Balancing Act

Journal page #20…

0708181922Not a lot of journaling happening lately…

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.

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Houses without Windows

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).

A balancing act…but a worthwhile one…

Peace.

 

 

 

 

Sometimes

Sometimes when I am going about my day, this blog writes itself in my head.  It’s not a planned thing.  The words just start appearing.  And then they start multiplying and rearranging themselves in proper order.

Sometimes there is a rabbit trail of thought which I store for another day.  Sometimes I remember the alternate post, but sometimes not.  I don’t worry too much about it.

I’m learning to trust the process and believe that the important stuff will reappear at the appropriate time.  I rarely sit down without a piece already started in my head, but do occasionally if nothing has presented itself for a while.

I think those times of writing “drought” may be an indication that I’m too busy and not listening to myself…not allowing enough time for thoughts and dreams and ideas…or that they are being drowned out by too much busyness and reality.

And that thought has led me inadvertently to my slogan, theme, or plan for the next year…

I started making an intentional focus for the new year a couple of years ago.

The first idea was “to be the change I wished to see in my world”.

Last year was “turn my cants into cans and my dreams into plans”.

This year I think I’m going with “Re-think, Re-imagine, and Reflect.

These are the words that have been running through my head the last couple of days.

Now I have the words I’m going to use.  The exact details aren’t clear, but I’m going to spend some time with a journal this week and think about and imagine the possibilities…

As for today, I’ve decided to start my new year now.

It is a beautiful day…warm and spring-like…it feels like a beginning.

The bees are busily buzzing on my front porch looking for any jasmine flowers that made it through the last freeze.

Lots and lots of tiny birds are flying from a thicket that edges my yard to the bird feeder hanging by my front window.

As I was standing quietly on the porch the bees and birds flew past me going about their business.  The buzzing bees and humming wings were the only sounds I heard.

How many times have I missed this scene outside my own door?

How many times has the noise of my life been all that I’ve heard?

It bothers me that my focus is so much on what is going on right around me and that I don’t spend enough time looking and listening and being still…

Today is a new day.

It’s a good day for beginning anew…for thinking, imagining and reflecting.

Today will be spent creating order from the chaos that is leftover from the Christmas festivities and creating pages in a new journal.

Today will be spent ridding myself of some clutter…both physical and mental.

Today will be spent in some busyness and some idleness.

Seeking balance.

 

 

A Day in the Life/Wednesday Edition

So, in an effort to avoid the continuing drama out there in the big world, I’m going to share “a week in my life”…an exciting moment by moment chronicle of my simple life.  (The exciting reference was sarcasm by the way).  I’m going to focus on the part of the world where I have a tiny bit of control over what’s happening.  Sometimes the whole world is just to much to deal with for my anxious, perfectionist, all-or-nothing personality.

Wednesday is a paid work day for me…at least the morning portion.  I shop with my sister to purchase food and necessities for a home for the mentally handicapped.  Up at 7:00 a.m. which is early for me, and out the door by 7:30 to go pick up the van and my sister and head out.  We start out at Wal-Mart and then head over to HEB to finish up.  The list is usually about the same each week and we’ve got a good routine going. Just normal stuff; meat/protein, lots and lots of produce and veggies, a few treats and other fixings. Usually two carts at Wal-Mart and four at HEB.  We shop both stores in an effort to get the best deals and keep expenses down.  We fill up the van and after stopping by Sonic for our usual, we head back to drop off the groceries.

While I’ve been out, my youngest daughter is expected to tidy up her room and start on school.  She has a reading list to work on and we use a couple of resources on the computer that she can work on while I’m gone.

When I get home about noon-time, we fix something for lunch and then relax for a bit. Yesterday was my husband’s day off and that can change up the afternoon a bit.

