A Glass of Tea

Hello.

No luck falling asleep last night.

This morning started out with a sense of being behind and unable to catch up.  As a result, I know that my perceptions of my life are skewed and everything seems worse than it is or even than it was yesterday.

Being tired and anxious and tipping into depression have a way of putting a negative filter on the way I see things:

The budgeting problems couldn’t be solved with a bevy of mathematical geniuses.

I am the only homemaker in America (maybe the world) who can’t keep a clean house.

We have the worst looking yard in the neighborhood.

the dishes, the laundry, the unmade bed, the piles of paperwork to be dealt with, the recycling, the boxes of donations, the stuff to be sorted, the unmade bed, the bathrooms waiting to be cleaned, the books unread, the projects undone, the clock is ticking and I am getting nowhere…fast

STOP.

It’s time for a glass of tea and some perspective…and a talk with myself (preferably not aloud where I can add crazy to the list).

I am doing okay.

Things will be okay.

It could be worse.

There are solutions to the real problems.

Some of the problems aren’t really that big a deal.

The sun will still do it’s thing even if everything doesn’t get done so there is always tomorrow.

I can fold one load of laundry.

I can wash one sink load of dishes.

I can stack all of the paper in one place and deal with it one piece at a time.

I can clear one counter.

The lost things can be found.

And so can peace.

I can stop and have a glass of tea.

I can make the baby laugh.

I could even read a chapter of a book.

And then I can do one more thing to make our home more comfortable.

Comfortable, not perfect.

What I can’t do is everything…right now.

There.

I feel better now.

I’m glad we had this talk.

Until tomorrow…

Peace.

 

 

Lost in Anxiety

Greetings fellow travelers,

Welcome to all the new followers.  I’m always a bit surprised (but grateful) when someone new chooses to “follow” me.  Be forewarned, I tend to wander and often get lost.  I guess that’s part of the adventure.

I did get lost this weekend metaphorically speaking.  It was a payday weekend and after I paid the bills there was so little left.  I know that’s a thing for a lot of folks and we are lucky that I made at least the minimum on everything.  My husband has a good job and I have a side gig that brings in a bit.

Still, as a I stood in line at the grocery store and watched the organic and healthy stuff ring up, I was consumed with doubt.  I could have spent significantly less by buying conventional produce and meat, and skipped the non-gmo goods and whole wheat stuff.  I stood there thinking that maybe it wasn’t worth it and I was just adding more stress to an already stressed budget.

As I talked it over with my husband later, he reminded me of the reasons we were making these changes and, ever the optimist, he reminded me that it always works out somehow.

That’s true.  We’ve never gone hungry and we’re not homeless.

The changes we are making aren’t easy, but with effort, some mistakes, and course corrections, we will figure it out.

The anxiety persisted through the weekend.  Once it starts, it’s hard to turn off.  It’s like some perpetual motion wheel powered by an anxiety hamster.  And, like a hamster, it runs loudest and fastest at night.

As I’ve tried to go to sleep each night, I start thinking of all the unfinished (and urgent) projects around here:  the failing floor in the hallway and laundry room, the collapsing deck, the not quite ready garden, the too-small chicken coop…all waiting for funding and time…

The lack of sleep only intensifies the issue.

Today, I have made a list of the projects and brainstormed plans and cheap solutions.  Some of the brainstorming is less practical than others.  I did find a you-tube video that shows how to make a perfect chicken tractor!  And it’s doable with some junk (resources) we have laying around here.

Detailing the problems on paper and finding solutions is much more helpful than worrying about them when I should be sleeping.

I refuse to let anxiety get the upper hand.  I may have to live with it, but I won’t let it win.

There will never be “enough” money for all the hopes and dreams that we have.  But there is enough for what we need.  The trick is discerning the needs vs. the wants and balancing it all out.

Accomplished today:

Most importantly, I’ve fed (homemade baby food), loved, rocked, talked to, and gotten to sleep for two naps the cutest grand-baby ever.

Got red beans and the Christmas ham-bone in the crock pot simmering for dinner.

Planted my echinacea seeds and have them out in the sun in the plastic storage box “greenhouse” while I dream of a real greenhouse someday.

Watered all the tomato, pepper, tomatillo, and herb seedlings I’ve managed to keep alive thus far.

Washed and dried two loads of laundry and decided that a clothes-line is definitely on the to-do list.

Turned my compost pile and shredded all of my newspaper and brown paper to mix into it.  I’m mowing the knee high grass in the dog yard and need to balance out all the grass clippings.  The compost pile is almost ready to tuck-in for “cooking”.  There’s another thing on the to-do list…another compost pile.

