Anything is Possible

Journal page 22:

0712181337

This morning I paid bills.

Then I worked on my art class lesson plans for a bit.

Then I finished cleaning up my studio.

Then I opened the door and walked into the room that I need to empty this week.

Then I turned around and walked out, closing the door behind me.

Not right now and maybe not even today.

I think that I have a “decision limit” in my brain and it has been reached.

Maybe there is a certain amount of time needed to reset that function.

Anyway, some stuff is done including a journal page.

And laundry.  Always laundry.

Here is my studio desk right after cleaning:

0712181434

And after working at it for a bit:

0712181423

I’m not a tidy artist.

I found this book yesterday when out with my sister and it looks like it could be a positive thing…

0712181447a

And just completed (maybe) journal page 23:

0712181423a

I’ve started going back and doodling details on previous pages so anything is possible on them in the future.  I like the sound of that…anything is possible.

Let’s carry that on through the rest of the day…

Peace.

A Funny Thing Happened…

A funny thing happened yesterday during the enactment of my plan.  Not funny as in “Ha Ha”, but funny in the curious “who knew” kind of way.

I started in the dining room which is the first room that you see as you step into our house.  It is also the most used and the most difficult to keep tidy.  We eat at the table and play games there (when it’s not too cluttered with stuff).  Things tend to get dumped there when folks come in.  Groceries land there along with keys, lunch bags, and clean laundry to be folded.

Anyway, I started there.  Armed with three plastic storage boxes leftover from a previous de-clutter, I jumped in.

I packed away almost all of the blankets from the cabinet we keep them in for the winter months into a large trunk that serves as a table in the living room. I left out enough for my sister who is always cold and the occasional sleep-over guest, but I moved them to the cabinet in the dining room.

I sorted through the games that had been in that cabinet (now housing the blankets) and moved the games to the cabinet that had been home to the blankets.  I’m sure there is a better way to explain that, but let’s continue on and not worry about perfection.

As I worked through the room, I dusted and sorted and got rid of…

Here’s the funny part.

As it turns out, once I made the decision to store stuff away, I went ahead and got rid of most of it.  I didn’t feel the need to think about it.

In getting rid of things, I had more than enough room to store stuff that we don’t use very often in the cabinet with the blankets…mostly dishes that have a purpose, but not every day.

I was also able to tuck all the photos that we are working on getting into albums neatly into the cabinet so we can get to them, but they aren’t hanging out everywhere.

A box and a bag are on the way to the thrift store.

A bag ready for the trash man and a bag for recycling.

The table and counter are cleared.

Seven spiders are no longer living with us.  The arachnaphobe living with me is much happier.

And the three plastic storage boxes are still empty.

Today will be the living room and hallway desk area that serves as our office and classroom.

Peace

P.S.  The dining room table has attracted more stuff, but that’s real life.  As soon as I’m done here I’m going to go deal with it.

Progress, not perfection.

 

Books that Survived

books show us

When I was a kid, I read all the time.

Unless I was drawing.

But mostly I read.

In college I stopped reading so much because there just wasn’t time.

After college I started reading a little bit more, but never as much as when I was a child.

And then I had kids of my own.

I continued to read, but not for myself…for them.

During the great declutter of last month we placed all our books on the  table.1004171728a

We got rid of anything that we weren’t going to read again, were never going to read or that was readily available with our new library card.

And then there were these books:

1105170941.jpgThese I pulled out as books I had acquired because…

well, because they “spoke” to me.  They had content that I thought could help me become more of the me that I want to be.

They cover topics like art and fear and creativity

and life and peace and spirituality

and so much more.

And they have been sitting on the shelf…some for a long, long time.

Some I started and never finished.

Some have never been opened.

Now they are all in one place – by my chair in the living room where I often end up sitting and watching television because it’s easy.

I will see them when I go to sit down.

And I will no longer ignore them.

I am going to read them.

Because…

kid president

Peace.

 

Another Monday

Monday.  The first day of another working week.  A fresh start.  A new day.

Today, I am battling the effects of a couple of new medications.  All I want to do is sleep.