As I was eating lunch and catching up on my email and facebook, I saw a posting from a friend who volunteers at the Regional Animal Shelter.  She posted a picture of a nine year old Basset hound named Speedy.  I know what you might be thinking.  Believe me, I was thinking the same thing…there is no way in hell that I need another dog.  Especially not an old Basset hound.  But…I was also thinking “a nine year old Basset hound sure doesn’t need to be in “doggie jail” because his owner decided that he couldn’t afford him anymore and that he was too much trouble .  I told myself that someone else would surely adopt him.  He would be fine.  And then I told myself that I needed to go get that dog.  My youngest agreed after seeing his picture. My husband looked at me and picked up the car keys…I sure did marry a good man.

Off we went.  We agreed to just meet “Speedy” and see how it went.  Once we got there, it turns out that Speedy has a golf-ball sized tumor just under his tail that needs to be evaluated so we have him on a “medical foster”. That means they cover his medical expenses until the situation is resolved and then we can adopt him if we wish.

He is a sweetheart.  Totally Basset.  The world is his to explore and he will walk all day long on a leash.  He has instantly bonded and adopted  my youngest daughter.  He walked into her room, jumped up on her bed and settled in for a nap. Well, first thing he did was find the food dish, of course.  Youngest really wants a cat, but has decided that he’s a pretty good substitute since a cat can’t happen.  Second daughter’s fiance is deathly allergic to cats.

Unfortunately, Barret the dog, or B-dog as we’ve started calling him, is not taking too well to to the new addition yet.  Last night was spent taking the dog’s for a walk together in a non-threatening environment and periodically bringing Speedy out of the bedroom to see Barret in the living room.  Barret had to stay on the leash during these visits and pretty much acted as if Speedy was unwelcome (in a violently aggressive, teeth-gnashing, lunging, and terrifyingly vocal sort of way).  It wasn’t looking good.  Speedy spent the night in his room.  Barret spent the night in ours.  No blood was shed.

The day’s “plan” got derailed by my impulsive decision.  The laundry load-of-the-day didn’t get done.  The dishes didn’t get caught up.  I un-decluttered the one item out of the box – a worn-out sheet that is now being used as bedding for the new dog.

Nothing further got done on the yard.  The homeowner’s association is okay with the progress that we have made, but I have lots of ideas for projects that I want to work on now.  The work that we’ve gotten done has inspired me to keep on going.

Very little actual “school” got done unless you count visiting the animal shelter and seeing what that is like.  Youngest daughter had never been and now has a better idea about what happens to unwanted animals and pets and the very real struggle to deal with an impossible situation.  We talked about responsibility, ethics, solutions, and the possibility of volunteering.  We also discussed self-care, being responsible for ourselves and working out how to build strong boundaries to protect ourselves when dealing with the world.

There is so much that needs to be done to make the world a better place.  I often get overwhelmed and wonder if anything that I do is enough.

Looking back on Wednesday, I am okay with the day.

I lived into the needs of the day.

I didn’t save the world.

My house isn’t spotless.  Everything on the school to-do list didn’t get checked off.  I didn’t declutter anything.  I didn’t make progress on the extensive home improvement projects.   The laundry isn’t done.  We had cereal for dinner.  All potentially failures if I choose to look at it that way…

However, the residents at Hope House had what they needed to be cared for properly. A dog had a warm bed and a lot of attention instead of a concrete floor for the night.  I walked over ten thousand steps for the third day in row.  Everybody in the house had clean clothes to put on this morning and there was still cereal for breakfast.

We all made it through the day healthily and happily.  Our needs were met.  We hung out together and had some fun.  We cleaned up some dog poop.  We watched some T.V.  We cleaned up a little more dog poop.  We met a new neighbor on one of our walks.  The dog pooped outside.

We did no harm and did a little bit of good.

I’m learning to be okay with that.

I want to fix the world.  I want to stop injustice, and right wrongs, and heal the world.  I want everything and everyone to be happy and have what they need.  I want people to stop being mean to each other.  That’s all part of my anxious, perfectionist, all-or-nothing personality.

It’s a little unrealistic.

I am learning to find balance and live with imperfection.

