On the Road

Just a very quick post as we head out for a road trip to San Antonio

My daughter’s husband is on mandatory overtime at work (Amazon) this week and she is in her last weeks of pregnancy so…

Oldest daughter, youngest daughter and I are going to their place to visit this week (just in case). We’ll try to be helpful, (but not too helpful) and keep her company.  I never made it this far in any of my pregnancies, but I think it will be good to be there.

Work around the house will be on hold until I get back, but I’ll have time to journal and work on school planning.

Such exciting changes going on in our family!

My anxiety level is racing up and I am doing my best to deal with it.  The physical symptoms are rearing their ugly heads which was my first clue.  I’m pretty good at being unaware and denying the existence of flares until it’s too late.  My family is good about gently pointing out that I’m in trouble so that I can start coping.

All shall be well.

Breathe.

Change happens whether we like it or not.

It’s my choice whether to embrace it with joy and grace or be miserable.

I can’t wish my anxiety away but I can make peace with it.

I am choosing grace and peace and joy.

Until my return…

Peace.

 

Seek & Find

Journal page 24:

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If I was to title this, I think I would go with “seeds” or “new growth”.  It is a watercolor background and when it was dry I just traced some of the lines with black marker.

Once done, I saw seeds sprouting and growing up towards the sun.  It may be just what I was thinking at the time…nobody else may see it.

That’s the great thing about unfettered art journaling.  Sometimes it clarifies what is going on in our head or our lives.

I actually went into the spare room yesterday evening and with help managed to almost clear it out.  It took frequent breaks as the decisions were stressful.

There was saved lumber that had so many possibilities…too many.  It is gone except for the plywood scraps that can be used for cut-ins on the new floor.  Shelving, doors, scrap trim, and what-not are out of here.

Also gone are several pieces of furniture that were waiting to be fixed-up.  We don’t need anymore furniture.  At this stage in our lives, we need less.

Three bags of trash are filling the trash can.

One box was taken to recycling.

Two boxes are ready to go to the thrift store.

A box of photos and frames are waiting to be considered.

Evidence of an unwelcome resident of the rodent variety has been uncovered.  Ah, the joys of living in the country during the dry season. Steps have been taken to ensure that he knows he is not welcome if he chooses to return, but I suspect he has already moved on.

All that remains is a stove and a microwave that I will be posting to give away.  They were acquired when we had plans to make a small “apartment” in case my sister needed to move in with us.  She has made it clear that she has no interest in doing that and I am making peace with her decision.

The room is now ready to make-over into a usable and peaceful space for my daughter.

Oh yea…you may notice that I am typing in both upper and lower case letters today.  In the back corner of the otherwise empty closet in that room we cleared out, I found a brand new computer keyboard…still in the box.   Nobody remembers purchasing it or sticking it in there. It has replaced the one that I messed up yesterday during my ill-fated cleaning spree.

It’s true that when you get rid of what you don’t need, you get what you are seeking!

Peace.

if you notice dust…

kunj-parekh-392037-unsplashI don’t normally offer advice here since I feel that I am a barely functioning adult on my best days, but this is an exception.

if you buy a new LED desk lamp because you are having trouble seeing things on your desk and

if you manage to plug in said lamp because your daughter has super-organized all the cords at your desk and you can’t figure out which cord goes to the old desk lamp that you are replacing and

if you turn on the new lamp and it shines brightly on the extreme amount of dust built up on the computer keyboard because you couldn’t see all of it  in the dim light of the old lamp ( or maybe, honestly, I just managed to ignore it) and

if you try cleaning it with a paintbrush and

if big “stuff” starts falling out and

if you start wondering what all is underneath the keys…

do not under any circumstances attempt to visually inspect the keyboard any further because you will…

then pry up one of the keys and gasp and

then you will go get q-tips and

then you will spend an insane amount of time trying to clean the keyboard and

then you will be unable to properly put the space bar back on and

then your daughter will have to try to fix it and

then she will sigh loudly and start researching nursing homes again.

I’d advise either working in the dark, continuing to ignore the dust, or buying a new keyboard.

And now I am off to clean out the extra room so it can become purposeful and beautiful again.  Wish me luck…

and by the way, now the right shift key doesn’t work.  crap…

Peace.

Anything is Possible

Journal page 22:

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This morning I paid bills.

