Seek & Find

Journal page 24:

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If I was to title this, I think I would go with “seeds” or “new growth”.  It is a watercolor background and when it was dry I just traced some of the lines with black marker.

Once done, I saw seeds sprouting and growing up towards the sun.  It may be just what I was thinking at the time…nobody else may see it.

That’s the great thing about unfettered art journaling.  Sometimes it clarifies what is going on in our head or our lives.

I actually went into the spare room yesterday evening and with help managed to almost clear it out.  It took frequent breaks as the decisions were stressful.

There was saved lumber that had so many possibilities…too many.  It is gone except for the plywood scraps that can be used for cut-ins on the new floor.  Shelving, doors, scrap trim, and what-not are out of here.

Also gone are several pieces of furniture that were waiting to be fixed-up.  We don’t need anymore furniture.  At this stage in our lives, we need less.

Three bags of trash are filling the trash can.

One box was taken to recycling.

Two boxes are ready to go to the thrift store.

A box of photos and frames are waiting to be considered.

Evidence of an unwelcome resident of the rodent variety has been uncovered.  Ah, the joys of living in the country during the dry season. Steps have been taken to ensure that he knows he is not welcome if he chooses to return, but I suspect he has already moved on.

All that remains is a stove and a microwave that I will be posting to give away.  They were acquired when we had plans to make a small “apartment” in case my sister needed to move in with us.  She has made it clear that she has no interest in doing that and I am making peace with her decision.

The room is now ready to make-over into a usable and peaceful space for my daughter.

Oh yea…you may notice that I am typing in both upper and lower case letters today.  In the back corner of the otherwise empty closet in that room we cleared out, I found a brand new computer keyboard…still in the box.   Nobody remembers purchasing it or sticking it in there. It has replaced the one that I messed up yesterday during my ill-fated cleaning spree.

It’s true that when you get rid of what you don’t need, you get what you are seeking!

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.

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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

57 Page Journal Project

 

 

Page 1 of the fifty-seven page journal project is done…

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I also sorted through all the fabric, lace and trim  in the studio.

Stuff that I don’t love anymore has been bagged up to donate or thrown away depending on it’s potential.

And as a result of looking through and handling the pieces, a new project has been started with what remains.

Pictures will be posted when sufficient progress has been made or, in other words…when it actually starts to resemble the pictures in my head.

The stuff that made it through the “purge” is being neatly organized and stored in one area of the studio instead of all over the place. Two medium sized boxes of fabric and one shoe box of trim and lace are all there is.

End result of this decluttering project:  one box for the thrift store and a big bag of trash.

Less stuff to deal with and two creative projects undertaken!

A good day…

Peace.

 

Bent Pins and Collected Things

Life is too short for bent and dull sewing pins, fabric I no longer love and dried up paint.  I could add a hundred and one other things to this list and never even leave my studio.

I’ve decided that it all comes down to FEAR and it’s constant companion ANXIETY.  There is no simple button to press and make those two disappear from my life.  I just need to continue to work towards a peaceful home where we can exist together harmoniously.

My studio.

That’s where I have been for the past couple of days.  Not for long periods of time, but little visits so I can work out a way to want to be in there…

To make stuff again.

I’ve identified two specific things that I fear with regards to that room:

Fear of getting rid of things because I might need them someday and the accompanying fear of using things because then I won’t have it and it might work better in another future project…

and that hypothetical scenario leads to the next fear…

Fear that anything I make won’t be “good enough”.  I can’t even explain that one.

Is it a fear of someone else’s opinion?  Maybe a “real” artist judging what I’ve made or…

Am I really just afraid of my own inner critic?

– that voice that does such a good job of telling me that “I can’t”

In any event, the result of this fear is that I’ve become more of a collector of possibilities rather than a creator of them.

I have fabric, canvases, paint, brushes, ephemera, stamps, ink, adhesives, buttons, threads, jars of fascinating little things, pencils, pens, paper and more paper and a hundred and one other things.  All of this was purchased, found and gifted to me because of it’s potential to become something more.

