Voila!

It turns out that I’ve been doing life all wrong…and now I’ve got it all figured out (not really, and I would never tempt fate or the universe by saying something that outlandish.)

 

All this time I’ve been making a list of everything that needed to be done and then failing to complete the list.  Therefore, at the end of the day, I felt like a failure.

On Monday, I just put three things on the list that had to be done and completed all of them:  I took a shower, successfully taught my art class and washed my bedding and remade the bed.

Win!

I also accomplished some other stuff that was on the “would like to get done” portion of the list.  I don’t remember what those things were since it was days ago, but I know that I felt good about it nonetheless.

So, the choice is make a short list and get it done and be happy…

OR

Make a long list and don’t get it done and be unhappy.

I’m going to choose the short list and be happy.

Voila!

Lesson learned.

Who knew that I couldn’t do it all?

Well, I knew it of course, but I kept trying to do it anyway.

Maybe this time I’ll remember to be more realistic (and kinder to myself).

Or, more likely, I’ll be writing a post similar to this in a couple of months.

Still, I’m going to count it as a positive step forward on my journey and it’s even in the “right” direction!

P.S. Of course, I forgot to put “feed and water the baby chicks” on the list and that’s a pretty important thing to do.  BUT, I remembered to do it and they lived another day so we’re not going to let that detract from my success.

Taking a Deep Breath

Mondays.

I don’t know why we make such a big deal of them.  Especially in my case where the majority of my family works in retail so Mondays aren’t the first day after two days off.

Almost every day is a work day for someone in my family.  It is a rarity for us all to have the same day off.

Still, I wake up on Monday with a vague sense of anxiety about all that I need to accomplish, and that needs to be dealt with before it blows up into a disaster…mood wise.

I have a friend who is dealing with Stage 4 colon cancer and is participating in trial treatment at MD Anderson.  She writes every day on her Caring Bridge site.

I take great inspiration from it.  She regularly talks about managing time and energy and the challenges of that for her.  In her previous life she was a very active pastor, activist, writer and just general accomplisher of everything.  She had a journal calendar that was bursting with notes and memos and appointments.  She was a marvel.

She still is.  Just in a different way.

Her musings on making time for what’s important…including rest and walking have made a difference for me this Monday.

I am taking a deep breath to calm the anxiety.

I am making a list of the things that have to be done to stop the swirling thoughts in my head.

I am reminding myself that it doesn’t all have to happen today.

Tomorrow is a viable possibility for some of the to-do list.

Today I need to take a shower.

I need to make a doctor’s appointment for tomorrow or the next day before I run out of meds.

I need to gather all of my supplies and teach my art class this afternoon.

I would like to wash my sheets and bedding.  That has been pushed to tomorrow too many times.

Cooking dinner would be a plus, but realistically there is food and everyone is capable of fending for themselves.

They will probably still love me if I don’t get that done.

The house has moved past the lived-in stage and is teetering on the edge of possible crime scene.

I am reminding myself that the state of my house does not necessarily make me a bad person.

As I make my list, I am realizing that today is doable.

I’ve got this.

Anxiety, go somewhere else.

This Monday is not yours.

It is mine and I may not do it perfectly, but I will do it with a smile.

Peace.

 

 

Complicated Contradictions

Photo by elizabeth lies on Unsplash
Photo by elizabeth lies on Unsplash

“Every mind is a clutter of memories, images, inventions and age-old repetitions. It can be a ghetto, too, if a ghetto is a sealed-off, confined place. Or a sanctuary, where one is free to dream and think whatever one wants. For most of us it’s both – and a lot more complicated.” Margo Jefferson

 

I came upon this quote a few days ago while browsing for quotes to use on my art cards and such.

It has stuck in my head and bounced around in there and provided me with much fodder for thought as I pondered why I found it so intriguing.

Several blog posts about it have been started and abandoned since.

Obviously, more thinking was required…

Today, I realized, is Friday and I had promised my daughter that I would do a journal page.  We actually mutually committed and challenged ourselves to create one page each week.

As I was working on this page (using stuff found on the floor of my studio)

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all the thoughts about the quote came together and the meaning (for me) became clear.

