Showing Up

rinat-S1zsO5IjNNQ-unsplashOnce, I felt a call to ministry within an organized denomination of the Protestant church.

The calling felt right and I actively pursued it to the point of enrolling in seminary.

And then it didn’t happen.

And that now feels right…but it didn’t at the time.

In that time, I felt like a total, complete, absolute failure.

I had set out on a path and had not achieved my goal.  I was not successful.

I am learning to re-define what success and failure can be.

They are relative words.

I’ve come to realize that sometimes simply attempting something can be a successful achievement. Trying something on for size and realizing that it doesn’t “fit” might be the whole point.

I’ve had a lot of “jobs” so far in my life.  I’ve even had a number of “vocations”.  The difference, I believe, is whether you can easily walk away or not.

I don’t believe that I’ve been a total “success” or “failure” at any of the them.  Sometimes, I feel like I’ve simply shown up and struggled through.

I’m learning to be at peace with my efforts in life so far.  I always thought I’d accomplish something “great” or “significant”.

Maybe I still will or maybe I already have and don’t even know it.

Or maybe just showing up is enough.

I am loving and trying to live into this quote right now…

You are unique in your being, your substance, your abilities, and your relationships. And there is no one else on the face of the earth who can live your life and accomplish your good. Please, do not forget that.

http://www.becomingminimalist.com › life-is-too-short

 

Commonality

clemens-van-lay-un1s8VOLRC0-unsplashToday some thoughts “wrote” themselves in my head and so I have decided to share them here.

I don’t know about tomorrow or the next day, but today I am here.

There are many reasons that I stopped writing. Some I understand. Some have not been fully articulated to my understanding yet. Perhaps it will all make sense some day.

This is my story for today:

A lifetime ago I was a member of a church.  It was one of the best times of my life.  We were small in number, but large in spirit.  We were a diverse group united by a shared belief.  I doubt that “shared” belief was really the same for all of us, but it was enough. We didn’t always all get along of course, but we maintained a functioning unity.

We were human. We screwed up and hurt each others’ feelings. We made mistakes. We said the wrong things sometimes. We didn’t always agree about stuff…sometimes big stuff. We tried.

We were a motley assortment.  Most of us were there because we couldn’t find any other church where we fit.  We had been hurt by the world and just wanted someplace to worship, to feel comfortable, to feel safe being who we were…where we were on our journey.

When changes beyond our control came into our church, it closed. We moved on in our lives. Some of us stayed close to each other.  The relationships that came out of that church were strong.

Somehow, the labels didn’t matter.  Conservative, liberal, gay, straight, other… anti-this, pro-that…

We formed our relationship based on our commonalities and let the differences be.

I miss that.

That group made it easier being “me” in this world.

I grew as a person in that church…and it allowed me to grow even more since.

In some ways, I’ve been afraid to write my thoughts here in today’s current state of being.

I’m tired of being afraid.

This is my space.

I’m going to write and continue to share my journey…

Our common journey  – if you care to join me.

We can focus on what we have in common and let the rest go.

 

 

 

Whatever I have…

I think I might have the flu.

I can’t sleep because I can’t breathe (insert whiny tone here).

All I want to do is sleep.

When I got out of bed a few minutes ago, I saw our furry visitor again.

I think we are sharing living quarters with a rat.

He is either living in my husband’s closet or under the dishwasher.

I’ve seen him dart out of both places.

It may not be a rat.

He is very, very fast.

It might be a vole.

Vole

Rodent

Description

Voles are small rodents that are relatives of lemmings and hamsters, but with a stouter body; a shorter, hairy tail; a slightly rounder head; smaller ears and eyes; and differently formed molars. They are sometimes known as meadow mice or field mice in North America and Australia. Wikipedia

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OrderRodentia
Like I said, he is really, really fast so I couldn’t see any details about his head, much less his molars.
He might not actually be a he.  He could be a she.  Once again, too fast for that much detail.
I think I would prefer a he.  Less chance that one could become many.
I also think that I would prefer to be sharing a home (temporarily) with a vole rather than a rat.
Rat’s have a certain reputation.  They always play the villain in children’t movies.  You never see a vole cast as a bad guy.
It shouldn’t make a difference either way.  They are both rodents.
I’m not that embarrassed to have a critter move into the house.  We do live in the country and it’s been cold and wet outside and warm and dry inside.
We’ve also done a ton of yard clean-up over the last few weeks so we could have destroyed his or her home.
That doesn’t mean he shall be allowed to stay.
Just until I don’t have the flu or whatever I have.
And then whatever it is is leaving…

Time Flies

Should I open with a comment about how much time has passed since I last wrote here?

