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.

Normal

Today was a day.  It was Thursday, to be exact…a thoroughly uneventful day.

This is the third blog post that I’ve tried to write in order to share my day.  All the posts have  been so boring that I’ve about given up.

But, since writing is often how I make sense of things, I’m persisting and am tapping away at the keyboard once again.

Please keep in mind that I have no idea what I am going to write about, and there are no promises that anything remotely interesting will result.

For foreshadowing, let me share that all the schoolwork is caught up and my sister is back home at her house.  She’s not back to where she was before all of this started, but making progress.

So…

I got up this morning.

I went outside to let the chickens free from their coop.

I went back to bed.

My brief trek through the house on the way to the front door left me overwhelmed.

I lay in bed and started making a mental list of all that needed to be done now that life was returning to normal.

I thought about just staying in bed.  I felt the anxiety start…

And then I said aloud, “Enough”.

I was tired of being tired.  Done with feeling like I couldn’t catch up.  Worn out from facing deadline after deadline.  Sick of feeling like I was failing at everything.

So today there was no list.  I didn’t try to accomplish anything.  I didn’t have a goal.  I didn’t plan to finish cleaning the house or even a single room.  No expectation of catching up the laundry or the dishes or the dusting.

I just did some stuff.

I watered the plants and pulled off some dead leaves.

I washed, dried, folded and put up a load of laundry.

I emptied a couple of trash cans.

I sorted through my paper stash and thought about what I might create next.

I wandered through the house wiping away a cobweb or two and a bit of dust.

You can’t really tell that I did much of anything at all.  The house doesn’t look all that different…or better.

But I feel different and better.

My actions may have seemed random, but they were intentional.  I spent time in my home saying “hello” to my life…the life I had before it all started spinning out of control the first of August.  I was reacquainting myself with the routines that I missed when other things took priority.

And now, I feel calm (or as calm as someone with anxiety can ever feel).  I am looking forward to getting back to my “normal” life.  Hopefully, I’ll remember some of the things I learned this month about what’s important and what’s not…about what needs to be done and what can wait.

All I know, is that a little routine and even a bit of boring sounds pretty good right now.

As I sit with my art journal watching a stupid movie on Netflix tonight, I’ll be thinking of those that are living away from their “normal” right now.  And for those that are adapting to a new “normal” because their life has changed in a big way…

…for the friend who beat cancer but continues to battle the after effects of the treatment.

…for the friend whose cancer has returned and who is facing uncertainty and change.

…for the friend who adjusted to the new “normal” of Stage IV cancer and is now entering experimental treatment with an unknown outcome.

When life takes a crazy turn and we find ourselves in unfamiliar territory, it can be crazy hard.  We find ourselves looking back at what was and we just want to go back to the familiar…the normal.

Going back isn’t an option.  We are where we are.

Staying put isn’t an option.  We have to go somewhere.

It’s not about courage or bravery.  It’s not like we have a lot of choices.

The life we have is the one we live.

If we have a choice in the direction we can take, we make that choice…left, right, or straight ahead.  And pray that it’s a good choice.

We cry, we yell, sometimes we pull the blanket over our head.  We worry, we cope, we fail at some things and succeed at others.

We make a difference because we try, not because we did it all right.

And through it all we find comfort in the little things…

…in watering a plant and nurturing life.

…in wiping away a bit of dust or a few tears.

…in sorting through and thinking of what we might create with what we have.

And perhaps, most importantly, for finding something to be grateful for amidst it all.

 

Journey

The secret that we share I cannot tell in full. But this much I will tell. What’s lost is nothing to what’s found, and all the death that ever was, set next to life, would scarcely fill a cup.”
― Frederick Buechner, Godric

In looking back over the past month’s postings, it seems that I have wandered far afield from my normal life and, indeed, from the original intent of this blog.

But that’s okay, I believe.

In life’s journey we start at point “A” with a specific destination in mind, but often encounter delays, detours and/or complete changes in our itinerary.

Sometimes we forget where we were going altogether and never find our way back.

Sometimes we get lost and find that we like the new place we found so much that we stay there.

Sometimes we get bored and start the journey again.

Sometimes the weather gets so bad that we can’t see where we are going.

Some of us won’t use a map (or in my case, can’t read a map) and get lost a whole lot.

I’ve known some people that refuse to go anywhere at all.  Most out of fear of what they will encounter along the way.

I also know some people that seem fearless.  The road holds a fascination for them. They’ll go anywhere, anytime…embracing the unknown.

A lot of folks seem to be stuck trudging along trying to get through each day as best they can.  Dealing with the bumps in the road that life can so often produce.  The journey can seem so hard that it’s almost impossible to look ahead and make decisions about what turn to take at the next fork in the road.  They find it hard to experience or interact with the scenery, events and possibilities that line the path they are on.  It’s all they can do to put one foot in front of the other and just keep moving.