This could be a side effect that will eventually go away or it could be a sign that the new anti-anxiety med is working and I just need to adjust to not being in a perpetual state of anxiety.  This feeling could actually be “normal”.   Maybe I’m just relaxed.  It feels like I’m moving in slow motion.  When you’re not “normal”, it’s hard to know.  I guess time will tell.

I do know that the words are not flowing well today.  That could be the meds or it could mean that there just nothing much interesting to write about.  I am working on developing better habits though, so I think I shall write anyway. If I miss one day, it tends to lead to missing two…and then weeks have gone by.

I’m starting to realize that developing those habits and creating a routine is an important part of living an intentional life.  It’s hard to be intentional when there is no plan.  This is an obvious realization, I know…a true slap the forehead, duh moment.  Better late than never, right?  At least I finally figured it out and now I can start applying it to my life.

I’ve “played” with the idea of planning out things before.  I’ve set up cleaning schedules and errand days, and written out menus.  I’ve spent hours on developing the routines and then dedicated about the same amount of hours executing them.  They never became habits.  Just dreams that never became reality.

So, I’m rethinking habits.  And writing down some plans.  And not trying to implement them all at once.

So, today…

There is a plan for maintaining the house so it is more of a home.  Today is “living room day”.  I’m not going to try and clean the whole house and recover from the weekend.  I’m just going to clean the living room.  Then I’ll try to pick up as we go through the week.  And clean it again next Monday.

I’ve spent some time figuring out the mess that is our budget and am almost ready to start paying down the debt again.  Life got so crazy that all I could do was try and keep up with the monthly bills.  Time once again to work on being debt-free.

A huge load of donations is waiting by the door to be delivered to the thrift store tomorrow.  Much of the pile is wedding stuff.  There is a bit of household clutter mixed in. The hallway is passable again!   0227171315

Speedy the dog is not being donated!  Of the four canines, he is the good dog right now.  He just walks around wagging his tail and waiting for someone to pay attention to him.  The only time he barks is when another dog has taken the bed he believes to be his or when he has to wait in line for dinner.

Two projects are active in the studio and two more canvasses have prep coats on them waiting for inspiration.  Making a habit of spending time in the studio is a priority.

 

Just works in progress.  Not very interesting so far.  The textile project gets worked on while watching t.v. My sister comes over several evenings a week and we watch British mysteries.  The canvas is slowly coming to life.  I believe a bird is going into the little box in the lower right corner.  Maybe a window or a door.  Not sure yet.

This week.  A new week.  I’m hoping it will be slow and slightly boring…just building routines and habits.

This month has been full of “firsts”:

  • my first child getting married (which caused all of the following)
  • my first manicure
  • my first time getting my hair “done” (something more than a haircut)
  • my first time having my make-up done (I don’t even own any, not even mascara)
  • my first bra-fitting (that’s actually a funny story for another time)
  • seven trips to the mall (not my first trip, but last time I remember going was almost 9 years ago)

Yep, I think it’s a good week to have a quiet week.  Here’s hoping.

May your week also be filled with only good things!

 

 

 

The Studio

This room does not reflect who I am…

Or maybe it does represent the “me of the moment”…

It might be more accurate to say that this room does not reflect who I want to be and who I am intentionally trying to become.

I am so frustrated (and angry) at my lack of sustainable progress towards living a simpler, clutter free life.

I claim to want to make more art and this is what my studio always looks like!

I am adding a fourth word to my new year “slogan”.

That word is “Redefine”.

I am going to rethink, reimagine, reflect on and then redefine my goals and the plan of action to get there.

I want to make more art.

What do I need to do to make that happen?

Today, I attacked the studio.

A box of stuff is going to the thrift store…crafting and art supplies that I have outgrown and that no longer fit my style.  Leftover bits and pieces that were saved because I might be able to use them for something.  Things given to me that “might be useful”.

We had a bonfire.  Boxes of old art, old journal pages, letters, art cards, miscellaneous papers, leftovers, notes and so much much.

Those papers represent the past.  Guilt, things undone, friendships that are no more, items that have lost their relevance to who I am becoming.

Towards the end of the clean-up, it became easier and harder.

Easier to let go of things…

Harder to deal with the emotions of the change.

I survived.

I suspect there is more that could go.

I believe their are a lot more possibilities now than there were this morning.