Small steps with optimism and a clear goal…anxiety be gone.  I’ve got a plan and I don’t have time for you.

 

 

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:

0714181145a

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.

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:

0702181911

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.

 

Houses

0629181615

Tired today and not feeling my best. The last couple of nights I have had trouble sleeping.

Thoughts from the past have been mixing in with worries and to-do lists of today and prevented the quiet restfulness of sleep to bless me.

The memories are wispy and hard to grasp onto. The vagueness of them is as distressing as the actual memories. Without clear and concrete imaging it is hard to deal with them – to bring them into clarity and bid them goodbye.

Last night as I was finally drifting off to sleep I heard the phrase, “she grew up in houses without windows”.

I remembered it when I awoke.

This journal page is the places I remember living in as a child and teenager…they are not in order. I’m not sure where Dallas fits in and I know that there were sometimes multiple houses in each city.

Other than our time in Huntsville, Texas attending Sam Houston State (where my husband and I met) and a couple of years in Alabama where my husband attended Auburn University, I have spent my entire adult life in the area around Austin.

My kids have grown up here.

They never had to be the new kid.

The Sky is Not Falling

Two days fraught with anxiety brought on by my own lack of mindfulness. No journal pages and no progress on the house.  Loss of sleep and busywork that has little to show for it.

Nobody to blame but myself, but mistakes happen and it’s okay when they do.  I just need to learn (or relearn) from it and move on in a more intentional way.

I need to remember that my anxiety is a living entity that can be controlled, but never eradicated.

And one of the symptoms of my anxiety is that I tend to take personal responsibility for everything.  Then the depression hits because I can’t do enough.

In a group situation where a problem is brought up, I think it must be me.

Someone says they need to talk to me about something, I wonder what I’ve done wrong.

Something needs to be fixed, I try to figure out what I should be doing.

Sound familiar to anyone else out there?

The specific situation that triggered my anxiety this time?

The border crisis, of course.

I have a lot of friends who are social activists. I have conservative friends and liberal friends.  I have friends who rant and rave, and friends who quietly go about making the world a better place (I have to say that I like them best).  I do believe that it takes all of us working together to get things done.  but it doesn’t seem like we are doing a very good job of that right now.

This post isn’t really about what’s happening in the world right now.  I’m aware of what’s going on in the world.

But the sky is not falling.

Bad stuff is happening.

And worse stuff than that.

That’s not new.

Good stuff is happening also.

That’s not news.  It doesn’t sell or raise ratings.

My anxiety prevents me from taking responsibility for the world.

I can live with that.

In fact, it’s the only way that I can live.

I’ll take my philanthropic advice from Mother Teresa…

numbers

So, I’ve blocked a lot of folks on facebook.  I’ll continue to use it to keep in touch with friends around the world, but not to be told that I don’t care about the poor children because I’m not hysterically posting hateful words (and yes, I was accused of not caring).

The news is off for now.

And I’m going to focus my attention on my actual neighbor that is in danger of losing her family’s home because life has been particularly challenging.

And I’m going to take care of myself and my family because I do care.

I care an awful lot.

 

 

Anxiety Doodle

IMG_0708

Yesterday’s journal page – an anxiety doodle done throughout a very stressful day.  As everything worked out well by the end of the day, I cut up the “anxiety” and glued it to a page.

The day started out rough.

First off, I noticed all the little things that were undone around the house and began by wondering if taking the time for art was worthwhile.  The dishes undone, the laundry undone, the trash the dogs got into strewn around the living room, and the half-finished decluttering and organizational projects all about.

Next, we had to deal with the car issue.  Our credit isn’t great,  we had a limited amount of money to work with, and we really don’t want monthly payments.  Also, sharing my daughter’s car with all of our schedules is impossible.

I like shopping for cars almost as much as I like hanging out in the DMV or the phone store.

In other words, not at all.

My family pulled together, started the search and headed out to solve the problem while leaving me at home to make peace with our home.

(and find peace for myself)

They can be simply amazing!

By the end of the day they had purchased a good, solid used car well within our budgeted car repair fund – newly established by our recent windfall.

It’s not even ugly! It’s a sharp-looking Volvo station wagon type vehicle.  Lots of room for our lifestyle, but not too big to drive comfortably.

And although the house doesn’t look significantly better than it did this morning:

  • we have enough clean clothes to make do
  • there are some clean dishes to eat off of
  • the trash is gathered and to the curb for pickup tomorrow
  • and, most importantly, it looks like home through my eyes

Anxiety dealt with and disasters averted.

Life is good!

Peace