstand.  I have a good life.  I love my family.  I’m grateful for a home, food on the table, clothes to wear – abundance that most of the world will never know.  A good life.  I don’t take it for granted.  I appreciate how hard my husband works to support us.  I’m blessed.

And, after reading back over what I’ve written thus far, I’m tempted to delete it and start over.  But I won’t.  I don’t want to edit my life in that manner.  It’s possible for all of what I’ve written to be true – to be blessed and lost at the same time.  To have what you need and a lot of what you want and to still feel as if a great deal is missing.

And so, 2016 has begun.  It’s been a bit of a struggle thus far.  I’ve made the decision to increase my anti-anxiety meds.  That was a hard choice.  In my perfect world, I wouldn’t need any meds at all.  But, there it is.  I don’t live in perfect.

I’m committed to the journey though, so more meds it is.  I need a clear head and clear vision to maintain the dream.  Dreams are often contrary and illusionary things.  They tend to fade and float away out of reach if you don’t keep an eye on them.

The first project for the month of January has been decided and planned.  We are going to work on my studio.  It has moved and morphed and changed over the years, yet never felt “just right”.  I’ve spent a lot of time trying to have the studio that you are supposed to have.  This design was often based on what other folk’s studios looked like.  No more.  I’ve spent hours thinking about and imagining what I want “MY” studio to look like. Pictures and updates to follow as dreams turn into plans and plans turn into reality.

The studio was chosen as the first project because I want art to take a more prominent role in my life.  It’s a part of who I am and I often choose to move it to a back-burner and neglect it.  It’s not just me that suffers when this happens.  I’m not happy when I’m not making stuff.  I get angry and bitter and negative.  I believe that this project will set the tone for a more positive and creative year – for me and for my family.

So much is changing around here.  The kids are growing and grown.  They are in and out busily growing into their own lives.  The little one is still here, but not so little anymore.  The time feels right for growth in my own life as well.

Perhaps I’m not disappearing at all.  Maybe I’ve just been a bit dormant waiting for the right time to grow.



I never intended to let so much time go by between blog posts.  I had every intention of writing about our graduation road trip, our Christmas activities, humorous family anecdotes, exciting New Year’s plans and how the decluttering effort impacted all of it.

Nevertheless, almost a month has passed by and not a word has been typed here (until now).  That’s the thing about intentions.  They may be good intentions and there may even be a plan (of sorts) about how you are going to carry out said intentions, but…

Life has a way of slipping away – a day or two, a week, a month, and then, before you know it, things just didn’t get done, plans are neglected, and life is passing by – sometimes at a seemingly alarming rate.

And this is my segue into my topic for today:  2016’s theme, plan, dream and hope for the Barrow family.

Last year I chose “be the change” as my focus phrase for the year.  I had grown tired of my complacent and sometimes whiny attitude with regards to my life.  “Be the change” helped to remind me that it is my life and my choices made the difference in whether things got better, stayed the same or worsened.  It worked well.  We implemented a budget, became more intentional about our spending, and paid off some of our debt.  In general, we just became more aware of how we lived out life.  Simply phrased, we picked up a paddle and started steering the boat instead of drifting along in the current of life.

This year, we are taking it a step further.  The family has chosen a phrase together.  “Turn your can’t into can and your dreams into plans.”

We’ve identified some goals and hopes for the upcoming year and are continuing to add to the list.  But, it’s more than a list.  Every idea or goal has an action plan with it. Concrete, definite plans that can make it happen.

We are creating a “life” wall where we can post each action plan.  There the lists will stay as we add to and cross off each item.  In our face and unavoidable.

One of the foremost things on our list is home improvement.  Some major repairs need to be done including floor repair and exterior paint. Lots of cosmetic repairs are included as well.  We’ve talked about these projects off and on for a while, but that’s where it ended – talk.  There was always a reason we didn’t do it – time and money mostly.  Next payday, next weekend, when the bonus comes in, during the holiday break….  We’ve realized that the condition of our home directly impacts our life, our happiness, and contentment level.

We are working on a major plan where each room is assigned a month for the projects to be completed.  Every task, every supply, every detail is listed so that there is no question about what is needed to complete the job.

How are we going to pay for it (and continue to pay down our debt)?  That’s a very good question.  Honestly, there is a certain amount of faith and optimism attached to our plan.  Hopefully, the action plan will help keep us focused on the goal and we can live more intentionally and direct our money towards the projects.  Some hard choices will need to be made, I’m sure.  With the plans in place, the hope is that we can pre-purchase or source needed materials when a great deal comes along.  We’ll know what we need ahead of time.  There will definitely need to be some creativity and ingenuity involved.

The decluttering effort will also continue.  Right now, the house looks very lived in.  Very, very, very lived in. Details would just lower your opinion of my housekeeping abilities.  I definitely have a low opinion of my housekeeping skills right now.  I think that, overall, the decluttering I did before the holidays helped, but there is more to do.  Lots of life gets lived here.  I just need to figure out how to make the living easier!