You know, one of those “aha” moments when something perfectly obvious actually becomes obvious…

I’m complicated and a mass of contradictions…which does not make me unique because the same can be said of everybody…

But, I am a uniquely complicated mass of contradictions unlike everyone else in the way that I am a complicated mass of contradictions.

Yes, I know…complicated.

I continually struggle with reconciling the conflicting aspects of my personality.

Am I a minimalist or a bohemian when it comes to decorating? I seem to de-clutter and then re-clutter in an endless cycle.

Can you be a vegan who longs for bacon?  I mean, can you really love Esther the Wonder Pig (www.estherthewonderpig.com) and buy an Easter ham for your family?

and so on and so forth…

And what happens when reality collides with the ideals?

When neither the minimalist room or the cluttered room provide a home…

when perceived open-mindedness is revealed to be less than true…

when dreams wither and are lost because perfection inhibits their development

Then form has become more important than function and appearance becomes more significant than the goal.

I am a work in progress.

I am a story still being written and a canvas still being created.

I am my past, my present and my future.

Sometimes I huddle in the dark, afraid and sometimes I embrace the light and move forwards and often take a wrong turn and get lost.

Who I am right now will not be who I am when this post is finished.

The journey I am on requires patience and grace and acceptance.

Patience with my inconsistencies and missteps,

 grace for the fear and failures,

and

acceptance of my limitations.

We are all glorious creations who should find joy in this messy, complicated journey that we travel.

And I hope that we all, with patience, grace and acceptance, find peace along the way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And now…today

new begin

What’s happening around here today…

Using the above quote as a mantra for today – a new week and a new day.  Trying not to worry so much about what I haven’t gotten done and what I’ve screwed up and all the projects I’ve been avoiding.

Today is a day to start anew and set reasonable goals…and practice grace.

Loving this quote (so much that I put it on a card)

0326181204Still wondering how this happened when I just went in to buy dog food…

0326181219Twelve chicks to add to our menagerie.  We only have one mature chicken left after the last fox attack and she is no longer laying eggs so chicks aren’t an entirely bad idea. Just not planned for right now. They are busily growing and cheeping in the guest bedroom.  The dogs are very intrigued – including our new addition, Skye…

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She belonged to a friend and got in trouble for trying to “play” with their neighbor’s pet rabbit.  We took her in to keep her out of the shelter because what’s one more dog, right?

Getting ready to start preparing these cards for an art mail project that I’ve been wanting to do.  I’ve been putting it off waiting for the “right time” to do it.  That’s code for me worrying about not doing them “well enough” so I just don’t do it at all.  I found this quote and put it on the jar holding the cards to remind myself that I just need to do it…”the smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention”

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Anticipating this little guys arrival in August and my new role as Grandma.  The big news I’ve been waiting to share!

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And finally sitting down and actually typing out a blog post which I’ve avoided because I haven’t been doing it…which isn’t really a very good reason not to be writing, but it’s the only one I’ve got.  Technically it’s an excuse, not a reason, BUT…

today is a new day and full of grace…

so there you go.

Hoping that today finds you living in a new day full of grace!

Peace.

Then, Now & Maybe

Or yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Different words, but same sentiment.

Almost.

Perhaps a nuance of difference.

As a world, we spend a lot of time arguing about terminology, meaning, and other rhetoric.

And (in my opinion) not enough thought or discussion about intent, but all this is a rabbit trail off topic…

Much like my meandering passage through life lately.

For instance, three trips to the laundry room this morning in search of clean underwear so that I could venture out into the real world.

The first time, I forgot why I went down there, but did start a load of laundry.

The second time, I still forgot to forage for clean underwear, but emptied the trash.

The third time, I remembered the point of my visit, but (alas) there was no clean underwear to be found.

Eureka!  A separate search for something else that was lost yielded a pair in a stack of clean laundry that I forgot to put up and buried under a pile of other stuff that I need to put up.

I don’t remember what I was searching for when I found the needed undies.

Maybe it wasn’t important (she said hopefully).

And then we were late leaving the house.

But managed to get where we needed to go on time.

Life is good.

life is good

Some days clean underwear and a successfully completed journey is good enough.

Which still has nothing to do with the title I initially typed into the heading of this post.

(Sigh)

And I am out of time.

