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.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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…

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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.

 

 

All Shouting at Once

This journal page was done yesterday.

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And then today, I witnessed yet another disturbing incident on facebook.

A friend posted an opinion on another friend’s post.

A differing opinion.

And she was attacked.

Hateful vitriol.

There is no other word for it.

And she wasn’t wrong.  Her comment had merit.

It just wasn’t the “popular” thing to say.

It brought light to the fact that the issue is not black and white.

There is no easy answer.

And I have to wonder…

Where is conversation?

Where is discussion?

Where is respect?

And in this instance, where is the Christianity?

Have your opinion.  Have a strong opinion.  Believe you are right…

March, gather, protest, follow your heart and work for change.

But never forget that the person you are sharing words with

OR

throwing words at…

Has an opinion.

And is a living, breathing, feeling human being…

With their own story and beliefs.

What about being quiet for a moment and listening…

Where is the love that you profess to have for humanity when you can’t treat a differing opinion with respect and dignity?

And all that I can think and believe is that when hate is the response to a differing opinion there is no winner.

We all lose.

Love loses.

Peace.

 

Be Kind

 

 

Still feeling under the weather, but plodding along anyway.

Journal page done and posted.  Yea me!

A check we have been waiting on finally came in a few days ago.  I’d done lots of math in anticipation of its arrival in order to make the best use of it.

A few things were paid off and an emergency fund established.

And yesterday, our car (which had been struggling) let it be known that it was done for.  A check-up at the mechanic’s verified what we had feared – the transmission is shot.

Sigh.

One step forward…

and two steps back.

It’s an old car and really not worth the money we would need to put into it to fix the transmission.  It also needs some work on something that makes the front wheels and the back wheels go round and round together.

I know that was a pretty technical description of the problem, but let me put it in simpler terms…probably well over $500 for that fix.

And the air conditioner doesn’t work.

So, it looks like we will go car shopping.

Yea.

Sigh (again).

On the bright side.

We have an emergency fund.  We only had it for a couple of days, but it still counts, right?

It’s not enough for a car, but it’s something, right?

It’s all going to be okay.

I think.

Maybe.

Nope, it’s definitely going to be okay.

Peace.

Keep Life Simple

What the hell does that even mean?

I wish I had an answer or some profound advice to share with you.

I don’t.

What I do have is my stories and maybe that can help…

I’ve been writing for quite some time about my desire for a simpler, more intentional life.

I think I may have even written that exact sentence before.

Today, I am frustrated…

that the house is still a mess

that we are still in debt and struggling

that I always seem to have something to worry about

and that I seem to be making no progress towards my goal.

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And yet, as I look back over this year’s posts at this (almost) mid-point of the year, I realize that I have done a pretty good job of sticking with my “motto” –  being grateful and letting go.

I have become better about experiencing gratitude in the midst of life…even when it wasn’t easy.   I am more grateful for what I have and more patient with dealing with the challenges than I used to be.

(most of the time)

I’m still not grateful for dog hair…lots and lots of dog hair.

I am grateful for my dogs (again, most of the time)

I am grateful that my dogs are not bald…that they have hair, but once it comes off of them…

Not grateful (at all).

I suppose if I took up spinning yarn I could use the damn stuff, but I suspect the fibers are too short and then what the hell would I do with the stupid dog hair yarn?  I don’t knit or crochet and I sure don’t need any more projects…

Nope, not grateful for dog hair.

Maybe that gratitude will come with more practice.

I sincerely doubt it though.

And, as far as the house goes, I am still decluttering.

Sometimes, despite my best intentions, too much comes in.

But, I haven’t give up (totally).

Some days (weeks) I don’t even try.

But, some days I do a lot.

If I wasn’t decluttering at all, what a mess it would be!

Again, the journey continues.

I’m not standing still.

Although I’m doing a better job of resting when I need to.

So, it turns out that I needn’t be so frustrated today.

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I’m doing an okay job of moving forward on this journey and letting go of that which is heavy and for that…

I am grateful.

Peace

 

 

 

 

Cold Water on a Hot Day

Today I am thankful for cold water on a hot day

or in other words…

Our water heater isn’t working.

It’s been going out for a while.

It is officially gone.

It’s not so bad, really.

Our electric bill is lower.

I am boiling water for dishes which I am actually enjoying…

it somehow makes dish-washing more intentional and important.

There is thought involved.

It is less of a task and more of meaningful ritual.

Showers aren’t even bad.  We are in our first heat wave of the summer.  Temperatures outside are slowly rising…an interesting reversal of the temperature of our water slowly decreasing.  A cool shower is a blessing in this heat.  Not first thing in the morning, but a pleasant respite in the evening.

Now, if this were winter it would be a whole ‘nother story.  I would be hard-pressed to find anything to be grateful for in this situation.

I could try.

You know, we have running water and we don’t have to trek 10 miles uphill in both directions to get water.

It would be a valid point, but nevertheless, you would not find me in the shower in the middle of winter without hot water.

But, for right now, it is good.

As is the de-cluttered and organized hallway and living room.  Another small box of stuff going to the thrift store and another bag of trash/recycling ready to go.  The empty plastic storage bins are still empty.

On to the kitchen (insert tiny sigh here)…

Peace