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.

comfort zone

The quote above was chosen because I actually remember learning about Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in my college psychology class.

Well, and I like the quote also, of course.

What I remember about the hierarchy (and I went and researched it just to make sure I got it right) is that basic needs have to be met in order to move up the scale which is normally depicted as a pyramid.  We need to have health, shelter and food.  Then we move on to personal relationships and self-esteem.  At the top of the pyramid is self-actualization.

This is an extremely simplified version of his theory.  I’m not a psychologist although I do remember making an “A” in the course.  But that was a very long time ago and I made good grades in several courses without actually learning very much or purchasing the textbooks for that matter.  I was one of those obnoxious people that just did well in school.  I would have stayed there forever…it was definitely my comfort zone.

Which leads me to the musings of this post…

Today’s journal page:

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A quick drawing of a face and let me tell you that it has been years since I’ve attempted that.  Life drawing was one of my favorite classes in college.  And then once I graduated, I never really drew the human form or face again.  In fact, I quit doing art of any kind once I became a “grown-up”.

I started up again about fifteen years ago, but still didn’t draw people.  I don’t know why.

I also don’t know why I have chosen to draw this one today and then post it to share with the world (or at least anyone who stops by this blog today).

I’m just tired of being afraid of something that used to bring me such joy.

I’m tired of worrying about trying something and failing at it…

or even more so…

of trying something and not failing and then having to face the next challenge.

The drawing isn’t great, but maybe the true success was doing it and posting it and finding out that I could survive just one tiny step out of my comfort zone.

Peace.

 

Lost and Found

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I picked that quote because I have no idea what this drawing is about.  It just happened and is in no way my normal thing, but I kind of like it…I imagine that more work will be done on it in the future.

alfa

And in other areas of my life – this quote fits today.

Yesterday, we went to drop off a car load of de-cluttered stuff that had been piling up in the dining room.

We visited a new thrift store set up in an old house.  I naturally ended up in the kitchen where there were lots and lots of cabinets with the doors removed and painted a beautiful clean white.  On display were lots and lots of beautiful dishes.  It was a dangerous situation to be sure.

As I browsed and enjoyed the abundant wonders, I thought about how amazing it would be to have a kitchen that looked like that.  I have a kitchen with still unpainted cabinets, half-redone walls, missing trim, a plywood floor and dirty dishes.

Then I stopped.

Nothing in that room would make my kitchen look any better.  Adding more stuff would make the issue worse – no matter how beautiful the item is in its current setting.

I am blessed to have a kitchen with electricity, running water and working appliances.

The rest will come with time, effort and money.  The money will come if I quit spending it on comfort purchases and attempts at quick-fixes.

Buying and acquiring stuff is an emotional response that I have developed over the years.

The clutter is a symptom that I have been attempting to deal with.

That doesn’t work out too well in the long run.

You feel better for a while, but you’ve only treated the symptom.  The cause is still there and inevitably the symptoms will return.

I believe that I clutter to try and protect myself from the difficulties and traumas of my childhood.

A scared little girl wanted to buy the pretty dishes in an attempt to make everything better.

I am not that little girl any longer although she does live within me.

I think I am finally reaching a place where I am realizing that I need to become the adult who heals the scared child within me.  She doesn’t need more stuff.  She needs to feel protected.

I need to address the problem and not just the symptoms.

I can’t keep ignoring the fear and trying to live as if its not there.

The fear is just as real as the clutter that I try to bury it under.

This is feeling a bit like an overshare, but I know that I’m not the only one living with either the fear…or the clutter.

There is another empty box waiting in the dining room.

What will I find to put into it today…

And what will discarding it reveal?

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…

numbers

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.

 

 

Anxiety Doodle

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Yesterday’s journal page – an anxiety doodle done throughout a very stressful day.  As everything worked out well by the end of the day, I cut up the “anxiety” and glued it to a page.

The day started out rough.

First off, I noticed all the little things that were undone around the house and began by wondering if taking the time for art was worthwhile.  The dishes undone, the laundry undone, the trash the dogs got into strewn around the living room, and the half-finished decluttering and organizational projects all about.

Next, we had to deal with the car issue.  Our credit isn’t great,  we had a limited amount of money to work with, and we really don’t want monthly payments.  Also, sharing my daughter’s car with all of our schedules is impossible.

I like shopping for cars almost as much as I like hanging out in the DMV or the phone store.

In other words, not at all.

My family pulled together, started the search and headed out to solve the problem while leaving me at home to make peace with our home.

(and find peace for myself)

They can be simply amazing!

By the end of the day they had purchased a good, solid used car well within our budgeted car repair fund – newly established by our recent windfall.

It’s not even ugly! It’s a sharp-looking Volvo station wagon type vehicle.  Lots of room for our lifestyle, but not too big to drive comfortably.

And although the house doesn’t look significantly better than it did this morning:

  • we have enough clean clothes to make do
  • there are some clean dishes to eat off of
  • the trash is gathered and to the curb for pickup tomorrow
  • and, most importantly, it looks like home through my eyes

Anxiety dealt with and disasters averted.

Life is good!

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.

 

Four pages done.  Fifty-three more to go!

Productivity is losing momentum around here as a respiratory virus trudges through our family.

Not seriously ill, but not feeling 100% either.

Yesterday, I sorted through paper in the studio:  going through magazines I’d saved for potential journal pages and possible class use.  I pulled out anything that struck my fancy and gathered the rest up for recycling.  A big bag full.  I also sorted through papers that I had saved and decided that I didn’t need after all. It was hard parting with them for some insane reason. I kept thinking that I might need them for something.

The fear of not having what I need to create is a challenge that I’m dealing with right now.  Actually creating is what’s important…more important than the potential of creating.  Having the space available and access to what is needed is important.

Thinking about doing or actually doing?

It’s not complicated when you actually see it in black and white.

But nothing with emotions is every really simple.

I just read a great post about this very thing.  She talks about her clothing issues, but the train of thought applies to anything that we are trying to declutter and the emotional aspect of it.  Here’s the link:

https://www.becomingminimalist.com/more-than-clutter/

The whole decluttering process is about so much more than the stuff.  There are all kinds of motivational catch phrases that apply, but I’m liking this one right now…

When we really delve into the reasons for why we can’t let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future. – Marie Kondo

I believe the past should be learned from and visited for the good memories.  I don’t want to live there.

The future should be planned for and anticipated, but not feared.

The present is for living and doing.

I’m trying to make choices today that make it all possible.

Peace.