the work continues

The sub-floor and laminate is down.

The inspector basset hound is testing it out.

Trim work and painting commences.

I know – we’re doing it out of order, but that’s the way things go around here sometimes.

The blind installation and closet build are all that’s left…except for moving very little back in.

I’m tired of stuff…really, really tired of dealing with it.

Almost done!

Changing Spaces

It is a season of change at our home

Middle daughter and her family moved into their newly purchased new home over the weekend.

Oldest daughter spent the weekend organizing her new hideaway now that we are no longer using it for storage.

And we are beginning repairs and renovations on the main house…our master bedroom to be specific.

Last night we moved everything out and into the family room recently vacated by middle daughter’s office and stuff.

I had a bit of a meltdown at moving everything and lamenting that all I seem to do is move, rearrange and deal with “things” no matter how hard I’ve tried to declutter and simplify. During the renovation process, I’ll continue to ponder and work on what we have and what we need and what to do about it all…

We’ve live in this manufactured home for over 15 years while raising a family and a lot of life has happened here. It shows. New sub-floor, flooring, wall repair, paint, trim are all in the plan (plus whatever new shows up during the process).

Out with the old.

In with the new.

Here’s to sawdust and paint drips and all things new.

the view from here

Monday morning.

The start of a new week – ready to go after a restful weekend!

This is what my Monday looks like…

Not pictured are the soon to arrive 2 year old, the home-school planning I forgot to do for this week, the hungry chickens calling to me, or the myriad of unfinished (and not yet started) projects all around me.

It feels like total chaos.

There was a time when I would have been paralyzed with anxiety over the whole situation.

I’m still not happy about it.

But, I have been working on approaching the whole mess without judgement.

This is the reality of what it is.

I am responsible for it, but the mess is not who I am.

I need to get it cleaned up and dealt with it.

I am not a failure or worthless or incompetent or…

Those labels still bounce around in my head, but I am working on quieting them.

And I am making progress.

There is a lot going on in life right now and I’ll never get it all done.

Life is not a list to be completed.

I’ll put a load of laundry in.

I’ll pick up the trash that my Basset Hound dragged out again. I’ll also pause and rub her belly because she is who she is and going through trash is what she does. If the trash had been taken out, she wouldn’t have waited until I went to sleep to climb up on top of the counter to get to it. Mental note: take out the damn trash before I go to bed.

While my daughter puts up the clean dishes, I’ll schedule her school assignments.

Then I’ll load the dishwasher up again while being grateful that we have food and my husband is essential and employed.

Hopefully, before the kiddo gets here.

When he gets here, we’ll do our morning snuggles and breakfast…because the mess will wait.

We’ll go feed the bok-boks together and check out what’s growing in the new garden beds “we” built. We’ll come in and change his clothes because he is two and it rained recently.

We’ll throw his dirty clothes into the next wash load and he’ll “help” fold laundry.

I’ll do the best that I can and work through it…

while remembering that everyone is worthy of grace and love and kindness…myself included.

I don’t yet know what tomorrow will look like.

I am hopeful that the mess will be lessened somewhat, but I’m sure that there will still be something left to do.

good news

I wrote a post yesterday sharing “ten things about me”.

I have three things to share today: good news, a correction, and and a confirmation.

They are all wrapped up in one tiny bit of information…

My wonderful husband informed me last night that I will not be turning 60 on my birthday this week. I will be 59 and that proves that I am absolutely not good at math.

In any case, I am celebrating that I will be gaining another whole year of life due to my husband’s attention to detail (and practiced skill of keeping me on track).

Please do not feel the need to point out that I’ve not actually “gained” any time at all and that this is a wholly illogical point of view.

I’m at peace with my delusion.

Life is good.

Blessings on your Sunday!