Then I worked on my art class lesson plans for a bit.

Then I finished cleaning up my studio.

Then I opened the door and walked into the room that I need to empty this week.

Then I turned around and walked out, closing the door behind me.

Not right now and maybe not even today.

I think that I have a “decision limit” in my brain and it has been reached.

Maybe there is a certain amount of time needed to reset that function.

Anyway, some stuff is done including a journal page.

And laundry.  Always laundry.

Here is my studio desk right after cleaning:

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And after working at it for a bit:

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I’m not a tidy artist.

I found this book yesterday when out with my sister and it looks like it could be a positive thing…

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And just completed (maybe) journal page 23:

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I’ve started going back and doodling details on previous pages so anything is possible on them in the future.  I like the sound of that…anything is possible.

Let’s carry that on through the rest of the day…

Peace.

And so, I said yes

Journal page 21:

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I got a phone call last week asking if I would be interested in teaching two art classes at the private school I taught at last year.

I was hesitant.

Last year was a real struggle at times for many reasons:  some of them were “me” issues and some were issues with the school situation.

I was distracted by things happening at home and was not always as prepared as I would like to have been.  I was teaching Kinder through 2nd grades in the common lunch room area and there were continual distractions as people wandered through.  I’m not totally displeased with the school year overall, but really feel that I could have done better.

This year they asked if I could teach Kinder through 2nd and 3rd through 5th.  I’d be in a small classroom and that is a much more pleasant situation.

I was still hesitant.

It is a large time commitment and I am trying to spend more time making art.

I’m getting ready to be a grandmother.

I’m homeschooling a high-schooler this year.

And so on…

I said yes…

for three reasons.

  1. Without a doubt, the money I’ll make would be helpful as I continue to try and pay down our debt (and for art supplies which are expensive).
  2. I feel that it is important to expose children to art and I am distraught that art is considered to be an “elective” instead of a required subject, or not necessary at all!
  3. I love watching children as they create and discover what they are capable of.  In the early years children (for the most part) believe they are artists and that all things are possible.  Their freedom of expression and interest in play are inspiring.

So, I said yes.

Almost immediately, the anxiety set in.

Will I be able to manage everything?  Did I make a mistake?  Will I do a good job?

My anxiety has been very manageable lately.  I am making progress on the house.  My mood has been mostly stable.  I am back in the studio.

I’m worried that this will upset the balance I’ve been working to maintain.

This is definitely a step outside of the comfort zone I’ve been dwelling in.

Early in the summer, I had drafted a rough schedule of lessons I would do if I was asked to teach again.  I hadn’t anticipated two classes and older students.

Now, I need to get to work and finalize the projects and draw up a supply list.  School starts on the tenth of August.  I want to be better prepared this year.  It will definitely lessen the stress.

I also need to consider the loss of a day at home while planning our homeschool year.  Youngest daughter is taking three classes outside the home this coming year:  American Sign Language, Theater Production, and Spanish 2.  I’ll be covering the rest of the subjects here at home.  Her outside classes are on Wednesday and I’ll be teaching on Friday.  That leaves three days at home to do the rest.  It’s not too early to start planning that out.

All shall be well.

Last week’s Kon-Mari de-clutter of clothes resulted in a box ready for the thrift store.

We are getting ready to put new flooring in the third bedroom that has been sitting empty for over a year waiting on the money to repair it.  It was damaged by a water leak under the house.  One wall also has damage from a water leak in the adjoining bathroom.  Once completed, oldest daughter will move in there from the second living area that she has been occupying along with my studio.  That will give us space to spread out a bit more and accommodate the activities of our busy family.

Unfortunately, that empty room is not really empty.  It has become a catch-all for all kinds of junk.  That’s the declutter project for the rest of the week.

Along with the art journal, several art projects are in process:

 

It’s been busy so far this week and now will be even more so.

Lots of planning and de-cluttering and creating…

All good things.

Yes, all shall be well.

Peace.

Balancing Act

Journal page #20…

0708181922Not a lot of journaling happening lately…

Last week ended with a two-day trip to San Antonio to visit my future grandson and his Mom and Dad.  I forgot my journal although I remembered to bring my supplies.  (Sigh)

Then I got busy working on a larger project (which I finished late last night).  It was inspired by one of my journal pages.

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Houses without Windows

I have an idea for another project that relates to it.  Hopefully, I can start on it this afternoon.