Mostly, life is made up of all these variables.

Sometimes we move forward with confidence and accomplish much and sometimes we stop and wait and hope.

Joy and sorrow.

Work and Sabbath.

Building up and Tearing Down…Rebuilding.

Growing and Harvesting.

Starting and Ending.

So…

this blog is not where it started.  It has begun and paused.  Started again and wandered.  Been optimistic and doubtful.  Interesting and…not so much.

It is where it needs to be and moving on.

Just as I am.

 

 

Just write

IMAG0799So, I haven’t written here in a couple of days.  It’s not because I’ve been too busy.  Just my normal busy.

But, I’ve been feeling pretty sad.  Not because of anything in particular that’s happened.  Just sad.

And when I get sad, I get quiet.   Until I’m not quiet and then I’m normally yelling and screaming about whatever is really bothering me.  The thing that even I didn’t realize was bothering me.  Until I started yelling.

Mental illness, crazy, anxiety, depression, chemical imbalance…I don’t care what it is called.  Labels don’t matter.  The ups and downs are what is frustrating.  My family looking at me with concern…walking on eggshells until the yelling part hits.  Not knowing what might trigger the outburst. Days where I’m “together” woman followed by days when I just want to take a nap…all day.

It has gotten better….way better.  I’ve had some pretty magnificent mood swings in the past.

But there has to be a better way.  A way to work through whatever is going on without the yelling.  (Not that yelling isn’t appropriate sometimes…toilet paper on the bathroom counter instead of on the toilet paper dispenser thingie, for instance.)

What might be bothering me?

The house.  I’m still doing the “20” list.  I’ve even taken it a step further.  I assigned each room(s) a day of the week and then I actually typed out a general list of what should be done in each room to pull it together.  That daily list gets copied over to my “20” list each morning. IMAG0795IMAG0796 (1)

I didn’t use to be a totally disorganized person.  Now, I find that I can be easily distracted by something (anything that I’d rather be doing than housework).  Then I realize a couple of weeks have gone by and I never got around to dusting the living room (for example).  Or, I’ll open the fridge and gaze upon a science fair project.  That would actually work for us since we homeschool, but is probably not a good idea on a regular basis.

Having a list gives me focus and the satisfaction of crossing a completed item off the list.  And last night, the kitchen looked great.  Family even washed their own dishes at the end of the evening instead of piling them in the already towering pile.

As I’m writing, I’m thinking about other things that have been going on lately.  The house is what I’ve talked about mostly, but there have been other things as well.  I think the house is just representative of how I feel my life is going.  It’s just a glaringly visible picture of how the inside of my “head” feels.  Of how “out of control” my life seems right now.

And this blog is one of the places I’ve been working things out for myself.  I’m not okay with things being just okay anymore.  I want GREAT!  A great life.  Not “a drifting along with the current” life.  I want to make choices that change things for the better. If I don’t know how to fix a problem, I want to have the courage to figure out how to do so.  And, if I problem truly doesn’t have a solution, I want the strength to ride it out.

The house isn’t the whole problem.  It’s a symptom.

And I’m glad I started writing here today because I feel a lot better.  Laying things out in black & white is good for a visual person like myself.

Just to keep the “positive” mood going – here is a gratitude list for today.

  1. The kitchen is clean!
  2. Our chicks are happy and healthy in their new completed coop my family built.
  3. I have two art projects going.
  4. Our trash can is less than half full because we started recycling again.
  5. Our second car is paid off because of a new part-time job.
  6. I got 15,000 steps on my fitbit yesterday.
  7. I don’t have a huge pile of lost socks anymore.
  8. My whole family will be together under one roof tomorrow night.
  9. I am reading a book just for fun.
  10. I have 3 full boxes to donate to the thrift store.
  11. We have enough food ’til payday (and some after that).
  12. I wrote this blog post and I feel better.

Juxtaposition

How great a word is juxtaposition and it actually works well for this post today.

…for today I am caught between two loves.  A juxtaposition of two meaningful aspects of my life.

I awoke this morning from a thought-provoking dream and am having a day filled with inspiration.

A veritable plethora of epiphanies.

Words are coming together in my head in an actual lucid and cohesive manner. Blogs and stories are practically writing themselves.  And some of it is actually pretty damn good (if I do say so myself).  I spent most of the morning driving so my kids are transcribing for me and e-mailing the stuff to me….they actually wrote “stuff” in the subject line.

I’ve also had several visual ideas for new art projects!  Just one of those beautiful, crazily creative days.  Yea!