10 things about me

Here are ten things you may or may not know about me…

  1. I am 59 years old and will be turning 60 later this month. I am a work in process and haven’t figured out much about how life works. I have gotten better about faking it though. I’m starting to worry that everybody is faking it and we should all be more honest about it.
  2. I have been married for 37 years (yesterday) to a very patient and understanding guy. Most days we are pretty happy. Some days, not so much. Overall, I consider getting married one of my best grown-up decisions. Our secret to a long marriage was deciding early on that that whoever left, took the kids. It’s kept us together so far.
  3. I have 4 kiddos ranging in age from 30 to 17 and one grandson who it 2 years old. He is going to become a big brother in a couple of months so I’ll soon be a “Nana” to two little boys.
  4. I am a mixed media artist who spent years becoming comfortable with saying “I am an artist” and am now trying to figure out what that means I am supposed to do. I’m working on just making stuff because it’s who I am and letting go of expectations.
  5. I raise earthworms. They live in a bin under my desk. Their favorite food is watermelon, but I’m just guessing because they are pretty quiet and don’t talk to me at all. They seem happy when I give them watermelon though. I don’t really know what an unhappy earthworm looks like so I’m really just making a lot of this up as I go.
  6. I studied Creative Writing and Fine Art at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. I have two Bachelor’s degrees and am 3 hours short of a third in history. I would have happily stayed in college forever. I was a natural student and can fake my way through almost any test or paper…except for math. I’m an idiot when it comes to math.
  7. I moved a lot when I was growing up. I’ve lived in Ohio, Alaska, Florida, Louisiana and every major city in Texas…also quite a few minor ones. I have no idea why we moved so much. My parents’ never chose to share that bit of wisdom with me. I’m sure I’ll forgive them some day. They had their own growing up to do and mistakes to make.
  8. As as result of moving so much as a kid, I’m not the most social creature on the planet. I can fake being an extrovert and have no trouble speaking in front of a group of people…familiar or strangers. One on one, I struggle and often have to “hibernate” to recover after a social event.
  9. I was working towards a calling as an ordained minister at one point in my life and have not been active in a church since that didn’t work out. I have some trouble with calling myself a “Christian” and prefer to consider myself a follower of Jesus. I’m quite spiritual, but don’t talk about it too much and am leery of organized religion.
  10. I have a lot of opinions…some of the quite strong, but overall consider myself to be pretty middle-of-the-road with slight deviations to the right and left depending on the topic. I try to think things through and examine both sides of an issue before making a decision and at this point in my life understand that very few things are clearly black and white…you have to wade through a lot of gray to figure out the truth. It is rare that I will ever embrace confrontation to make a point, but when it does happen it will involve a situation that affects me or my family personally.

I’m going to throw in one more – why I write this blog…

Honest answer; I’m not always sure.

I enjoy the process of stringing words together in an understandable and cohesive manner. It’s like a puzzle to find the right thoughts and words and assemble them to communicate with someone else. I enjoy it.

And sometimes, ideas write themselves in my head and I feel the need to type them out and share them. Every once in a while, someone responds back in a positive way and am glad that I took the time to share. More often, nobody seems to notice, but that’s okay. We don’t always get to know what we’ve accomplished or whether our life has deep meaning. Answering a spiritual calling or sharing what we are good at is the purpose of why we are here.

Affirmation is nice but never promised.

Nobody ever claimed we would get all the answers.

We find our own happiness within ourselves…and by sharing what we have with others.

Blessings on your day!

little things

My anxiety continues.

My usual coping mechanisms aren’t helping much.

…but over the weekend an email shows up.

A blogger that I follow posted a song.

I don’t know why she posted it. Maybe she just needed to hear it.

I didn’t know that I needed to hear it, but I’ve been listening to it any time I felt that I was “done with it all”.

It’s been like a little “pause” button for me…a little breathing space in the midst of it all…a centering moment reminding me that I’m not doing it all alone.

And it’s helped me to refocus on those around me instead of dwelling on my circumstances.

Maybe I can do a little something for someone around me.

God knows, there is certainly enough stress and anxiety swirling around..

We need to share little reminders that we aren’t alone.

A Step Back

Despite the seemingly optimistic and contemplative tone of yesterday’s post, I have to honestly let you know that the day was a complete stress-filled disaster.

The post itself took hours (off and on) to write and was a real struggle. I knew what I wanted to say, but the words were elusive and difficult to arrange in any sense of order. I’m still not sure that I got it right, but it is what it is and I (hopefully) got the point across. Or maybe not, and that’s okay.

Anxiety and depression are lifelong companions and sometimes we spend more time together that I’d like. I feel like today was the worst day I’ve had in months and months and that is something to be grateful for.

Yesterday, I woke up slightly anxious and ready to get everything in my life in order.

That would be a difficult accomplishment for just about anyone under any circumstances, but in my life right now, it’s an impossibility.

