The Next Day

A late night last night.  A restless night’s sleep.  A husband who had to be up at 5.  I am not a morning person unless the morning is starting around 9.

I still got a lot done.

I put my shoes on.IMAG0563

I took 11 boxes of paper and 9 bags of shredded paper to the recycling center.

I spent almost 2 hours balancing our checkbook and updating our budget program. It takes only a few minutes a day if I do it every day,  I hadn’t touched it in over a month.  I didn’t plan on ignoring it for so long…one day became two and so on.   I even sorted through a huge stack of unopened mail.  A classic case of ignoring a difficult problem until it becomes an enormous problem.

We sorted out some stuff. One more bag is ready to go to the thrift store.

I worked on my canvas.  I’m really trying to push some self-imposed boundaries. You’re lucky that I can’t  post a photo of it because my internet is screwing up.   I hate it.  It’s ugly.  And terrible.   I think it reflects how I feel.

I am tired and discouraged.  I’m overwhelmed and really having trouble looking on the bright side.

My problems are first world problems.  I am so much better off than most of the world.  My problems are nominal compared to what’s happening all over the world and in my own backyard.

This is depression and anxiety.  Even well-managed depression and anxiety.  Even when you take care of yourself and rest.

Sometimes the day just “goes bad”.  Sometimes there’s a reason.  Sometimes not.

You can’t see clearly. A part of you knows that it will work out.  The house will get cleaned.  The painting can be re-worked.  There is a glimmer of financial hope on the way.  It could certainly be worse.  Just follow the news.

But you still can’t see clearly.  Your focus turns inward of it’s own accord and all you can see is your sadness.

The difference between yesterday and today.  Night and Day.

But I have faith and I believe.  Tomorrow will be a new day

The Obvious

Today’s post may make more sense if you read yesterday’s, but you could live dangerously and just go for it.

First, I’d like to take a moment of silence in honor and recognition of friends.   I’ve got someone in particular in mind, but we can include friends in general.  In fact, I think that’s a tremendous idea.

One of the great things that friends do for us is to point out the obvious in a kind, loving and gracious manner.  That’s what makes them friends as opposed to less favorable people in our lives.

I’m talking about the kinds of things that should be glaringly obvious to us, but we miss…because we are so close to the problem (and self-absorbed).

My friend pointed out that it seemed that if I focused on my health, the rest seemed to fall into place.  Ummm…duh, Kelly.  She’s right, of course.  That makes total sense now (it always made sense, I just missed it).

Being healthy gave me the focus and energy to live the rest of my life more fully – and intentionally.

Thank you friend.

Health moves to the top of the list!

Here’s an update of what I accomplished yesterday.  My focus was the kitchen because it’s hard to eat healthy food when you can’t find anything and avoid the kitchen because it’s a disaster.IMAG0514IMAG0511IMAG0515IMAG0513IMAG0512

The walking – not so much.  We had rain, a lot of rain.  I can’t do laps in the house because we live in a manufactured home.  I could walk from one end to the other repeatedly – nope, can’t do that.  Remember, the daughter moving back in thing?  It would be more of an obstacle course workout.  All my stuff from the “guest” room and all her stuff from her apartment is piled in the hallway…and living room…and studio/classroom.  We’re working on it, but it’s still there.

Today, I shall walk!  My goal is to work back up to 10,000 steps a day.

Grateful for yesterday and excited for today!  Yea!

If You’re Not Paying Attention

 

What happens if you’re not paying attention?  Good question.  It may actually be more than a question…more like an actual lifestyle issue that needs attention.  We may be talking about my problem with addressing and paying attention to more than one area of my life at a time.

By now, you may be asking a question of your own.  What is she talking about  – or trying to talk about.

Remember my health “crisis” last October?  Emergency surgery, intestinal obstructions, the imminence of death.  What I didn’t share was that a month later I had some out-of-whack lab results that indicated pre-diabetes.