And – my oldest daughter is moving back in today.  So…

the excitement...
the excitement…
the stuff...
the stuff…
and more stuff...
and more stuff…

Creativity and my family.  I love both.  Sometimes it is a challenge to balance them.  Sometimes it more about one than the other.

Family usually wins – as it should at this time in my life.

Today is a good, full and wonderful day.

As for tomorrow, I predict a very strong urge to de-clutter.

It was brilliant, I tell you.

Last night I couldn’t sleep.  I played solitaire until my IPad battery died and I couldn’t find the charger in my kid’s room without turning on the light and waking her up.  Her floor is a mine-field of little sharp, pointy toys (I call them vacuum cleaner food).

Then I tried to catch up on my supposedly quick daily journal pages.  They aren’t getting down daily because I am sick of trying to create something original with a bird on it.  I’m going to get it done because I committed to doing it publicly, but it’s going to be 30 quick bird journal pages in the month of September…instead of daily.  Just a matter of semantics, right?  Anyway, I was going to do a couple of pages, but spilled an entire mason jar of water-colored water on my journal, desk and self.  All the clean laundry is piled in our bedroom and in the closets and I had trouble finding something to wear without turning on the light and waking up my husband.

Next, I decided to look at blogs on wordpress and found a ton of cool art, most of which I wish I had thought up and created.

At 3 a.m. I decided to try and sleep again.  I lay down and almost instantly had a brilliant idea for a journal post.  By then I was sleepy so I just knew I would remember the post without jotting it down in my idea notebook by my bed.  How could I possibly forget such an amazingly genius idea.

This morning, I’d completely forgotten I even had an idea.  Now, at almost two in the afternoon, I vaguely remember that I had an incredible idea.

But, of course, for the life of me I can’t remember what it was.  No clue.  Not a hint.  As in, completely and utterly vanished.

I do remember that it was awesome.

So…you’ll just have to take my word for it.  It was brilliant, I tell you!

Weekend Reading.

What I’m reading this weekend:

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Two new friends, both artists, gave me this book at an Artists’ Retreat last October.  I had just met them at the retreat, but as often happens in magical settings like that, we immediately jumped into some pretty heavy conversation about being artists and creating…what else?  They are brothers, one a visual artist and the other an actor in New York.

I’ve picked up the book many times since then.  I’ve read the first chapter and skipped around reading bits here and bits there.  It’s moved from my bedside table to my studio and back again- and again.  I don’t know exactly why I resisted reading it.  I believe it was probably fear.  Funny enough, since fear is actually in the title.  I’m coming to believe that the reading of the book scared me because it might mean that I would change…in what way, I don’t know.  That I might become more serious about my art and take it to a different level or try and fail.

I don’t like being afraid.  I don’t like failing.

But, this is my year of no fear.  And I have already changed.  I’ve stepped out and started writing this blog and my world is still spinning.  I’ve joined an art journaling group.  I’ve failed and I’ve learned.  Fear doesn’t seem to do as well in the face of confrontation.  Fear likes us to stay the same, resist change, and live with our fear.  Not any more.

I think I’m ready to sit down and read this book.  All of it.  Highlight in it, make notes in it and really read it. And change…for the better.

Thank you Christopher and Daniel.

 

Today.

I’ve been feeling rather subdued and introspective today.  Maybe I’m a bit depressed.  Sometimes it’s hard for me to tell the difference.  The depression sneaks up on me occasionally, but It doesn’t usually visit for long anymore.  In any case, my head is thinking lots of thoughts.  They are all floating and bumping around in there like helium filled balloons.

Starting (and sticking with) this blog has been a wonderful experience thus far.  I’ve begun writing again.

Creative writing was one of my fields of study in college along with art.  Once I graduated, I gave them both up in order to enter the “real world”.  It wasn’t a conscious decision.  One day led to the next and the graduation respite ended up lasting years and years…  I restarted creating art a little over 15 years ago, but it has a struggle for me to comfortably embrace “being an artist”.  The writing began again with the start of this blog.  I’m going to have to live with the idea of being a writer for a while before I’m comfortable with that title as well.

Once again, everyday life experiences will spark an idea for a story and snippets of some of them have ended up here.  Many of those “thought balloons” bouncing around in my head are ideas that I’m playing with – stories that I’m writing and rewriting.  It’s time to get some cheap notebooks and start  jotting them down so my head doesn’t explode! I know the computer is an easier way, but the artist in me likes scribbled, indented and filled pages of drafts and notes.

Thanks to all who have stopped by and shared my rambling journey.  There’s some fascinating people in this world!  Sharing stories and learning that we are not alone in the journey of discovery and growth is a blessing.  Here’s to a day filled with quiet thoughts and sharing.

Matilda the Basset thinking deep thoughts.
Matilda the Basset thinking deep thoughts.