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.

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.

 

Houses

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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

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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

 

Four pages done.  Fifty-three more to go!

Productivity is losing momentum around here as a respiratory virus trudges through our family.

Not seriously ill, but not feeling 100% either.

Yesterday, I sorted through paper in the studio:  going through magazines I’d saved for potential journal pages and possible class use.  I pulled out anything that struck my fancy and gathered the rest up for recycling.  A big bag full.  I also sorted through papers that I had saved and decided that I didn’t need after all. It was hard parting with them for some insane reason. I kept thinking that I might need them for something.

The fear of not having what I need to create is a challenge that I’m dealing with right now.  Actually creating is what’s important…more important than the potential of creating.  Having the space available and access to what is needed is important.

Thinking about doing or actually doing?

It’s not complicated when you actually see it in black and white.

But nothing with emotions is every really simple.

I just read a great post about this very thing.  She talks about her clothing issues, but the train of thought applies to anything that we are trying to declutter and the emotional aspect of it.  Here’s the link:

https://www.becomingminimalist.com/more-than-clutter/

The whole decluttering process is about so much more than the stuff.  There are all kinds of motivational catch phrases that apply, but I’m liking this one right now…

When we really delve into the reasons for why we can’t let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future. – Marie Kondo

I believe the past should be learned from and visited for the good memories.  I don’t want to live there.

The future should be planned for and anticipated, but not feared.

The present is for living and doing.

I’m trying to make choices today that make it all possible.

Peace.

 

 

 

 

Bent Pins and Collected Things

Life is too short for bent and dull sewing pins, fabric I no longer love and dried up paint.  I could add a hundred and one other things to this list and never even leave my studio.

I’ve decided that it all comes down to FEAR and it’s constant companion ANXIETY.  There is no simple button to press and make those two disappear from my life.  I just need to continue to work towards a peaceful home where we can exist together harmoniously.

My studio.

That’s where I have been for the past couple of days.  Not for long periods of time, but little visits so I can work out a way to want to be in there…

To make stuff again.

I’ve identified two specific things that I fear with regards to that room:

Fear of getting rid of things because I might need them someday and the accompanying fear of using things because then I won’t have it and it might work better in another future project…

and that hypothetical scenario leads to the next fear…

Fear that anything I make won’t be “good enough”.  I can’t even explain that one.

Is it a fear of someone else’s opinion?  Maybe a “real” artist judging what I’ve made or…

Am I really just afraid of my own inner critic?

– that voice that does such a good job of telling me that “I can’t”

In any event, the result of this fear is that I’ve become more of a collector of possibilities rather than a creator of them.

I have fabric, canvases, paint, brushes, ephemera, stamps, ink, adhesives, buttons, threads, jars of fascinating little things, pencils, pens, paper and more paper and a hundred and one other things.  All of this was purchased, found and gifted to me because of it’s potential to become something more.

I’ve even collected quotes about creativity…

But I’ve made enough lists for today.

It’s summer.

I have fewer responsibilities to use as excuses.

Today, I have decided to start a summer journal project and publicly declare it’s existence.

Fifty-seven journal pages this summer.

One for every year that I’ve been alive.

Instead of saying that I want to make stuff over and over again, I’m going to make stuff.

Make pages with no excuses or apologies for what they look like or don’t.

Process, not product…

Along the way, I’m going to get rid of anything taking up space in there that doesn’t work for who I am now as an artist.

starting right now!

use up