But first, I need to get some other things done.

You know, mundane things like laundry and dog hair patrol.  Necessary tasks but not nearly as interesting as paint and glue and paper…

I could have become overwhelmed by the to-do list buzzing in my head, but I stopped before that happened.

I took a deep breath.

And made a list of all the things that I thought needed to be done by me today.

And then I edited it.

I left the things that had to be done today and started a list for tomorrow (or the next day).

I drew a line through “save the world” and settled on “write a note to a friend having a difficult time”.

I added “journal page or two”.

I wrote “studio time” with the knowledge that I may get started on my new idea or I may spend some time sorting and tidying.

Dishes, laundry and dinner are still on the list.

At the bottom of the list I wrote “balance”.

Then I wrote it at the top also.

I can’t do it all, but I’ve got a degree in English so I can write and edit and make a list that helps me define what is possible and necessary and helpful.

And not overwhelming.

It’s been a long time since I dedicated myself to making time for art-making in my life.  To really commit to the process as a priority.  I’ve sporadically done a bit here and there, but not made it a daily thing.

It’s going to require a great deal of effort to balance consistent art making with the rest of my life.   To effectively integrate it with my other responsibilities and not overwhelm myself.

Making art is an important part of who I am.  It makes me happy (not all the time happy because art is a sometimes frustrating, time consuming and always messy undertaking).  I have some talent, but a definite calling.  At the risk of sounding cliche – art completes me.

I can’t journey towards an intentional life if I don’t include art-making in it.

But, I have other responsibilities also:  Wife, Mom, Sister, Homemaker,  Teacher and on and on…

Adding artist to the mix on a daily basis is doable (I hope).

A balancing act…but a worthwhile one…

Peace.

 

 

 

 

comfort zone

The quote above was chosen because I actually remember learning about Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in my college psychology class.

Well, and I like the quote also, of course.

What I remember about the hierarchy (and I went and researched it just to make sure I got it right) is that basic needs have to be met in order to move up the scale which is normally depicted as a pyramid.  We need to have health, shelter and food.  Then we move on to personal relationships and self-esteem.  At the top of the pyramid is self-actualization.

This is an extremely simplified version of his theory.  I’m not a psychologist although I do remember making an “A” in the course.  But that was a very long time ago and I made good grades in several courses without actually learning very much or purchasing the textbooks for that matter.  I was one of those obnoxious people that just did well in school.  I would have stayed there forever…it was definitely my comfort zone.

Which leads me to the musings of this post…

Today’s journal page:

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A quick drawing of a face and let me tell you that it has been years since I’ve attempted that.  Life drawing was one of my favorite classes in college.  And then once I graduated, I never really drew the human form or face again.  In fact, I quit doing art of any kind once I became a “grown-up”.

I started up again about fifteen years ago, but still didn’t draw people.  I don’t know why.

I also don’t know why I have chosen to draw this one today and then post it to share with the world (or at least anyone who stops by this blog today).

I’m just tired of being afraid of something that used to bring me such joy.

I’m tired of worrying about trying something and failing at it…

or even more so…

of trying something and not failing and then having to face the next challenge.

The drawing isn’t great, but maybe the true success was doing it and posting it and finding out that I could survive just one tiny step out of my comfort zone.

Peace.

 

My Voice

Journal page 17…

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A quiet weekend.

Today begins a new week.

I have an idea for a biggish canvas that I want to work on, but first I need to clear space in my studio.

I have been sorting through the stuff that is in there – trying to be aware of what actually contributes to art-making and what is there to simply make me feel like I am an artist.  This process is a lot harder than one might think.  I still struggle with saying that I am an artist.  I used to just say that I made stuff.  So, I’m making progress in that respect.

Anyhow, getting rid of stuff that I don’t need is a good thing.  It makes room for what I really need, and clarifies and simplifies the process of making art for me.  A studio that is functional is better than a room that looks like a studio in a magazine spread…not that I actually achieved that look, but I kept trying.

Still, parting with stuff that I might need for a future, hypothetical project is difficult.

And that difficulty applies to all areas of my home, not just the studio.

So, today we are redoing the Konmari method for the whole house.

Not the whole house today, of course.

Today is clothing.

I don’t anticipate that there will be a lot to get rid of, but who knows…

Until tomorrow –

Peace.