One of the things that happened during my time away from writing here was a step towards being a zero-waste home.
I’d always said that it wasn’t possible for us and then postponed working towards the goal because of that “perfection” thing again. We’d recycle on and off, but never really committed to the ideal.
I guess you could say that my mantra for this year is:
Don’t let perfect get in the way of better, or good, or good enough.
Almost two months ago we got busy. I researched recycling in our area and gathered information. We don’t have curbside recycling, but do have a recycling center relatively close. I typed up a detailed list of what can and can’t be recycled in our area. It’s attached to the top of our recycling can.
And speaking of our recycling can…
The big can used to be our trash can and the little one our recycling. They have now switched service.
Our big blue curbside trash can was always stuffed full on pick-up day with at least two more big black bags stacked alongside.
Since tackling our trash problem, we rarely have more than two small white trash bags of garbage each week. And that’s for eight people living in the house (one in diapers). I know, cloth diapers are a thing. I’ve tried in the past and maybe we’ll try again. Baby steps…
We’ve become more aware of what we are buying. There have been times that we looked at a product and decided to find an alternative because there was too much packaging that needed to be dealt with.
Driving to the recycling center is kind of a pain, but we are working it into our schedule. We store the recycling in big tubs (that we already had because of our decluttering efforts). They stack in the hallways until they are full to cut down on trips.
Our compost pile is filling up and our chickens eat any food that isn’t suitable for the compost pile. We have accomplished zero food waste.
We aren’t doing it all perfectly, but we are doing better!
The things to do seem endless (and maybe a little pointless).
Some days I can just jump in and tackle the day.
Depression is crazy.
I know I’m not crazy, but the unpredictability of “depression” is crazy.
One day maybe scientists or doctors or somebody will figure it out, but for now it is something we live with.
We all live with it.
If you don’t suffer with it, you know someone who does and it affects your life as well.
I don’t want my depression (and coordinating anxiety) to define me. There is so much more to me than that.
But, I do want to continue to talk about it because we have to. We have to share our stories and support each other and realize that we are not alone…
even if depression causes you to feel like you are alone and unworthy of being loved.
So today, I have cleaned off my desk because it is a small “win”, and tidiness and order make me feel better…a little bit more in control of my life.
And I am writing this imperfect post because maybe someone else who is struggling today will happen upon it and be encouraged to seek out a small “win” for themselves.
And I will cook a healthy dinner for my family tonight, because the food we eat does affect our health and we have been working really hard to improve our diet. It won’t be perfect, but it will be good enough.
And I will offer myself abundant grace today for my depression and mistakes and grouchiness. I am human and flawed and trying. I will give myself some credit for hanging in there.
Some days life is hard.
But even in the hard times there can be grace and forgiveness and courage and kindness.
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.
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 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.
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).
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!
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.
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.
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).
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…
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.