My focus was fully on my health.  I started exercising.  Walking about 3 miles a day.  Dropped most carbs from my diet.  Only whole grains.  LOTS of veggies and some fruit.  Dropped almost 40 pounds.  Felt fantastic!

And then…

because I felt so great, I started getting lots done around the house.  I decluttered and then organized.  I ripped up carpet and made plans for all the little (and big) stuff that needed to be done around here.

And then…

because the house was looking better, I had the opportunity and peace of mind to go on a creative binge.  Lots of art-making.

And then…

you guessed it – somewhere along the line, I forgot (conveniently) about taking care of myself.  I quit paying attention.  One missed day of exercise became two.  Eventually it wasn’t a habit at all.  I’ll just have one slice of pizza with my salad turned into pizza with no salad at all.   And so on…

And the house?  Well, it only stays decluttered and organized when you actually pay attention to it every day.  Otherwise, you wake up one morning and you’re right back where you started.

So, keeping in mind that I’m having an anxiety attack right here, right now…let’s establish this as a judgment free zone.

I started this blog with a promise to myself that I will always be open and honest.  I may not be telling you everything, but what I am sharing is the absolute truth.

I struggle with keeping my life together and sometimes I feel like such a failure.  I start to believe that I must be the only one in this same struggle.

But, I know that isn’t true.  Others are seeking to find balance also.

If you struggle with not “having it all together”, here’s some encouragement for you.  You are not alone.  We’re in this together!

So, here’s the “before” photos…some yesterday and some this morning.

the pantry...
the pantry…
the fridge...
the fridge…
the kitchen...Sigh.
the kitchen…Sigh.
IMAG0504
the blank canvas…
the unworn shoes and only 3257 steps on the fitbit...
the unworn shoes and only 3257 steps on the fitbit…
dinner last night (there were two cookies also, but I can't take a photo of them because I ate them)...
dinner last night (there were two cookies also, but I can’t take a photo of them because I ate them)…

I’m going to work towards improvement, but not perfection.  There can be room in my life for health, home, family and art.

There can be celebrations for small successes.

There can be forgiveness for failures.

I can try to pay attention.

The return.

Greetings and salutations.  I have returned.  I don’t know if you missed me, but I have missed posting!  The healing and recovery from surgery is progressing well.  Slower than I’d hoped and expected, but I’m heading in the right direction.

Today, I completed my first two mile walk.  It’s two miles from my front door to the entrance of our housing development.  It contains three gentle inclines which were pretty tough today, I must confess.  I preferred the declines (is that even a word?)  I trust it will get easier!

In other news, I returned from a long weekend retreat at a place called Laity Lodge in the Texas Hill Country late Sunday evening.  It was a blessing of a time – an artists’ retreat teeming with visual artists, musicians, song-writers, singers, poets, writers, actors and…did I miss anyone?  The weekend was full of good food, rest, studio time, inspiring speakers, a concert, an art exhibit, music by the outdoor fireplace and magical moments.

The featured speaker was a gentleman named Malcolm Guite.  He is a lecturer, chaplain, artist, musician, and writer from Cambridge, Cambridgeshire.  An entertaining, knowledgeable, talented, down-to-earth guy who can quote Shakespeare or any other poet at the drop of a hat.  Check out his blog site, http://www.malcolmguite.com, for more information.

Malcolm Guite
Malcolm Guite

All in all, a refreshing, rejuvenating weekend…exactly what I needed to put me back on track.  I’m full of new artistic ideas and plans for art projects.  I’ve made some new friends and connected with some old ones.  I’m back home and ready to take a close look at our belongings and clear out some more excess.

It feels like a new start and, in a way, it truly is.  I’m lucky and thankful to be here on this big round ball we call earth.  I’m grateful  for healing and returning strength.  I appreciate that I have a house that shelters us and that I can make into a home that enriches us.  I’m blessed to have a husband that works so hard to provide for our family and still has the energy to look out for me.  I’m happy that I have a modicum of artistic talent and the desire to create.  I love my family, my friends and the anticipation of who will next enter my life and become family or a friend.  I’m exited to make and share more art (see my other blog:  http://www.unearthedart.wordpress.com).