…start with me and work out from there…doing no harm and being kind

 

 

Happiness and Balance

I woke up tired today and tempted to just go back to sleep.  The bed was warm and the dogs were snuggly.  The house was quiet and I was alone.  Nobody would know that I was being a slug.

But, the to-do list was quietly beckoning me and there are things on said list that I have been ignoring far too long.

I spent two hours in the yard working on bringing it up to the standards of my  Homeowners’ Association  as outlined in the letter that we received at the end of October.  I disagree with their use of the adjective “tremendous” in describing the “debris” around our house, but it was their letter to write.  I have been mentally composing a letter in response, but have exercised tremendous self-control.  I don’t disagree that there was work to be done.  We’ve been working on it.

We’ve also been working on repairs inside and going to work to pay bills and a few other small matters…like trying to get the lawn mower repaired and come up with the money for a dumpster to haul off debris from the repair and improvement projects.  Basically, we’re just trying to find a balance between the expectations of others and a realistic outlay of resources with regards to money and time.  Hopefully, everyone can be reasonably happy.

I’d love to devote hours and dollars to my yard and home. It does matter to me.  I also want to live harmoniously and realistically with the existing wildlife around me.  Part of my yard will remain “wild” and uncultivated.  The critters were here first.  It’s only fair that I share and cohabitate.  (I am not including the party mice in this scenario).

Moving on…next on the list was a long walk with the dogs.  I’ve slowly gained back a considerable amount of weight that I lost after surgery almost two years ago.  I’m back at risk for a repeat of that same health problem as well as diabetes and uncontrolled hypertension. Several miles a day needs to go back on the list and remain there. I started with today. Healthier eating has to become a routine again also.  The chickens are enjoying some yummy treats today.  I just can’t have some things around the house.  I definitely have an issue with food.

I’ve also decided that decluttering is back on the list.  I thought that I’d gotten stuff under control, but it appears to be a never-ending battle for me.

As this year steadily approaches it’s end, I am thinking about the things that I wanted to change and the progress that I wanted to make.

Overall, I’m happy with my progress.  It would be easy to be discouraged and note that I’m still talking about some of the same issues…my house and yard, my weight and health, an overabundance of stuff, and the challenges of finding balance…but I’m choosing to understand that most of these issues will never be fully resolved.  There are certain things that will always be an issue for me.

I think that identifying them was an important step and that staying aware of my status with regards to them is the continual journey.

Steps forward, steps back, battles won and battles lost…I’ll just keep trying to make progress and most importantly, trying to be kind to myself in the process.

The grass will keep growing, the leaves will keep falling, food will still tempt me, and stuff will keep coming into the house.

I’ll mow some grass, rake a few leaves, work on making better choices and try to live more intentionally.

And be as happy as I possibly can in the process.

Peace.

 

Where is the Middle?

Upon the occasion of my most recent birthday (the one where I turned 55), I did a little bit of computation.

Unless modern medicine and science steps up it’s game, I’m not middle-aged anymore. Technically, I wasn’t middle-aged last year either, but I don’t remember thinking much about it.  I suppose that I might have thought about it and forgotten.  That’s entirely possible, seeing as how I’m closer to old age than middle age at this point.

Anyhow, living to be 110 year of age seems highly unlikely given my genetic inheritance.  I know that it’s not all about nature – nurture and environment play a role also.  Let’s evaluate that for a bit, shall we…

I’m a child of the sixties.  You know, the generation that ate margerine instead of butter because it was so good for you. And, what do you mean that potatoes aren’t a vegetable?  Okay, we’ll have salad – iceburg lettuce with Miracle Whip.  Don’t forget those brand-new convenience foods that are making Mom’s life so much easier…Tang, potted meat, boxed mac-n-cheese, jello and canned ravioli.  I’m eating better now as an adult (most of the time) so that probably won’t kill me outright.