I’ve even collected quotes about creativity…

But I’ve made enough lists for today.

It’s summer.

I have fewer responsibilities to use as excuses.

Today, I have decided to start a summer journal project and publicly declare it’s existence.

Fifty-seven journal pages this summer.

One for every year that I’ve been alive.

Instead of saying that I want to make stuff over and over again, I’m going to make stuff.

Make pages with no excuses or apologies for what they look like or don’t.

Process, not product…

Along the way, I’m going to get rid of anything taking up space in there that doesn’t work for who I am now as an artist.

starting right now!

use up

 

The Broken Bowls

 

0608180035I bought a set of bowls…

They weren’t expensive and I didn’t really need them, but they were pretty – painted in bright colors and I felt happy when I looked at them.

So, I bought them and brought them home with me.

I used them that first night.

The dog smashed the biggest one the second day I had it.  Broken into a lot of pieces. I said it was okay, but I felt a little less happy as I put the pieces in the trash.

The next day, as I was washing the middle sized bowl, I noticed that it had a big chip on the rim.  Okay.  I finished washing it and planted a geranium in it. And turned it around so I couldn’t see the damage.

As I was putting up the washed dishes later that day, I picked up the smallest bowl and saw the crack.  A crack that ran from top to bottom.  I tried to put a plant in it so that I didn’t have to throw it away, but it leaked water everywhere.

I thought about trying to fix it and it sat on the counter for a long time.

Today, I looked at that bowl.

It no longer brought me happiness.

In fact, when I looked at it, I felt regret that I had purchased it at all.

I thought about the fact that everything is not valuable and worth salvaging.

I can’t have it all.

I don’t want it all.

Real happiness is not found in things.

Some things can’t be fixed.

Some things shouldn’t be fixed.

It’s important to practice discerning the difference between what is truly valuable and worth our time and energy and what is not worthy.

Sometimes a broken bowl is just a broken bowl.

And I need to let it go.

Peace.

 

Keep Life Simple

What the hell does that even mean?

I wish I had an answer or some profound advice to share with you.

I don’t.

What I do have is my stories and maybe that can help…

I’ve been writing for quite some time about my desire for a simpler, more intentional life.

I think I may have even written that exact sentence before.

Today, I am frustrated…

that the house is still a mess

that we are still in debt and struggling

that I always seem to have something to worry about

and that I seem to be making no progress towards my goal.

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And yet, as I look back over this year’s posts at this (almost) mid-point of the year, I realize that I have done a pretty good job of sticking with my “motto” –  being grateful and letting go.

I have become better about experiencing gratitude in the midst of life…even when it wasn’t easy.   I am more grateful for what I have and more patient with dealing with the challenges than I used to be.

(most of the time)

I’m still not grateful for dog hair…lots and lots of dog hair.

I am grateful for my dogs (again, most of the time)

I am grateful that my dogs are not bald…that they have hair, but once it comes off of them…

Not grateful (at all).

I suppose if I took up spinning yarn I could use the damn stuff, but I suspect the fibers are too short and then what the hell would I do with the stupid dog hair yarn?  I don’t knit or crochet and I sure don’t need any more projects…

Nope, not grateful for dog hair.

Maybe that gratitude will come with more practice.

I sincerely doubt it though.

And, as far as the house goes, I am still decluttering.

Sometimes, despite my best intentions, too much comes in.

But, I haven’t give up (totally).

Some days (weeks) I don’t even try.

But, some days I do a lot.

If I wasn’t decluttering at all, what a mess it would be!

Again, the journey continues.

I’m not standing still.

Although I’m doing a better job of resting when I need to.

So, it turns out that I needn’t be so frustrated today.

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I’m doing an okay job of moving forward on this journey and letting go of that which is heavy and for that…

I am grateful.

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.