 

On the bright side:

  • I have written here today
  • I have a topic ready for tomorrow
  • If you follow this blog, you can now wait in breathless anticipation for what is to come (or not)

And as a separate set of “little dotty things” that I can’t remember the name of…I have helped you recognize that life is good if any of the following apply to you

  • You didn’t have to search for clean underwear because they are folded neatly in the drawer where they are supposed to be
  • You didn’t have to go out into the real world today (after worrying that you might have to do so without underwear)
  • There isn’t something lost that you need to look for but you can’t because you don’t even remember what it is that you are supposed to be looking for
  • You can remember the name of these “little dotty things” and you aren’t even an English major like I am
  • Oh, and you don’t have a Basset hound that is totally and remarkable NOT housebroken and pees continually and non-stop all day and all night without ceasing (this is, once again, off topic, but I really, really needed to vent my frustration)

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Anyways…

If any of the above makes you appreciate the goodness of life…

you are most welcome.

every day

Peace!

 

The Practice of Gratitude

gratitude

I have a good life.

It’s not perfect (but neither am I).

Sometimes I forget to remember the good things…and I focus on what’s not going the way I want.

I can have unreasonable expectations.

Which is not to say that there are not sometimes reasons to be unhappy and dissatisfied.

But I want to look on the bright side more often and be grateful for all that is good in my little corner of the world.

So, I have made this book out of my handmade paper and I’m going to write down 1,000 things that I am grateful for.

I got the idea from one of the many books that I sorted out to finally read.

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Honestly, it wasn’t my favorite book ever. I didn’t read it all the way through.  I kind of skipped around and read bits here and there.  It had some really good stuff and some simply good stuff and some stuff that was a little too flowery and preachy for me. For now it will stay on my shelf because it has a bird on the cover and I really like birds.

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Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash

Still, it was worth browsing through for the idea a making a list of stuff I’m grateful for.

A thousand things is a lot.

We’ll see how it goes…I’ve gotten to 42 without too much effort.

I’ll keep you posted.

Until then, I hope your day finds you with things to be grateful for…

Peace.

Enough

gratitude-quotes2

I didn’t write about food yesterday.

As you may have noticed, I didn’t write at all.   You probably didn’t actually notice because you have a life and are not sitting anxiously by your electronic device waiting for my newest missive.

I don’t feel like writing about food today and sharing with you that although I didn’t find the hidden Rice Krispies treats, a bag of vegan oatmeal cookies did find their way into my shopping cart while picking up Thanksgiving menu items yesterday.

And I ate them.

Not all of them.

Maybe half of them.

At least they were vegan so I just blew it by eating too much sugar (which I have now figured out definitely affects my mood…and not in a good way). I am grateful to have food.

Anyway, I didn’t write because it is the week of Black Friday and the folks in this family who work for actual money work in retail. I am grateful that they are employed. They are all working crazy and overlapping schedules while trying to share one car.  I am grateful for that car. It is a logistical nightmare.  We hold planning sessions  every day to figure out how to make it work.  I am grateful that we are making it work.

I can’t drive in the dark because of my eyes so all I can do is pack lunches and wash work clothes.  I am really frustrated!  I am grateful to have eyes that work well enough and food to pack in lunches and clothes to wash.

No one is getting enough sleep. I am grateful for the sleep we are getting and a warm bed and shelter.

At least we have a holiday this week so everyone can rest.

Oh wait, no we don’t.  Some have to work on Thursday afternoon.  Black Friday isn’t just for Friday anymore. I am grateful for the time we will have and friends to share a meal with.

I hate Black Friday.

I hate that we have traded a day of thanksgiving for a day of rushing to acquire more.

How much crap do we need?

Enough I say.

I am grateful for what I have and I have enough.

I won’t be shopping on Black Friday and probably not on Saturday either.

I will be at home eating my leftovers and counting my blessings.

I have enough.

 

 

thankful & grateful

thankfulIt is the season of gratitude and thanksgiving.

So today I will attempt to list ten things that I am grateful for…but with a twist.  Since I am in a creative mood today, I have decided that I will not fill the list with the easy things like family and health and friends.

(Not that there is anything wrong with being thankful for these things and no judgment is intended. These are certainly valid things to be grateful for, but they will not find a place on my list today.)