The one activity that I am a bit concerned about though is that classic evening activity we all enjoyed in the South…running behind the mosquito fog truck …DDT shower anyone?  Plus I did spend a number of years in the Rio Grande Valley watching the crop-dusters present their show as they sprayed the crops several times a year…

Oh well, all of that is in the past and out of my control.  Other than learning from the past and remembering the good stuff, the past needs to be history.

And worrying about whether I’m going to make it to 110. or 56 for that matter, is pointless.

I have no guarantees.

None of us do.

I have right now.

And I have hope for the future.

What I do with the time is mine to decide…well, not mine totally.  Other folks factor in somewhat…my family and my friends have some say on what happens with my time.  But, the  choice of who I let share my time is mine to make.

Okay, strictly speaking sometimes we lose control over who and what comes into our life for a time.  Bad stuff happens.  Rude people happen.  A moment or more is lost to circumstance.

But the choice is still ours – the choice of how to look at it and how to live in the time we have.

Here’s a story.

I was out with my sister the other day and we were driving along.  I saw an assisted living center with the name “Autumn Leaves”.  I innocently commented that I thought “Autumn Leaves” was a pretty cool name for an assisted living center.

My sister who is 70 years of age and was near death more than once this past month, had another perspective.  About the autumn leaf reference she replied, “Yeah, drying up, falling off of the tree, being raked into a pile, and burned…”

Okay.  Maybe I didn’t think my comment through.  That happens more often than I’d like to admit.

At 55, I was more focusing on the whole life cycle thing.  And that I like autumn leaves.  They’re pretty when they change colors and float about in the wind.  Maybe I was thinking about composting them and enriching the soil for next year’s planting.

At 55, I like to think that I’m still green and on the tree.  I’m busy reaching towards the light providing the tree with nourishment and cleaning the air.

At 55,  I’m not ready to turn brown and fall off the tree yet.

I’ve met very few people in my life who are ready for that…at any age.

So, I’m going to try and quit thinking about my life as having a beginning, a middle, and an end.

There may well be a Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter.  That I can’t change…but I can keep having beginnings when I choose and as often as I need to.

I can end things that aren’t positive and beneficial for me when need be.

I can choose to do it all with joy.

And when it’s my time to fall off the tree, I can become the best damn mulch for the future to grow in as a result of the joyful choices that I’ve made.

 

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.

 

Wandering

Warning.

This post may wander a bit.  That’s a good thing. Today, I am wandering for the first time in many days.

I have no specific goals for today.  Nothing that has to be done urgently.  Nothing urgent at all really.  (Happy sigh).

My sister saw her doctor on Thursday for the follow-up to her last hospitalization.  His first words, “You really dodged a bullet.”  There are a few minor(ish) things to clear up, but basically he told her to, “Go live your life.”  She’s to increase her activity as she is able and not to worry about the blood clots.  They should resolve in the next 3 to 6 months.  It’s been a scary, hard month.  We don’t know if she’ll get back to where she was health-wise, but time will tell.  Life is good.

Barret the dog has had a relapse of his meningitis and is back on medication.  We caught it very early so his prognosis is good(ish).  I suppose that the recommendation for him is the same as for my sister…go live your life and take each day as a gift.  He’s getting lots of treats.  He’s still weird and dorky.  That is good.

Today is my youngest daughters 13th birthday.  My last teenager. Her school lessons are still challenging, but I think we are starting to get the hang of it all.  I’m hopeless at the math, but I have an answer book!  I start with the answer and work back to figure it all out. I’m not crying as much over the homework.  She’s not crying at all.  Good stuff.

I’ve started a new art card…

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And I’m going back to work on this…

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…the door makes more sense now. https://faithacrestudio.com/2016/08/27/doors/

And someday I probably need to work on this, my studio worktable…

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Honestly, a lot (okay, all) of my house looks like this.  Except for the parts  that are really messy.

Today, I don’t really care.  Everybody and everything that is supposed to be breathing, is. Family and friends are gathering for a birthday celebration.

The food is waiting to be prepared.