Should I stumble through an apology with an explanation about what’s happened since I last wrote here?

Should I be self-deprecating and discuss the fact that it’s probable that nobody even noticed my absence?

What about just stating that…

Time has passed.

I was seriously depressed for a while and now I’m okay.

Lots has happened.

There’s been good days and bad days – and quite a few horrible ones.

And…

I am here right now.

Life goes on.

Life is good.

It’s a new day,

in a new year.

I will return tomorrow

with some new stories

and some old ones re-imagined.

I wish for peace in your day.

A Glass of Tea

Hello.

No luck falling asleep last night.

This morning started out with a sense of being behind and unable to catch up.  As a result, I know that my perceptions of my life are skewed and everything seems worse than it is or even than it was yesterday.

Being tired and anxious and tipping into depression have a way of putting a negative filter on the way I see things:

The budgeting problems couldn’t be solved with a bevy of mathematical geniuses.

I am the only homemaker in America (maybe the world) who can’t keep a clean house.

We have the worst looking yard in the neighborhood.

the dishes, the laundry, the unmade bed, the piles of paperwork to be dealt with, the recycling, the boxes of donations, the stuff to be sorted, the unmade bed, the bathrooms waiting to be cleaned, the books unread, the projects undone, the clock is ticking and I am getting nowhere…fast

STOP.

It’s time for a glass of tea and some perspective…and a talk with myself (preferably not aloud where I can add crazy to the list).

I am doing okay.

Things will be okay.

It could be worse.

There are solutions to the real problems.

Some of the problems aren’t really that big a deal.

The sun will still do it’s thing even if everything doesn’t get done so there is always tomorrow.

I can fold one load of laundry.

I can wash one sink load of dishes.

I can stack all of the paper in one place and deal with it one piece at a time.

I can clear one counter.

The lost things can be found.

And so can peace.

I can stop and have a glass of tea.

I can make the baby laugh.

I could even read a chapter of a book.

And then I can do one more thing to make our home more comfortable.

Comfortable, not perfect.

What I can’t do is everything…right now.

There.

I feel better now.

I’m glad we had this talk.

Until tomorrow…

Peace.

 

 

Lost in Anxiety

Greetings fellow travelers,

Welcome to all the new followers.  I’m always a bit surprised (but grateful) when someone new chooses to “follow” me.  Be forewarned, I tend to wander and often get lost.  I guess that’s part of the adventure.

I did get lost this weekend metaphorically speaking.  It was a payday weekend and after I paid the bills there was so little left.  I know that’s a thing for a lot of folks and we are lucky that I made at least the minimum on everything.  My husband has a good job and I have a side gig that brings in a bit.

Still, as a I stood in line at the grocery store and watched the organic and healthy stuff ring up, I was consumed with doubt.  I could have spent significantly less by buying conventional produce and meat, and skipped the non-gmo goods and whole wheat stuff.  I stood there thinking that maybe it wasn’t worth it and I was just adding more stress to an already stressed budget.

As I talked it over with my husband later, he reminded me of the reasons we were making these changes and, ever the optimist, he reminded me that it always works out somehow.

That’s true.  We’ve never gone hungry and we’re not homeless.

The changes we are making aren’t easy, but with effort, some mistakes, and course corrections, we will figure it out.

The anxiety persisted through the weekend.  Once it starts, it’s hard to turn off.  It’s like some perpetual motion wheel powered by an anxiety hamster.  And, like a hamster, it runs loudest and fastest at night.

As I’ve tried to go to sleep each night, I start thinking of all the unfinished (and urgent) projects around here:  the failing floor in the hallway and laundry room, the collapsing deck, the not quite ready garden, the too-small chicken coop…all waiting for funding and time…

The lack of sleep only intensifies the issue.

Today, I have made a list of the projects and brainstormed plans and cheap solutions.  Some of the brainstorming is less practical than others.  I did find a you-tube video that shows how to make a perfect chicken tractor!  And it’s doable with some junk (resources) we have laying around here.

Detailing the problems on paper and finding solutions is much more helpful than worrying about them when I should be sleeping.

I refuse to let anxiety get the upper hand.  I may have to live with it, but I won’t let it win.

There will never be “enough” money for all the hopes and dreams that we have.  But there is enough for what we need.  The trick is discerning the needs vs. the wants and balancing it all out.

Accomplished today:

Most importantly, I’ve fed (homemade baby food), loved, rocked, talked to, and gotten to sleep for two naps the cutest grand-baby ever.

Got red beans and the Christmas ham-bone in the crock pot simmering for dinner.

Planted my echinacea seeds and have them out in the sun in the plastic storage box “greenhouse” while I dream of a real greenhouse someday.

