here i am

try

That quiet voice has been an important part of my life lately.

It has been a constant when other, louder voices in my head have kept up a continual chant of negativity.

Every day, I have thought about sitting down and writing here.

I had planned to.

I just didn’t.

And then it got harder and harder.

The voices told me that I was a failure as a blogger because I wasn’t writing regularly.  That maybe what I had to say wasn’t worth writing about.  That it was ridiculous to share these thoughts and vulnerabilities with complete strangers and the world.

And so I didn’t write…

day after day…

the words circled in my head…

both things I thought about sharing and doubt about the worthiness of those things.

here I am

I’ve been working on art cards a lot lately.  If you don’t know about them, you can find information here:

unearthedart.wordpress.com

One of the quotes I’ve been using says, “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.”  -Brene Brown

vulnerability

truth

courage

Today, the quiet voice is the one I choose to listen to.

Nelson Mandela said that “The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

I don’t feel brave…I am afraid all the time.

But today I am writing…

I share my vulnerability because it is my truth and there are many who are struggling in the same way I am and maybe my voice can make a difference.

When you are depressed, sometimes all you can accomplish is one little thing.

It may not be big or even that important.

You just have to do one thing.

And then take that “win” and try one more thing.

And nuture the quiet voice that is named “hope”.

The quiet voice is the voice of truth.

All the other is just noise.

Today I have written here.

And I shall make more art cards trusting that quiet messages of hope will find their way into the hands of those who need to hear…

 

 

Crazy (Maybe) Day

sign
Photo by Austin Chan on Unsplash

I spent most of the morning wandering around and easily distracted.  I decided to make a cup of tea to “center” my thoughts.

I went to fill the tea kettle and it had mineral build-up in it.

I went to the cleaning cabinet to get the vinegar and realized my feet were cold and I wanted to put on a pair of socks (I was in the laundry room so there was a reasonably logical train of thought going on).

There weren’t actually any warm socks in the laundry room so I went to the bedroom…and forgot the vinegar…

And so on and so on…I will spare you the entire journey that ends with me (just now) realizing (as I sip my ice water) that I never actually turned on the tea kettle (now cleaned) to make a cup of tea.

Anyway, back to what I started writing about…

I like “signs”.

Not the actual, physically present signs – like stop signs or street signs – although those are indeed important.

It’s not that I don’t like them.  I’m just not writing about them now.

Sigh.

Well, I am writing about them, but that’s not the point.

This is what I’m trying to talk about -signs, omens, coincidences, serendipity – things that are randomly happening and then “magically” come together in a way that makes it all seems planned and purposeful and meaningful.

Let me explain…or try to because it’s obviously going to continue to be one of those days.

 I wrote a blog about saying hello
And then I followed that blog with a post about serendipity.
And today, since nothing else was going the way it was supposed to, I decided to write a couple of letters and follow through with what I suggested.
I decided to say hello.
But I wasn’t sure who to say hello to.
I went and looked in my email files to see who I might have written to at one time that I hadn’t written to in a long time.
And I found an address for someone in Lithuania that I shared some snail mail with over two years ago.  Actual mail once.  Not a close friend.  Just an encounter.
But hey, I’ll write a quick hello.  She might think I’m a little crazy, but that’s okay.  Today, I feel a little crazy.
First, I decided to go check out her blog that I used to follow, but now realize doesn’t show up in my inbox anymore.
I’m reading her last post and about midway through I run across a word that I love, but don’t use very often.
Until a couple of days ago.
In a post about saying hello.
A post about writing a quick note to someone.
The word?
Serendipity.
You may say that it’s just a coincidence.
You may be right.
I’m going to choose to look at it another way.
I believe that God sends us direction and encouragement in signs that we often fail to see…mainly because we quit looking or are looking in the wrong direction.
You may not believe in signs or you may not believe in God.
Or perhaps you believe in signs but have a different belief system that helps you understand them.
This could turn into a theological discourse if I chose to get distracted, but not today.
(other than to say that quibbling over terminology and names and minutiae is unbelievably distracting  and pointless, so I don’t think we all need to agree about everything in order to meaningfully communicate)
Today, I am choosing to have joy in what has happened.
A sense that I am connected to and participating in something bigger than myself.
A hint that I am doing something I am supposed to do.
A purpose.
Something as simple as saying hello.
And building community and social contacts and friendships.
Because friends are important.
And the best way to not be alone.

Progress, not Perfection

Third post I’ve started for today.

Reality and perfectionism at odds in a big way.