I am excited by that notion.

I am drained and weary and a little afraid.

This is now…

Today is Friday, Right?

What do you mean it’s Saturday?

I’ve been really tired the last few days…so tired that I’ve given into the urge to nap.  I just haven’t been able to make it through the day.  The one day that I didn’t nap and wake up naturally (without the aid of the alarm), I was most unpleasant by evening.

Youngest daughter has been battling a cold or serious allergies.  In this part of Central Texas, it’s hard to tell which and I don’t suppose it really matters what you call it.  When you don’t feel good, you don’t feel good.

It’s possible that I am falling victim to the same malady.  Or it’s possible that I have some sort of cyclical mood disorder that is causing the tiredness.

Once again, I don’t suppose it really matters what you call it…

Learning to listen to what my body and moods are telling me has been hard.  I was raised to bravely soldier on through “twelve foot of snow”, injury, and illness.  Naps were frowned upon and illness had to be serious if you were to stay home from school.  I once went to school for two days with a broken arm until my Mom decided that maybe something really was wrong.  I’m not knocking my upbringing…they were who they were and did the best they could.  I survived.

But, resting when I’m tired and letting go of expectations for those days is something I’m learning to do.

So, today feels like Friday and that’s okay, right?  Some creativity took place and some decluttering got done.

Learning to take care of myself (without guilt) is part of the journey too.

Every day doesn’t have to be my best day yet.  Some days can be just average or complete washouts in terms of things accomplished.

Not every action can be quantified.  Sometimes no action can be the best course of action.  These are hard lessons, but definitely worth learning.

Here’s Friday’s photo:0611160947 (1)(Posting these is a bit like posting a naked picture of myself.  I did not anticipate that.  Posting my art at all used to be difficult.  I worked through that.  Now, sharing the process is the hard part.   The process is slow and not linear.  There are do-overs and changing directions.  Welcome to the way my brain works.)

Friday’s declutter:

  1. a pillowcase
  2. fabric
  3. some tea-light candles
  4. an extra grass collection bag for the lawnmower
  5. a stuffed animal

 

 

When Less Equals More

Two posts in one day?

Yep.

I’m ready to move on from decluttering being such a frequent topic.  I’m sure that I’ll never be completely decluttered around here – things will come and things will go as life continues.

But, I would like to focus more on the things that decluttering is helping me to accomplish…like more art, more creativity, more family time, more visiting with friends, more quiet time, more of everything that is positive and life-enriching…

And focus less on the “more” which is less inspiring:  more stuff, more housework, more stress, and more to-do’s that I don’t enjoy doing (that may not have made as much sense as I’d hoped when I thought it in my head.  It may have lost something in translation.)

Basically, I’d like to move on from the getting ready mindset and start doing what I’ve been working towards:  that more intentional life that I keep talking about.

Enough talking already.  Time to start doing is what I’m trying to say.

During this transitional month, I’m going to do one more big decluttering search and destroy mission.  I’ve been trying to  declutter 5 things a day for the month of June.

Here’s the list so far:

  1. a humongous entertainment center type storage cabinet
  2. a pair of shorts
  3. a stapler
  4. a lampshade
  5. a stuffed animal
  6. a handful of socks with no mates (why are these so hard for me to let go of?)
  7. a stack of magazines
  8. a down comforter
  9. seeds saved from too many seasons ago
  10. a stack of outdated “important” papers
  11. a children’s book that I’d been saving for the illustrations
  12. miscellaneous mason jar lids that don’t have jars to go with them
  13. a headband
  14. one shoe (can’t find the other one)
  15. a visual journal barely used – made up of disappointingly flimsy paper
  16. a picture frame with no glass that I kept thinking might be useful for something
  17. a pants hanger that was almost impossible to hang pants on and even harder to remove the pants from
  18. one of three cutting mats
  19. lightbulbs that don’t fit anywhere in the house
  20. a dusty cookbook (if I need a recipe, I almost always go to the internet)
  21. wood scraps saved because they might be useful for something someday
  22. a blouse that doesn’t fit quite right
  23. bathing suits that my daughter has outgrown
  24. a beach hat that has seen one too many trips to the beach
  25. a summer dress that I had hoped to fit into this summer, but that obviously has no appreciation for the fact that I’ve given life to four children

Why am I providing such detail about my decluttering efforts, you might be asking?