We’ll shove the mess to one side and eat off of paper plates.  Nobody will complain.  There won’t be many disagreements (it is close friends and siblings after all).  Will have fun and celebrate.

It’s all good.

 

 

 

 

I’m Still Here

Hello world.

I’m still here…at home ignoring the piles of clutter, cobwebs and unwashed dishes.

The laundry is caught up.  That’s me – always looking on the bright side.

My sister’s recovery continues.  We’ve been watching lots and lots of British murder mystery shows on Netflix and a smattering of classics like Columbo and Rockford Files.  Variety is the spice of life as they say.

Youngest daughter just completed week three of school.  All in all, we’re doing okay. We’ve fallen a bit behind on our Tuesday and Thursday work, but I’ve stayed in touch with her teachers and we’ll catch it back up.  Certainly a lesson in prioritizing and learning that you can’t do it all.  First things first.

Oldest daughter and son are moved into their new digs.  I keep finding things left behind and have a box for each one that I’m dropping things in.  I’m going to count that as a bit of decluttering if that works for all of you.

My life seems crazy hectic and absurdly slow at the same time.

Some days are filled with a doctor visit, and lengthy outing to the grocery store or a 911 call and subsequent visit to the emergency room following a slip and fall (my sister, not me) in the bathroom.  Luckily no major damage done although a hip fracture was briefly a possibility.

Other days are quiet and restful with binge T.V. watching.  I’ve almost finished a rag rug that I started ages ago, but never took the time to finish.

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This month has been one of the hardest I’ve ever had to make it through.  So much has gone wrong – much that I’ve not even written about for lack of time and the fact that I feel that I should only whine so much in public…

Let’s just say that our dependable old and paid for truck may be ready for hospice.  The floor is definitely done for as the result of the air conditioner leak.  There still isn’t enough money.  You get the idea.  All just normal life stuff, but added together just a lot.

As difficult as everything has been, I’m beginning to view August of 2016 as a blessing of sorts.

I’ve been dreaming of and longing for simplicity in my life.  That’s hard to find in the midst of living.  At least I was struggling to discover it.

This month I’ve learned that simplicity is always there.  It’s discerning the simple that’s the challenge.  There are always choices to be made.  When life becomes too busy and complicated, I don’t believe that it’s because we’ve totally made the wrong choices.  It’s that we’ve failed to make any choices at all.  We’re allowing everything to rank as number one on the “got to do list”.  That’s impossible and a miserable way to live.

Simplicity may just be realizing that some things must be done and some things can’t be done and being comfortable and at peace with what is.  Constantly reviewing a list of things that are waiting to be done is exhausting.  Trying to get it all done is even more exhausting.

Seems like such an obvious thought.  Sometimes I can be hardheaded and slow.  Maybe even stubborn.  It takes me a while to catch on to the obvious.  Maybe this is a lesson learned…

Sitting with someone who has no choice but to sit is important.

Finishing a rag rug is important.

Washing dishes is important.

Doing a math test is important.

Talking on the phone to someone who needs to be heard is important.

Some things rarely or never make it to the top of the list.

Figuring out which is which is simplicity in action.

 

Focus

It’s been long week.

Youngest daughter is ready for school on Monday.  Uniforms are bought, books are all here, the lunch bag is ready to be packed, and the lunch food is all bought.  We have met the teachers and seen the classroom.  She is more excited than scared now.

Son has started packing for his move.  There are boxes sitting around as he makes grown-up decisions about what to take and what to get rid of.  He is endlessly figuring out finances and making lists of what he might need.

I have a plan for what I am teaching on Monday and have purchased the supplies.  All is not ready, but it can be in a short amount of time.

The house is livable.  That’s really all I can say about that subject.  Unless we are really close friends, please don’t choose right now as a time to drop by for a chat.  I won’t open the door because the first statement in this paragraph is a lie.

Barret the dog is fed for this moment.  By the time I finish this paragraph I have no doubt that he will be heading for the food dish again.  Anybody have any dog food coupons?