This has kept me from writing for so long already.

I kept it simple yesterday.

A part of me needs the connections that I find here.

I’d like to think that it matters in some small way.

I have big thoughts and dreams and ideas.

But I am a small person.

Fragile right now.

I’m trying not to confuse that with weakness.

For I am strong.

I’ve made it this far.

Full of emotions and fear and hopes

and plans

Committed to taking small steps

Progress not perfection

and art…

lots more art

0519171233.jpg

 

Back Roads

Hello.

Once again, so much time has passed.  The thought of trying to chronicle the events of the past days is overwhelming and so, I don’t believe I’ll try.

I shall start writing and we will let the important stuff reveal itself…in it’s own time.

I do know for certain that the past days have been shadowed by a rather high level of continuous anxiety.  That is most certainly not helpful.  I have been consciously trying to deal with it by travelling along back roads and unbeaten paths metaphorically speaking. I’ve avoided social media, the news and anything else that could be potentially unsettling as much as possible.

I’ve tried to shed unneeded baggage for this portion of my travels…a full car load of superfluous belongings to the thrift store and another box almost full in the hallway. We’ve streamlined our school plans and made them more efficient and applicable to our lifestyle and my daughter’s learning style.  The housekeeping chores are limited to what has to be done and not what “should” be done.

Basically,  I’m trying to live more realistically and become comfortable with what works for us rather than what I believe the world expects.

This is a work in progress.  Trying to figure out what our new normal will be.  All of this is good stuff.  Steps towards the life I’ve claimed to want for so long…accelerated with a sense of urgency due to circumstances beyond my control.

It seems that losing control…or the illusion of control can have it’s good points.  The silver lining, so to speak.

And what has brought all of this anxiety and goal evaluation on?

Some of it you know about…

The incurable, progressive “whatever” that I have.  Not multiple sclerosis, which is good news, but something.  My doctor’s appointment is on the 18th.  I wait until then and try not to worry or anticipate, but to be patient.

Until then, I’m working my extra job at Sherwood Forest Faire and enjoying the company of some really fantastic individuals who bring me joy and lots of “food for thought”. Definitely good traveling companions for this life’s journey.  Still, it’s fairly obvious that this very physical job is more difficult for me this year than last.  That makes me sad and worry about what the future holds.

The bills for the medical procedures and appointments are coming in.  Our insurance is good, but doesn’t cover everything.  As I enter the amounts into “undebt it”, the program I’m using to track our progress in getting out of debt, I’m watching months added onto the timeline.  Still, we are doing okay financially.  The monthly bills are being paid.

There is something else going on that I can’t share as it is not really my story to tell.  In time, that will be written about.  Until then, I carry a lot of pride and fear for the individual concerned.  Even good decisions can cause stress.

I’m trying to concentrate on the journey and the beauty and joy that are certainly a part of it. Trying to travel at a slower pace so as enjoy the trip more and not miss anything. There are more frequent pauses along the way.  A fancy way of saying that I’m taking lots of naps.

I’m trying to be better about taking care of myself so that I can better care for those that I love.

I’m trying to travel slower and lighter and more intentional.  The same as in days past, but with a greater sense of need and urgency.  This is a conundrum of sorts. Urgency and need do not translate well into less stress and simplicity.

Life.

I’m trying to figure it all out.

Aren’t we all?

Journey well, my friends.

Prayers and blessings…

Solid Ground

Hello.

I’m still here.  And, believe it or not, I’ve been thinking about y’all a lot although I haven’t written.

I haven’t written here that is.  I’ve composed many a blog in my head, but honestly haven’t been able to summon the energy to reach out into the world and share – thoughts, feelings or stories.

I’ve identified a new truth about myself and have been spending some time in reflection as a result. After a period of challenges and stress, I have a need to pull in my borders and become a bit of a recluse.  In the past, I believe that I’ve resisted the tendency to do so because it was a sign of weakness.  I don’t believe that to be the case anymore.

August and September were really hard.  I’ve probably mentioned that more than once…

My sister was seriously ill…it is only just the last week or so that the full effects of her illness are being identified.   A lot of the issues are resolving. Some will not.  We are finding a new normal.

My daughter started private school which was a big transition from a relatively unschooling lifestyle.  Time was in short supply and she didn’t get all the attention and support she deserved.  She coped beautifully.  I am so impressed with her.  We struggled to cope with assignments and deadlines and hoped it would all become a comfortable routine – in other words, normal.