At some point, reality will no doubt rear it’s ugly head, but for right now…in this moment, I’m loving the mountaintop experience.  The view is great from up here!  Amen.

Day 13

Post surgery…day 13.  I can’t believe it’s coming up on the middle of October.  It still seems like September to me.  Oh, the things I had planned to do this month.

But instead, I’m focusing on a part of my personal journey that I had chosen to ignore for far too long…my health.  I’ve known my weight and inactivity have been something that I needed to take on as a challenge, but ….

I’ve worked hard to appreciate that  I’m “me” no matter what I look like.  I would have chosen Cindy Crawford if I’d been given the option, but I missed that boat.  Learning to love me is about more than being okay with what I look like.  This is no longer about appearance, but about my health and my life.

Now, I’ve got no choice.  Sixty pounds is my goal, but this is not going to turn into a weight loss blog.  The weight is important, as is the exercise.  But, more importantly it’s part of taking care of myself and having an intentional life…a life that I make the choices in.

Today I’ve realized what a long-term challenge this is going to be. Yesterday, I took my first walk, piddled around the house and sat up working on an art project most of the day.  Today, I found out that I took on to much and really wore myself out.  It’s hard to realized how little control we have over our bodies and to confront the limitations we must face.   It’s easy to downplay the medical crisis and to “bravely” keep on going…”I’m fine.  I’m feeling much better.  I can do this.”  The brain says yes in it’s denial.  The body makes itself clearly heard.

Healthy food (who brought that donut into this house!), rest, short walks…small changes for a lifetime.  Throw in a little art, a lot of family and some spiritual growth.

It’s time to re-evaluate and re-balance again…and probably not for the last time.

Day 13 – healing.

 

Honesty.

This blog started out as an  expedition into community and my intent has been to keep it as honest as possible.  Tonight shouldn’t be any different.

It’s ten o’clock and I’m tired…exhausted.  I don’t want to go to bed.  It’s early for me – usually.  But things aren’t usual right now and won’t be “normal” for a while.  All the things that I do, that make up the “doing” part of who I am, aren’t allowed right now.  I can’t clean, or cook, or take out the trash, or lift anything heavier than 5 lbs.  Every time I start to do something, I come across something that weighs five pounds!

Laundry, nope.  Wet jeans and towels weigh too much…especially when you are pulling them up from the bottom of a washer.  The dryer is unbelievably close to the ground…bending and lifting, nope.

I can’t even open our back door to let the dogs in and out…it’s a sliding door that sticks and you have to lift and push to get it to move.

I am working on some small art things.  That’s a plus, but anything can become boring if you spend too much time doing it.

The doctor said I have to lose a lot of weight…we’re not talking 10 lbs. here.  This could all happen again if I don’t.

I found out that I have some really good friends (who are also good cooks).  I’ve also found out that some people I thought were friends apparently aren’t.  Hey, I know people are busy(people other than me), but how long does a comment on facebook take? I wonder how many time I’ve been guilty of not being there for someone who needed me.

I’m in the emotional, holy crap, what happened, I don’t think I can do this stage of recovery.

This journey of mine took an unexpected turn right in the middle of going so well.   Sort of like that great vacation that gets sidelined by car trouble.

Lest this sound like a complete “feeling sorry for myself ” rant – I’m grateful for great medical care, the first health insurance we’ve had in over 20 years going into effect a little over a month ago, a smooth recovery so far and a very supportive family.  I’m grateful that I’m alive.  I have much to be thankful for.

But, like I’ve said before, even grateful happy people have bad days, or nights.

All I can write about is me, my life and my stories…because that’s all that’s honestly mine to tell.  Right now, my story is kind of a teary confused mess.

And I need to get some sleep.