Watered all the tomato, pepper, tomatillo, and herb seedlings I’ve managed to keep alive thus far.

Washed and dried two loads of laundry and decided that a clothes-line is definitely on the to-do list.

Turned my compost pile and shredded all of my newspaper and brown paper to mix into it.  I’m mowing the knee high grass in the dog yard and need to balance out all the grass clippings.  The compost pile is almost ready to tuck-in for “cooking”.  There’s another thing on the to-do list…another compost pile.

Small steps with optimism and a clear goal…anxiety be gone.  I’ve got a plan and I don’t have time for you.

 

 

Boxes and Crinkly Bags

 

The table we set at our house is undergoing a gradual change.

For one thing, this little guy is joining us now.

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Because of him, some health issues, and a myriad of other reasons, we are changing up our diet.

Small changes, gradual changes, with some compromises here and there, but with a clear goal in mind.

No more processed (factory food) and more real food with real ingredients that we can pronounce.

We’ve made the switch to organic produce and are working towards meat raised humanely on small farms and ranches.

As we eat down our pantry and freezer we aren’t replacing the boxes and crinkly bags that live there now.

There have been some challenges along the way – mainly folks wandering into the kitchen looking for something to eat and finding more ingredients than food.  We’re all on different schedules around here and dinner is the only meal we share.

We’ve been working towards keeping the fridge and freezer stocked with prepared foods that just need to be heated up.  It just tends to get eaten up before we get enough stored back!

I’ve become a master of the frittata which uses up leftover veggies and the abundance of eggs we’ve been getting as the weather warms up and the chickens start laying.

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We’re experimenting with recipes we find on the internet that replicate favorite snacks.  Some are wins, some are not…still looking for a Little Debbie Nutty Buddy substitute.

The pantry and freezer are getting low and that is causing me some anxiety.  Some of these choices aren’t cheap and money is always an issue.  I’m taking some deep breaths and reminding myself that any change in the right direction is better than not trying at all.

Don’t let perfection get in the way of better, right?

And reminding myself of the wins…last night’s dinner –  soup made from leftover chicken (free-range, organic chicken that spent its days roosting in a barn and and exploring the great outdoors)  home-made egg noodles  and lots of organic veggies…

There are no pictures of the soup because it was all eaten.  And every meal won’t be scratch-made like this because I’m just not that together.  But this one was and that’s a step in the right direction.

They are probably going to want to eat again tonight.  I probably should have thawed something.

 

 

Quotidian

And this is my desk this morning…

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I cleared it just the other day when I was struggling and knew that just one small win might help.

But today, it is covered again with information from the fair, cold medicine, seeds waiting to be planted, mail, notes, really important stuff and I don’t know what else.  Even St. Francis is reeling in despair.

It’s easy to get frustrated when nothing is ever really done or completed.

“Didn’t I just wash this same dish yesterday?”

“Didn’t I just wash and dry and fold this shirt?”

“Didn’t I just clean this high chair a couple of hours ago?”

Word of the day…

Quotidian which mean “to occur everyday” or “belonging to each day” or “commonplace, ordinary” according to Merriam Webster.

I used to run from routines and schedules preferring to think I was spontaneous and free.

Truthfully, the most spontaneous thing about me is my depression which can randomly show up at the most inconvenient times.

More and more lately, I’ve be intentionally pursuing routines and schedules seeking stability and peace.

I most like the definition of quotidian that says “belonging to each day”.

                                                          belonging

 noun: an affinity for a place or situation.

“we feel a real sense of belonging
And it’s true that each and every mess that occurs each and every day belongs to me and those that I love.
The detritus of lives fully lived fill my days and keep me busy.  And occasionally frustrated.
So today, I will once again sort through the stuff on my desk and wash dishes and clean the high chair and run laundry.  And a hundred other little commonplace and ordinary things that belong to this day.
Some tasks are unique to this day.  Most are not…I will be scraping banana and mango off of the same high chair tomorrow.0218191230a (1)
But one day, sooner that I’d like, this kiddo will be out of the high chair and moving on just like his mama did before him.
So, I will tend to the tasks of today and do my best to find joy in them.
Peace.

Mother Earth News Fair

Today, we are off on an adventure.

We are road-tripping to Belton, Texas for the Mother Earth News Fair!

I am super excited that is so close (close is relative in Texas).

It almost seems epiphanous in light of the changes I am working on: zero-waste, a vegetable garden, healthier eating, a more minimalist lifestyle…

…trying to be more comfortable with who I am and working to worry less about what others think and more about being true to what I believe

Plus, a road trip!

But no junk food.

That’ll be a challenge.

Challenge is good…

Peace.