Our precarious financial situation deteriorated under the demands of everything that was going on.  Tempers grew short as we all became overwhelmed.  We were all stretched to the limit. We all longed for our old problems, our old life…what had been normal.

It is all too evident that once life has stretched beyond tolerable limits, it doesn’t rebound back into it’s normal proportions.

Things have changed and we can’t go back.

We can; however, seek solid ground and get our feet back underneath us.  And that is what we have done.

I’ve allowed myself to pull back from outside commitments and concentrated on family and myself.  The news has been switched off and I trust that the world will keep on spinning.  There is only so much that I can do and to attempt to do more only results in anxiety, anger, frustration and hopelessness.

Our daughter is back home and we are instigating  a learning plan that fits our needs.  We learned a lot about what works for us, and what doesn’t as far as education goes.  This week has been very good indeed.

The budget is back on the drawing board as we  reassess our goals and the reality of what we can and can’t do to improve our financial situation.

The dreams and plans that we were so excited about at the beginning of the new year last January have been brought back out into the forefront.  We’re evaluating and making adjustments in light of all that has transpired.

And, most importantly, we are resting and actively seeking joy.  There was very little fun and laughter in the last two months.  That must change.

I am exited about having identified my need to stop and rest and recover from hard times…to heal from the damaging results of stress.  Forcing myself to continue on when I’m exhausted and anxious isn’t being brave and strong.  It’s a huge mistake.  It makes me miserable and when I’m miserable…the whole family is miserable.

It’s important to learn from the past, let go of regrets and move on into the future.

So, for now it’s rest and laughter and family as we become comfortable in our new normal.

 

Feeling good!

Today is an awesome day.  Hey, I’m not perfect, but I kinda like myself today.  What’s the difference in today and the days I don’t like myself?  Beats me…got no clue, but that’s okay.  I’m just going to enjoy the day!

First thing, got a little confidence in myself and upgraded this to my own personal domain.  I guess that makes me a “real” blogger now.  The main change will be that my soon-to-be Graphic Designer, BFA graduate daughter can fancy things up a bit and make some improvements to the look of the blog.

Next, I just wrote for the first time in a long time on my unearthedart site.  I’m going to start making the art cards again.  It’s been too long and I need to get busy.

And now for today’s topic:  I couldn’t get to sleep last night and stumbled upon a blog, dailydeclutter.com – I stayed up wayyyyy too late reading.  This guy posted every day about decluttering his life.  Every day was a post with a  story about what he was getting rid of.  Sounds boring, but…he wrote well and it was pretty interesting and really funny at times.  Most of the stuff he was getting rid of was stuff I wouldn’t have had in the first place.  Getting rid of any of it would have been a no-brainer for me.  But, we all have our own struggles and no matter what the crap we are surrounded by, the struggle is real.  Why is it all here, where did it come from, what do I do with it, and how do I keep more from coming in?

And, as I am coming more and more to realize, the stuff is just a symptom of other problems and issues.  My journey continues and I will deal with it all…cause and symptom.

Last December was a sort of tipping point for me.  I went into the holidays with a lot of family and guests coming in and a lot of clutter and mess already here.  I vowed that it was time for the stuff to go…it could no longer be taking up space that should be welcoming those I love.

Have I made progress?  I think so.  In my current, optimistic mood, I’m going to say that I’ve dealt a lot with the root issues in the past 10 months.

Am I cured?  Have I reached my goal?  Not so much.  But, I will never become a completely different individual.  The issues and problems that I deal with are part of who I am and not always in a bad way.  I can change and make progress and become better and I will continue to work towards positive growth.

There is no actual destination…it’s a journey!

The new game, project, challenge….whatever you wanna call it – is this.  Between now and Christmas Day, I will consciously declutter 5 items a day and document it here.  I’m always on the look-out for stuff to get rid of, but I’m going to make it a “thing”. I’m going to pay attention to it and share the experience.  Probably won’t be as funny as the blog I read through last night, but that’s okay.  We’ll see what I can do.

Today, finished going through the winter clothing.  Youngest daughter has grown a lot…five shirts and a skirt that we’ll share with a friend.    Also gone – a sweatshirt leftover from an ugly sweater dress-up day at work that my son gave to the cause – going to the thrift store.  IMAG1052IMAG1051Seven things gone on Day 1.

And now since the rain continues and is unlikely to stop anytime soon…I’m going to find a snuggly blanket, a snuggly dog and the company of my hubby and enjoy some Netflix.  Then, I’m going to paint and create.  And that’s just about the perfect day.