Well, if anyone is struggling with clutter, maybe, just maybe, this list could inspire them to search for extra stuff that they don’t need in a new spot – to find things that they didn’t realize they had or hadn’t thought to search through.

We’re not in this alone.  This is something that a lot of folks are working through.   I don’t have any magic words or instructions that can really help.  I’m not going to tell you that having 3 bins to sort into is the answer,  or that there is a magic amount of time that will solve all your problems.  It’s truly about more than just the stuff.  Getting rid of things helps, but there is always an underlying problem that we’ve got to deal with.

The journey is worth the effort – no matter how long it takes.

I know.  I’ve struggled.  I’ve given up.  I’ve started over (and over) again.  I can see daylight at the end of the tunnel (and it’s not an oncoming train).  It’s the light shining on this blank canvas that I’m going to start work on first thing in the morning.

0605161854

Tomorrow will be a new day with less and a whole lot more!.

 

When Goodbye isn’t Simple (and probably should be)

I said goodbye to my little earthworm friends today.  For those of you who are new to my blog you can read about them here:

https://faithacrestudio.com/2015/05/21/lets-do-this/

or for the short version – I had an earthworm farm.

When we started working on the kitchen, the worm bucket moved to the living room.  Today, as I tripped over it (again), it occurred to me that I couldn’t remember feeding them recently.  Please don’t report me to the SPCA…they are fine.  Quite content as far as I can tell – busily breaking down newspaper, eating worm slaw, pooping castings and thinking earthworm thoughts (whatever those might be).

My thought process went something like this:

  • I have earthworms in my living room.
  • I’m okay with that.
  • But, I’m forgetting to feed them regularly.
  • I don’t have a garden.
  • I’d like to have a garden.
  • If I did have a garden, it would be rotting from all the rain.  And the drought will return like normal eventually.
  • This is not the year that I’m going to garden.  It’s too late to plant and the beds aren’t ready.  Realistically, gardening is not a good idea this year.
  • Why do I have earthworms then?
  • They were great to have last year when our home school group planted a butterfly garden at the library.  They enriched the beds and the kids thought they were fun (and educational).  That was good.
  • They are in the living room and I am tripping on them.
  • I really enjoyed them and even wrote a post about them.
  • Hmmm.  “Enjoyed”  I didn’t say I enjoy them.  I used the past tense.  Maybe it’s time to let them go.
  • The chickens would enjoy some for lunch.
  • Ewww.  That would be cruel. Well, not really – the whole cycle of life thing.  I could set them free where the chickens would have to hunt them down.  Give the worms a fighting (or digging) chance.
  • Maybe I should just move them to the corner until I make a decision.
  • Having earthworms was fun.
  • Maybe I should make a decision.
  • I could always get more earthworms if I let them go and realize that I’ve given away an important piece of my life.
  • They aren’t really gone if I set them free.  Earthworms deserve to be free out in the big wide world.
  • Unless they get eaten by chickens.
  • “Normal” people don’t have this much trouble making a freakin’ decision.
  • “Normal” people probably don’t have earthworms in their living room.
  • What is normal anyway?
  • Set the earthworms free, already.
  • Sigh.  Sometimes I can be a real idiot.  All this for a bucket of earthworms.  Why do I make life so hard?

This type of conversation happens more often than I’m comfortable with sharing.  I’m sharing anyway (obviously).  I suspect that I’m not the only one with this problem.

For the record, I feel relieved that the earthworm bucket is no longer in the living room.  I don’t think it was the earthworms that I was having trouble letting go of.  If we want to get all psychological about it, I’m probably having trouble letting go of what the earthworms represented for me…

A bountiful garden that nourished my family.  A beautiful and orderly vegetable patch that was bursting with produce thriving on hand-made trellises.  Not a weed in sight.  Organic of course.

Lush flowering plants growing in abundance in the front yard.  The envy of all the neighbors as they cruise our cul-de-sac and see the “Yard of the Month” sign.

Stop!  That sounds like an issue of Country Living magazine.  Perhaps I’m being unrealistic – say it isn’t so!