We started a kitchen redo in early spring. We are still waiting on one of the cabinets we ordered to come in. Said cabinet has arrived twice thus far. Once with doors instead of drawers and once assembled incorrectly so that when installed, you couldn’t actually open the bottom drawer. I’ve been patient(ish) because I understand that the world is operating under extenuating circumstances. Nevertheless, much of my kitchen stuff is stacked on counter-tops and in boxes as we wait.

I’ve got one daughter partially moved out into her new cottage on our property.

I’ve got another daughter working at our house and storing some of her family’s belongings her while waiting for their new house to be completed. She has her kitchen cabinets.

My son is moving back in temporarily.

There is stuff everywhere stored in front of other stuff on top of even more stuff.

We’re putting in new flooring as soon as the kitchen is done. Flooring for the whole house is stacked under all the other stuff.

Oh yea, we still need to tile and paint the kitchen as soon as…the cabinet gets installed. The tile and paint are under everything else…somewhere.

I’ve been handling it all just fine until today, when it started feeling like some nightmarish Jenga game threatening to come down on top of me.

As the day progressed I got more and more anxious and functioned less and less.

Like the world around me appears to be doing, I just kept speeding up trying to catch up. The faster I went, the less I accomplished.

The less I accomplished, the more frustrated I got.

The more frustrated I got, the faster I tried to go.

No wonder I was having so much trouble writing yesterday’s post and struggling so hard to calm down and deal with my anxiety.

My actions were a complete contradiction of the message I was trying to convey.

If I had stopped or even slowed down enough to breathe and center myself, I would have been able to recognize the ridiculousness of the whole situation.

Maybe I could have even laughed at myself or cried some tears of release and saved myself…

I could have intentionally hit the pause button…maybe just realized that it was a good day to stop and not try so hard.

Old habits are difficult to break and easy to fall back on. Old patterns give a false sense of comfort. They don’t require as much effort or intention.

The pattern I got stuck in yesterday is a familiar one.

It’s like hopping on a carnival ride.

There’s excitement at first about how fast you are going (how much energy and motivation you have to get things accomplished).

But then you start to get tired of the ups and downs and you start feeling nauseous from the constant acceleration.

Then, you realize you have given up control over the ride. You can’t stop it or get off of it. It’s taken on a life of its own – a perpetual motion machine.

You start wondering if you could just jump off, but there’s the worry about the landing…

How I wish that I had taken a step back yesterday morning – and not gotten on the ride.

Yesterday’s story is written.

Today there is grace and a new beginning.

Peace.

Blessings on your efforts today.

Essential Time

Earlier this year, I found myself with quite a lot of “free” time.

My family was busy doing “essential” work out in the world.

And I suddenly wasn’t doing much of anything. It was interesting and thought provoking to find that I wasn’t technically “essential”.

Distractions from the outside world slowed as the world hit the pause button.

There was no “going” or “doing” just to go or do. Errands had more purpose and were completed without dilly-dallying.

I’m not a social butterfly in the best of times, and now there was no social at all.

I started to realize how much of my time was spent in the coming and going and doing that made up my life and my days.

When it just stopped, I had time to reflect on how unintentional it all was.

I had been trying to live a more intentional life and never actually paused to examine how busy I was …trying to not be so busy.

It was reminiscent of a successful de-cluttering day when I got done and saw that all the storage bins and containers I had purchased to manage the stuff were actually a good portion of the stuff.

Trying so hard to be intentional was taking a lot of time and effort.

I gathered all those books that had been waiting on the shelf and began flipping through them: self-help, devotional, journaling, art inspiration…

I started journaling again using pens, paint, glue, magazine images and all the other supplies that had been patiently waiting for me to find time. Suddenly time had found me.

I realized that journaling makes me feel really happy and it brings me a feeling of peace like nothing else can.

I love the feeling of a scribbled and crumpled notebook under my hand…

the sensation of words flowing from my head onto the paper page…

the bulk of a journal filled to capacity with stapled in articles and taped-in images being placed on a shelf alongside a sketch book holding pages covered in collage and paint.

the gathering of thoughts, ideas, inspiration and snippets of things that are interesting and important to me.

I love the intentionality of it all.

Somehow, as the world speeds back up again, I need to remember this time and hold onto it.

I am grateful for it.