The neighbor who has time to drive around our neighborhood and make lists of what is wrong with everyone’s property and then post it anonymously has not yet targeted my house.  I’m sure it’s coming.

There’s just one other thing going on that I haven’t shared because it’s not really my story.  I can say that my sister had two days of major surgery on Monday and Wednesday of this week.  She’ll be coming home tomorrow or Monday.  I am her caretaker.  I don’t mind. We don’t use the “love” word, but she means a lot to me.  This surgery has been hard.

As I was leaving the hospital today, I realized that I was done…drained and empty.  I thought about finding the chapel and resting for a while, but I don’t really have the time to lose it right now.  Everything is holding together rather nicely I think (picture something repaired with duct tape or maybe picture my old washer with it’s stick and ball leveling plan).  I’m okay.  Not great, but okay.

On my way out of the hospital, I saw this through the window….this dove perching on a courtyard fence outside a hospital window.0806161109a

I have an affinity for birds.  More than once a dove, in particular, has made an appearance in my life at a serendipitous moment.  This was that moment.  This day.  I stopped in the hallway and said “Oh”.  Out loud.

With all the craziness around me during the last couple of weeks,  I had lost focus.

Focus on what is important and what is not.

Focus on what I could control and what was out of my hands.

Focus on what needed to be done and what could wait.

But mainly, I had lost focus of who I am.

Dealing with new situations, people and environments, I lost my footing.  I got caught up in looking outside of myself for structure, approval, and truth.  For a person with anxiety issues, this is dangerous ground.

It results in a feeling of inferiority as I focus on what is wrong with me (in comparison to others) rather than what is unique.

It is isolating as I feel worse and worse about myself and tend to retreat from interaction with others.

It is demeaning.  It reduces my view of myself and others to a a set of superficial characteristics that have little to do with who we are as human beings.

The dove had no such issues.  Just outside the hospitial, in the midst of suffering and healing, death and life, sorrow and joy…a virtual microcosm of humanity…this dove was building a nest.  She found a slender piece of grass, she rested for a while on the top of the fence, she flew to her nest and carefully wove the grass into place.  She knew who she was and what she was supposed to be doing.  And she did it.

I know that, as human beings, our lives can never be that simple.  But, we can learn from her.  In the midst of our daily lives, we can never forget who we are and what our job is.

  • I am first and foremost a child of God.  If this is not a belief that you can identify with, please don’t stop reading.  You are here because you can identify with something that I am writing.  Please stay because…
  • I strive to be tolerant of others and what they believe.  This world is a mighty big place and would be a lot less interesting without diversity.  Sometimes I fail at being tolerant.  I keep trying and learning.
  • I am creative.  I make some cool stuff sometimes.  I believe that teaching creativity (and having art sometimes happen as a result) is one of the most important things that we can share with children and adults who are willing to be child-like when necessary.
  • I am stubborn.  Sometimes this is even a good thing.  I don’t quit easily and when I do, it doesn’t last long.  I get back up and keep going.
  • I am learning not to be afraid to fail.  A mentor once told me that she accomplished so much because in her words…”I’m not afraid to suck.”  These are words that I try to live by.
  • I am funny.  Well, mostly sarcastic, but they’re kinda the same thing so we’ll stick with funny because it sounds nicer.
  • I’m intelligent.  I don’t know everything, but am good at sounding like I know a lot. When confronted with something that I don’t understand, I try to learn. I believe that intelligence and education do not always go hand in hand.  Some of the smartest people I know never finished high school.
  • I believe in the choices that we have made as a family.  We live on one income.  We don’t live in a fancy, expensive house.  We drive a old truck that is paid for.  We are working to get out of debt.  Sometimes we do without or make do as a result
  • I’m always scared and insecure and I get up in the morning anyway.  Most days, I even leave the house and venture out into a really scary world and pretend like I know what I am doing.  Sometimes, I even start to believe in myself.

My hope and prayer for you all today..

Believe in yourself today.

Remember who you are.

Don’t get lost in the world.

Focus…