That’s a lot to expect from a bucket of earthworms.  They are better off now that I set them free!  How could they live up to those expectations?

Holy crap!  How can I live up to those expectations?

The only place that grass will grow in my yard is in the flower bed.  You can’t argue with Bermuda grass – it grows where it wants and can’t be stopped.  It likes my flower bed.  I quit arguing with it years ago.   I have weeds and fire ants and some junk that I’m working on getting rid of.  With all the rain we’ve had, we’re barely keeping the grass mowed.

Gardens are a dream – a good dream, but a dream nonetheless.  It will happen eventually, but in a more realistic version.  I’m working on it.

But first things first.  I decluttered the earthworms.   I made a decision.

One step at a time….

 

 

 

 

As the Crow Flies

As the Crow Flies is a pretty common saying around here.  We really just live a few miles from a state highway if you look at a map, but it’s about 15 miles driving distance.

A friend once hiked it as the crow flies on the recommendation of my daughter while looking for a lost dog.  This was a bad idea for two reasons.  My daughter is both direction and distance impaired on a major scale and cross-country involves two river crossings, wildlife fences, wildlife including snakes and wild hogs, and ranches with gun-loving owners.  Luckily the friend looking for the dog has advanced military training, enjoyed seeing a zebra in real life and only suffered a spider bite.

Anyway, I’m using this phrase to refer to my decluttering journey.  As the crow flies is a simple enough plan.  Get rid of the stuff you don’t want or need, find a place for the stuff you keep and regularly pick up after yourself and clean afterwards.  Simple, right?

Today, I’m in the master bedroom.  After a fit of sneezing last night, I took a good look around the room.  (No judgement right?)  Piles of stuff, dog hair, dust, spider webs, a few dead June bugs, and more dust.  I had considered this room fairly decluttered.

Found on top of the blanket trunk

  •   three comforters that are used when it’s cold around the house and by spontaneous over-night guests.  It’s summer and we don’t have central air-conditioning right now.  How many blankets do we need?  More importantly, why didn’t whoever used the blankets fold them and put them up?  Two comforters gone to the thrift store. But first, I have to wash and dry them – in the poverty washer.  That’s more than a few miles or a few minutes.  I also found two pillows that look pretty on the bed but we don’t actually sleep with. That’s why they are in the pile.  Gone into the trash.  I’m living in real life, not a magazine!

Found on top of the dresser

  •   a lot of pens which explains why I can never find one at the desk.
  • Various earrings with no matches. Hmmm?  Did I take my earrings off in two different places?  In the jewelry organizer to try to match up.  I need to re-evaluate what’s in there.  I don’t wear a lot of jewelry.
  • A phone charger that I moved to the drawer that holds electronic stuff – most of which I can’t identify.  I need to ask one of the kid’s to figure out what’s good and what’s not.
  • Stuff the kids made me that I don’t know what to do with.  Obviously I’ve just been moving this stuff from one place to another to avoid making a decision.  The easy answer is to keep the kids and get rid of the stuff.  It’s not easy.  I’ve started a plastic storage box labeled “treasures” and placed it in the new storage space.
  • My missing hair brush, two pair of scissors, a Hercules hook, a pile of change and the change bank that I should be collecting it in, batteries, a Band-Aid (new, thank goodness), hair ties, two clean socks with no mates, expired coupons for free salads, and my missing bra

Under the bed

  • a long-sleeved shirt that I bought for the winter never worn with tags (yes, months ago)
  • 6 dirty socks.  3 of them belonging to my children and why are my children’s dirty socks under my bed?  None of them have mates.
  • two more phone chargers which explains why we can never find one.  I guess I need to apologize to my kids for accusing them of stealing mine.
  • coat hangers
  • two food storage containers and a paper plate – all licked clean.  That would be Matilda the Basset Hound and thief extraordinaire.
  • three books that I’ve already read and thought went to the thrift store

Okay, not a lot gone unless you count the dog hair and dust:  a couple of blankets, some jewelry, chewed up storage containers, 3 books and two pillows.

Total time is almost two hours.  The room is clean and tidy. Some more stuff is gone.  I’ll sleep better.  This is not a journey as the crow flies.  I’m definitely taking the long way ’round.