And by writing this list and joining in on the season of thanksgiving, I am not condoning or validating the original Thanksgiving celebration which may or may not be represented correctly in our traditional telling of the Thanksgiving tale.  I wasn’t actually at “the first Thanksgiving” and I do not know anyone who was so I don’t have anything factual to contribute to that debate, nor do we discuss it over dinner on a certain Thursday in November in our home.

Those legalities being out of the way, here goes:

  1. I am grateful that I may have broken my toe on Sunday when I tripped over the vacuum cleaner cord that I left lying on the hallway floor. I am grateful because I normally only think about my feet when I happen to glance down and observe that they are not particularly attractive. Having a toe that is painful and not functioning optimally reminds me that I am fortunate to have toes and feet that work perfectly well most of the time.  There are many who are not so fortunate.
  2. I am grateful for slightly smelly shelter dogs (including the one who is frequently incontinent and the one that barks randomly at nothing at all hours of the day and night).  These dogs of mine of profoundly imperfect and loyal beyond all imaginings. They love without reserve and forgive all. They remind me on a daily basis that I’ve got the imperfect part down pat, but have work to do on the rest.
  3. I am grateful for being able to write that I am grateful for anything today.  In periods of depression – sometimes profoundly dark – I am often unable to think in terms of gratitude or thanksgiving.  In those times it is not a choice. Today, it is and I can so I will.
  4. I am grateful for books and blog posts to read and connections to be made.  I am grateful that today I have eyes that work well enough to read. I am also grateful for being hopeful that in the course of my reading and connecting I will find answers to my health issues. (I think I threw in enough gratitude that this does not simply mean that I am thankful for my health.)
  5. I am grateful for running water and flushing toilets.  I think we take this for granted all too often.  For years we had an issue with toilets that stopped working often…usually when we had a house full of friends.  Many cold and dark evenings were spent trying to clear septic lines. Eventually it turned out to be a toilet paper issue.  A simple solution to a really crappy problem.  Yes, I went there.
  6. I am grateful for a  regular trash pick-up service.  I don’t realistically think that we will ever be a zero-waste home, but you never know.  We are recycling regularly and have reduced our trash by about half.  We are thinking about packaging and ways to avoid producing garbage much more than we used to.  Still, garbage happens.  I am thankful that I have a place to put it and for someone to pick it up and take it away.
  7. I am grateful for my washer and dryer.  I have washed clothing on a concrete washboard with carried water.  I have helped my mom wash clothes in a wringer washer on the front porch.  I have carted laundry to the laundromat. I have hung clothes on the line to dry (and actually enjoy it although not in the rain when clothes have to be draped on every available surface throughout the house and you wear damp jeans – enough said). Washers and dryers are awesome.
  8. I am grateful for being able to cook.  I learned from my mom who learned to cook during the depression.  She taught me  (not from recipes) but how to make something edible (and sometimes even delicious) from what you had available.  There have been many times when that ability has served me well.  Empty pantries or lack of transportation to the store doesn’t mean that we  won’t have a meal on the table. Thanks Mom.
  9. I am grateful to live in these United States of America.  Don’t ever talk bad about this country around me.  It isn’t perfect and how could it be when it provides a home for a diverse group of people who have a multitude of rights and opportunities and choices.  The very things that makes this a great country are the ones that can result in less than optimal situations.  Given a choice, I would rather live here and have the freedom to solve problems than live with no freedom and choices.
  10. I am grateful for all the luxuries that I enjoy:  a roof over my head, a bed to sleep in and a blanket to cover myself with.  I have electricity and running water.  I have clothes to wear and a closet to hang them in.  I have a car in the driveway and access to gas to fuel it.  If I lost my home, I could find a place to go for shelter.  There are days when I worry about having enough and days when I compare my life to others and find it lacking in material things.  On those days I try to remember that I am comparing my life to a select group and not the whole world.

There you have it. My list.

I thought it might be hard to fill, but in reality, since I started writing this I have continued to think of more and more and more.

Gratitude is good.

An awareness of all my blessings is even better.

I think I’ll start a list and keep on adding to it.

Maybe in the times when I can’t find joy I can refer to it and be thankful.

My life is good and I am grateful.

give thanks
Photo by Simon Maage on Unsplash

Amen.